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    Aston Villa will hope to channel the form they managed at the end of last season, as they secured their Premier League (PL) status with a four-match unbeaten run (W2, D2). All four games featured under 2.5 goals, whilst three of the last five match goals in their PL fixtures came after the 80th minute. Now they will look to better last season’s start, when they lost three of their first four league outings (W1).
    Their last four home league matches saw one side win ‘to nil’ (W2, L2), and they haven’t scored after the 60th minute at Villa Park in seven PL fixtures (W2, D1, L4). Notably, their last three home league season openers featured both teams scoring (W1, D1, L1), and they lost just one of their first five home league games last term (W2, D2).
    Sheffield United are on a run of four consecutive top-flight defeats after conceding two goals within six minutes on PL matchday one - the earliest any side has conceded two goals in a PL opener. They are unbeaten against Villa in four league fixtures though (W2, D2), and manager Chris Wilder has never lost against opposite number Dean Smith in a competitive match (W2, D3).
    Their current six-game winless PL away run (D2, L4) began with June’s 0-0 draw in the last H2H, and worryingly, the ‘Blades’ haven’t won any of their last eight away league openers (D2, L6). Additionally, no team scored fewer than Sheffield’s four first-half goals on the road last PL campaign.
    Players to watch: Villa’s new signing Ollie Watkins made an instant impression by netting the opener in the EFL Cup in midweek. His final four league goals for former club Brentford all opened the scoring.
    John Egan has scored two of Sheffield’s last six PL goals, both came on or after the 80th minute.
    Hot streak: None of Villa’s last 12 league matches featured both teams scoring before HT.

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