Nicolò Zaniolo came off the bench to score his first Premier League goal and rescue a point against Sheffield United at Villa Park on Friday night.
The Italian glanced home Douglas Luiz’s cross in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time to extend Aston Villa’s unbeaten run to ten games. It was attack versus defence for the majority of the match as the Blades sat deep and tasked the hosts with breaking them down.
Ezri Konsa, Ollie Watkins, and Moussa Diaby missed chances in the first half before the breakthrough looked to have arrived on 59 minutes. Leon Bailey turned home Watkins’ cross in front of the Holte End, but agony ensued as VAR ruled it out for a foul in the build-up.
And with stoppage time approaching, former Villan Cameron Archer struck with a goal that ended Villa’s run of 15 consecutive home league wins. Clement Lenglet came in for his first Premier League appearance for the club as one of four changes from the win at Brentford, with Lucas Digne, Luiz and Bailey also named in the starting XI.
United, who had taken one point from their eight away matches this season, set up in a defensive 5-4-1 formation intent on frustrating the home side. Sights of goal were at a premium in the early stages as Villa looked to pick their opponents apart before the in-form Bailey slid a pass through to Diaby, watching on as the Frenchman called Wes Foderingham into a fine one-handed save.