Aston Villa missed a vital three point cushion in the Premier League when they managed to play out a thrilling stalemate against lowly Sheffield United at Villa Park, thus letting go of their historic opportunity to go on top of the table. Former Villa player Cameron Archer scored for the Blades on the 87th minute, followed by a last-minute savior by Zaniolo, which helped them leapfrog Liverpool on the second spot.
Aston Villa plays out a draw against Sheffield United
Unai Emery might have missed a trick while playing against minnows Sheffield United who were on the last spot of Premier League, but a point at Villa Park helped them get past Burnley to the 19th position. Aston Villa has been one of the consistent teams in the Premier League this season, owing to the brilliance of their stars coupled by the strict vigil from Unai Emery, as they are slowly earning the epitaph of “Giant Killers”. In their last few games, they have shoved away the uphill challenges presented to them by seasoned Premier League veterans Manchester City and Arsenal, registering successful victories against two of the best sides in the English domestic circuit. They had the perfect opportunity to end this year by being on the top with a win against Sheffield United, but fate were not in their hands as a rather meagre performance from the host side helped them to a consolation point.
Cameron Archer, who was sold by Villans to Blades this summer, came back to haunt his old club as he scored a 87th minute goal, with a help from Gustavo Hamer’s pull-back shot from outside six-yard box, whereas Zaniolo scored his debut goal on the 97th minute, from a miraculous Douglas Luiz corner, thus securing a solitary point. Unai Emery’s side remain at the second spot despite dominating the game with their might, having higher possession and greater counter-attacks, but it was luck which favored the Blades’ side as they secured a vital point in saving themselves from relegation.
Leon Bailey denied, VAR playing impromptu role
VAR and refereeing decisions have played a vital role this season, often taking center-stage in their games as last night too, it was not a different story. Earlier in the second half, Leon Bailey hit the back of the net, but it was ruled out due to an interaction with the video assistant referees. The Jamaican had thought of putting the hosts ahead with a lovely low cross from Ollie Watkins, but replays suggested that Ramsay had Foderingham’s hand in his possession. A bigger let-off came when Taylor and VAR decided to rule out a potential spot-kick when Baldock was thought to have armed the ball, but it came off as the ball hit his chest.
With this draw, Aston Villa’s Christmas dreams of finishing at the top of the table at winter break was dashed, as they had to remain behind Arsenal, with the Gunners and Reds set to lock horns in an all-time classic. Zaniolo might have had his Christmas present as he scored his debut goal, that too on a thrilling stalemate. He was seen speaking at the end of the game, sharing his elation on scoring his maiden goal with the Villans. They would be facing Manchester United next at Old Trafford, with three points being their only target.
A club record of 15 consecutive home wins at Villa Park for the Villans was eclipsed last night, as Sheffield would be the happiest team after ninety minutes, ending with a thrilling draw away at one of the intriguing teams of this season, who are well on their quest to success at achieving the Premier League glory.