The Premier League returned in a match that was memorable for powerful statements before kick-off as it resumes after a 100-day absence-and a major technology controversy, Aston Villa and Sheffield United played a low-key goalless draw.
At mostly empty Villa Park the games resumed in vacant stands without spectators, the players on both sides and officials took a knee in favor of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign for 10 seconds shortly before kick-off.
seconds shortly before kick-off.
This was preceded by a minute’s silence in memory of those who died as a result of the pandemic coronavirus.
During this environment when the game began, Sheffield United was the target of severe first-half injustice when in the 41st minute Villa keeper Orjan Nyland fell behind his goal-line clutching the free-kick of Oliver Norwood, only for the watch of referee Michael Oliver to fail to signal a goal.
It was the crucial moment of a high-profile but low-quality case that at least denoted ‘Project Restart’ success after the season was suspended due to the global coronavirus crisis, resulting in a conclusion that was arguably more satisfactory for The Blades than Villa.
Villa – thwarted by some fine saves from Sheffield United keeper Dean Henderson – will feel a missed opportunity, while a point for The Blades leaves them four points from Chelsea fourth.
At least there was a sense of relief that house football was finally up and running again.
Aston Villa 0 – 0 Sheffield United
Yellow Card: Luiz 27′, Lundstram 36′
Aston Villa: Nyland, Konsa (El Mohamadyat 76′), Hause, Mings, Targett, Hourihane, Douglas Luiz, McGinn (Nakambaat 76′), El Ghazi (Trézéguetat 69′), Davis (Samattaat 69′), Grealish
Sheffield United: Henderson, Basham, Egan, Stevens, Baldock, Berge (Freemanat 69′), Lundstram, Norwood, Robinson, McBurnie (Moussetat 80′), Sharp (McGoldrickat 69′)