Sheffield United are one of the hardest teams Aston Villa have faced in the Premier League this season. That is according to their goalkeeper, Tom Heaton.
Both the Blades and Villa were promoted to the top flight from the Championship last term. Yet they have had contrasting fortunes since arriving in the division.
Following their 2-1 victory against Bournemouth on Sunday, United are fifth in the table with 39 points. They are only two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and the Champions League places.
Meanwhile, the Villans are only one point and one place outside of the relegation zone.
The two teams have met once so far in 2019/20, with Chris Wilder’s side winning 2-0 at Bramall Lane. They were due to face each other at Villa Park at the end of this month. But that has since been postponed because of Villa’s Carabao Cup final with Manchester City the same weekend.
Why Sheffield United have been so tough for Aston Villa
Heaton, who is currently sidelined with a knee injury, was a guest on Match Of The Day 2 to cover United’s win over Bournemouth.
“A lot of the Villa lads were talking about Sheff United last season coming out of the Championship,” the England international said.
“It was always going to be an interesting challenge for them to see how they do it and I think they’ve been incredible this year.
“The way they play is a strange dynamic. They manage to create overloads, they get time on the ball. It can be difficult to press them and they’ve got a real good work ethic. They get numbers in the box, the centre forwards challenge and it can be tough to play against.”
Presenter Mark Chapman then asked: “Have the Villa lads said they’re one of the hardest to play against in the Premier League?”
Heaton responded: “They did, just because of the randomness of the style of play at times. The overlapping centre-backs, down the side of the pitch they create those overloads and it can be difficult to get at the ball. They then deliver the ball into the box and they’ve got people challenging for it.”