Villa miss chance to go top of Premier League despite late draw

 

Vinicius Souza of Sheffield United and Nicolo Zaniolo of Aston Villa challenge during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Sheffield United at Villa Park on December 22, 2023 in Birmingham, England. 


Aston Villa missed out on the chance to move top of the Premier League as they were held at home by Sheffield United.

Cameron Archer, sold by Villa to the Blades in the summer, stunned the hosts by opening the scoring in the 88th minute from close range.

Substitute Nicolo Zaniolo snatched a point for Villa with a header deep into stoppage time, but they could not find a winner.

Villa needed a win to go top for the first time since August 2011, having not led the table at this stage in a season for 25 years.

But despite dominating possession and chances, they remain behind leaders Arsenal on goal difference.

Leon Bailey had the ball in the net earlier in the second half but it was ruled out by the video assistant referee.

Villa had come close in the first half when United keeper Wes Foderingham saved low from Moussa Diaby before Ezri Konsa sent a stooping far-post header over from a John McGinn corner.

They were also frustrated by VAR, which corroborated on-pitch official Anthony Taylor's decision not to award an 11th-minute penalty when Ollie Watkins was bundled over by Vinicius Souza.

VAR continued to deny Villa after the break, with Jacob Ramsey judged to have fouled Foderingham from a corner before Bailey swept home just before the hour.

And they were sucker punched in the 88th minute when Archer turned home Gustavo Hamer's pull back from inside the six-yard box, before Zaniolo rescued some small consolation by beating Foderingham to Douglas Luiz's 97th-minute cross.

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