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Aston Villa thrash Sheffield Utd return to top four

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Aston Villa became the first team to score as many as four goals in the opening 30 minutes of a Premier League away game since Chelsea against Bolton in October 2011

Aston Villa dismantled Sheffield United to move back into the Premier League’s top four with a thumping victory which leaves the Blades rooted to the bottom of the table.

Unai Emery’s side overwhelmed the woeful hosts with four goals inside the opening half hour at Bramall Lane – by John McGinn, Ollie Watkins, Leon Bailey and Youri Tielemans – before Alex Moreno added a fifth after the break.

McGinn slotted his 12th-minute opener into a vacant goal after Blades skipper Anel Ahmedhodzic managed to hook Watkins’ goal-bound shot off the line – but Watkins did not miss his next opportunity, finding the bottom corner after receiving a wonderful outside-of-the-boot pass from Douglas Luiz.

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The alarm bells were ringing loudly for Chris Wilder’s side when Bailey curled in a delightful third inside 20 minutes, leading some home supporters to head for an early exit.

Villa pressed for more and Tielemans, having just seen a shot headed off the line, unleashed a blistering strike from the edge of the box following the resulting corner to add a fourth as Bramall Lane continued to empty.

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Those home fans who remained made their feelings clear as the half-time whistle was met with boos but their collective mood only worsened just 83 seconds after the restart when Moreno volleyed in Watkins’ cross to make it 5-0.

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Substitute Moussa Diaby’s fierce strike was saved by Foderingham as Villa sought to add to their tally, while Sheffield United were denied a late consolation when Vinicius Souza’s injury-time finish was ruled out for offside.

Victory moved Villa level on points with second-placed Manchester City and Arsenal directly above them, although they have played more games than both of those sides. But for Sheffield United, now 10 points from safety, the picture appears increasingly gloomy.

Villa had not won at Sheffield United in the top flight for 30 years, last doing so in April 1994  but they ended that wait in emphatic fashion on Saturday night.

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