Aston Villa routs Sheffield United to return to Premier League's top four
SHEFFIELD, England (AP) — Aston Villa returned to the top four in the Premier League after scoring four goals in the opening 30 minutes in a rampant 5-0 win at last-place Sheffield United.
Villa had won just one of its last five games to fall out of the Champions League places but Unai Emery’s team leapfrogged Tottenham into fourth with a dominant display at Bramall Lane.
Goals from John McGinn, Ollie Watkins, Leon Bailey and Youri Tielemans before the half-hour mark decided the game well before the halftime break, with Alex Moreno adding the fifth less than two minutes after the restart. It was Villa's biggest Premier League away win since 2004.
It was another chastening day for Sheffield, just four months after it was beaten 8-0 by Newcastle at Bramall Lane.
Manager Chris Wilder's team looks headed for relegation after taking just 10 points from 23 games, sitting 10 points from safety.
Villa, meanwhile, has its sights set on Champions League qualification.
It was the vision of Douglas Luiz that enabled the visitors to take a two-goal lead within 16 minutes.
First, the midfielder sliced open Sheffield United’s defesce with a fine pass which set Watkins through on goal. The England international lifted the ball over the onrushing Wes Foderingham and onto the post, with McGinn tucking the rebound into an empty net.
Luiz’s assist for the second goal four minutes later was even more eye-catching as he again played in Watkins with an outrageous pass with the outside of his boot and this time the striker found the bottom corner.
It was 3-0 four minutes later with another goal of quality as Bailey cut inside and whipped a left-footed strike into the top corner.
A section of the home fans headed for the exit 10 minutes later when Tielemans made it 4-0 by rifling in off the underside of the crossbar.
Villa needed 83 seconds of the second half to make it five, as some slapdash defending from Auston Trusty allowed Watkins to tee up Moreno to volley home from close range.
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