Matchweek 18
All times shown are your local time
Fri 22 Dec 2023
Kick Off:
Villa Park, Birmingham
Att: 41,651
Ref: Anthony Taylor
  • HT
  • 49
    90 +5
    90 +7
    90 +8
    90 +10
  • FT



    Substitute Nicolo Zaniolo stepped off the bench to grab a dramatic equaliser in the seventh minute of stoppage time for Aston Villa, who missed the chance to go top of the table as they drew 1-1 with Sheffield United.

    Former Villa academy graduate Cameron Archer looked to have fired Sheff Utd to their first Premier League away win of the season with a shock 87th-minute opener, but Zaniolo struck with two minutes left.

    It was the first time in 307 days that Villa failed to win at home, while the draw ended their consecutive run of home wins after 15 matches.

    How the match unfolded

    Unai Emery switched away from the 3-5-2 formation used against Brentford, and started this match with a back four that had Clement Lenglet partnering Ezri Konsa in central defence, while Lucas Digne returned at left-back.

    Sheff Utd made five changes to the team beaten at Chelsea last time out, including Jack Robinson, suspended at Stamford Bridge, taking the captain's armband from the absent Anel Ahmedhodzic.

    Villa were dominant in the opening stages and had two penalty appeals, one for a foul on Ollie Watkins by Vinicius Souza, the other for a possible handball, reviewed by VAR.

    Moussa Diaby's stinging shot was palmed away by goalkeeper Wes Foderingham and Konsa nodded over the bar as Villa continued to press for the opening goal.

    Another teasing John McGinn corner was headed down to Watkins eight yards out, but Villa's top scorer was off balance and hooked his effort over.

    Indeed such was Villa's first-half dominance that the Blades completed only seven passes in the final third in the opening 45 minutes. Only Crystal Palace (three vs Manchester City) and Sheff Utd (six vs Liverpool) have completed fewer in the first half of a Premier League match this season.

    Villa started the second-half in similar fashion to the first, but continued to be frustrated by Sheff Utd's well-disciplined 5-4-1 formation.

    Leon Bailey thought he had fired Emery's side into the lead from a Watkins pass just before the hour-mark, but Anthony Taylor was recommended to review the incident on the pitchside monitor, and overturned the goal having judged Jacob Ramsey to have fouled Foderingham in the build-up.

    Archer was denied by Konsa's brilliant recovery tackle moments before Oliver Norwood's 78th-minute curling effort - Sheff Utd's first shot on target - was well held by 'keeper Emiliano Martinez.

    But Archer, who played for Villa earlier this season before moving to Bramall Lane in August, silenced the Villa Park crowd with only three minutes remaining, firing home Gustavo Hamer's cross following a quick free-kick.

    Villa's response was immediate, and Alex Moreno nearly added his second goal in consecutive matches, but his header was superbly saved by Foderingham.

    Emery's side looked to be heading to a shock defeat, but with only two minutes of added time remaining, Douglas Luiz chipped in a cross and Zaniolo beat Foderingham to the ball, heading into an empty net.

    Timed at 96:59, Zaniolo’s goal was the latest equaliser in a Premier League match for Villa on record.

    The point moves Villa joint top with Arsenal on 39 points, but Mikel Arteta's side have played a match fewer.

    Sheff Utd move up in 19th place and are now level on nine points with Luton Town, who host Newcastle United on Saturday.

    Villa report | Sheff Utd report

    Match officials

    Referee: Anthony Taylor. Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn. Fourth official: Darren Bond. VAR: John Brooks. Assistant VAR: Ian Hussin.

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    Club Reports

    Match officials

    Referee: Anthony Taylor

    Fourth Official: Darren Bond

    VAR: John Brooks

    Assistant VAR: Ian Hussin

    Match related content will appear here

        Season So Far

        Aston Villa
        Sheffield Utd

        Top Player Stats


          Aston Villa
          Total Wins
          Sheffield Utd
          Total Wins



          Draws 3

          Recent Meetings