Aston Villa returned to winning ways in style as they put Sheffield United to the sword with four goals in the opening 30 minutes in a 5-0 romp at Bramall Lane.

Villa’s Premier League top-four hopes had faltered after winning just one of their last five matches but Unai Emery’s men put that right to move above Tottenham and back into fourth.

Goals from John McGinn, Ollie Watkins, Leon Bailey and Youri Tielemans before the half-hour put them in dreamland and Alex Moreno’s second-half goal made it a day to remember for Villa, who registered their biggest Premier League away win since 2004.

At one point they would have had history in their sights as they had more than 45 minutes to try and find four more goals which would have equalled the record victory in the Premier League era, but they took their foot off the gas.

Still, it was bad enough for Sheffield United on another embarrassing day for the club, just four months after they were beaten 8-0 by Newcastle at Bramall Lane.

Boss Chris Wilder will surely know his side will be playing in the Championship next season as they have taken just 10 points from 23 games and are the same number away from safety.

Villa will hope to use this as a springboard for the rest of the campaign as they eye Champions League qualification for the first time.

It was the vision of Douglas Luiz that enabled them to take a two-goal lead within 16 minutes.

First, the midfielder sliced open Sheffield United’s defence with a fine pass which set Watkins through on goal. The England international lifted the ball over the on-rushing Wes Foderingham and onto the post, with McGinn tucking the rebound into an empty net.

Luiz’s assist for the second goal four minutes later was even more eye-catching as he again played in Watkins with an outrageous pass with the outside of his boot and this time the striker found the bottom corner.

It was 3-0 four minutes later with another goal of quality as Bailey cut inside and whipped a brilliant left-footed strike into the top corner.

A section of the home fans were fearing a repeat of that Newcastle nightmare and left the ground and even more headed for the exit 10 minutes later when Tielemans made it 4-0 with another picturebook goal.

The Belgian found acres of space on the edge of the area from a corner, took a touch and then rifled in off the underside of the crossbar to complete a dream half-hour.

Villa needed 83 seconds of the second half to make it five, as some slapdash defending from Auston Trusty allowed Watkins to tee up Moreno to volley home from close range.

United were at least able to stem the tide and threatened to get on the scoresheet but Emiliano Martinez saved from Anel Ahmedhodzic and Jack Robinson.

Their misery was complete late on in the game when Vini Souza poked home from a set-piece but VAR ruled it out for offside.

Boss Eddie Howe believes Newcastle proved the doubters wrong after inflicting Aston Villa’s first home league defeat in almost a year.

Fabian Schar’s first-half double and Alex Moreno’s own goal gave the Magpies a deserved 3-1 win in Birmingham.

Ollie Watkins’ 50th Premier League goal for Villa gave the hosts hope but they were unable to mount a comeback.

It was Villa’s first home top-flight defeat since February last year and came after Newcastle had lost six of their last seven league games.

“We answered a lot of questions but it’s just one game and we need to build on the last two results,” said Howe, with Newcastle climbing to seventh.

“It was a big win and performance, the players were really good. It was us of last year.

“We had that good start, it gave us confidence and it was a very good away performance. Now the challenge is to maintain that.

“It’s been frustrating as we’ve done well in the cup competitions away from home but the Premier League seems to have been a different story.

“It was mixed emotions for me because that team is an elite team. The mixed part is that we haven’t seen that for a number of weeks. We looked much like ourselves and we have players coming back.”

Anthony Gordon was denied by Emi Martinez before Schar struck twice in four first-half minutes.

The defender capitalised on poor defending from Douglas Luiz and Ezri Konsa from Kieran Trippier’s corner to open the scoring after 32 minutes.

Soon after Gordon’s shot was deflected over and, when the corner was only half-cleared, the winger’s volley clipped Clement Lenglet, hit the underside of the bar and Schar prodded in.

Newcastle’s dominance continued six minutes after the break when Miguel Almiron – on for Alexander Isak, who came off with a suspected groin injury – robbed Matty Cash and was slipped in by Gordon’s return ball.

His cross reached Jacob Murphy and the winger’s effort went in off the sliding Moreno.

Villa found some fight and after Moussa Diaby had gone close Watkins pulled a goal back with 19 minutes left, firing in Leon Bailey’s cross.

The striker also had a goal disallowed for a tight offside call two minutes later but the hosts could not recover.

Villa remain fourth but will be overhauled by Tottenham if Spurs beat Brentford on Wednesday.

“I spoke with the players and told them I am very proud of them and the supporters after a lot of successful matches here. One loss was always going to come,” said boss Unai Emery, with Villa due to confirm the signing of Morgan Rogers from Middlesbrough in a deal worth £16million.

“We can’t lose our perspective. Winning is better but we are facing seven teams stronger than us, but we have our process. The message is to keep going ahead and try and find comfort in the work that we are doing.

“We are frustrated, a little bit disappointed, but in our perspective we are happy. We weren’t clinical and we conceded more chances and set-pieces than normal.

“We have 43 points. We are going to work and try to keep the distance that we have now and then focus on Saturday (at Sheffield United).”

Newcastle condemned Aston Villa to their first home defeat in the Premier League for almost a year with a stunning 3-1 win.

Two goals in four first-half minutes from Fabian Schar put the Magpies in control before Alex Moreno’s own goal after the break.

Ollie Watkins grabbed a consolation for the hosts, who lost in the league at Villa Park for the first time since last February.

They remain fourth but have played more games than leaders Liverpool and rivals Manchester City and will be caught by Tottenham if they beat Brentford on Wednesday.

Newcastle had lost six of their previous seven league games to slip away from the top four but victory lifted them to seventh, although still 11 points behind Villa.

They thrashed Villa 5-1 in the opening game of the season but since August the direction of travel for the two sides has been different.

Only Sheffield United had previously taken a point from Villa Park this season as Emery’s side mount a surprise Champions League charge, while the Magpies had won just once away.

Yet it was the visitors who dominated from the start and they conjured the first serious chance after 20 minutes. Jacob Murphy’s sumptuous ball found Anthony Gordon with Ezri Konsa for company and he managed to wriggle clear, but Emi Martinez raced out to save.

The Magpies were slicker, with Villa uncharacteristically timid, and Clement Lenglet needed to block Sean Longstaff’s effort after Martinez spilled Murphy’s strike.

Soon after, Gordon broke only to see his drive deflected over as Eddie Howe’s side began to find the gaps – which they then exploited with two quickfire goals.

Douglas Luiz and Konsa got themselves into a mess trying to defend Kieran Trippier’s resulting corner and Schar nipped in to find the net for a 32nd-minute lead.

Four minutes later only a last-ditch Matty Cash clearance denied Gordon a second but Villa were then undone by a corner again.

It was only half-cleared to Gordon and his volley clipped Lenglet to come off the underside of the bar, Schar following up to fire in his second from close range.

The defender had not scored in the league since August 2022 but now had two goals in four minutes.

For all the celebrations, though, the Magpies lost Alexander Isak to injury just before the break and John McGinn nodded over a rare Villa chance in stoppage time.

If Villa thought half-time would ease any woes they were mistaken as they fell further behind six minutes into the second half.

Miguel Almiron, who had replaced Isak, robbed Cash on the halfway line for Gordon to then send him scampering down the right.

The Paraguayan’s delivery found Murphy at the far post and when the winger tried to turn it in, Moreno ultimately bundled it into his own net.

Newcastle should have been cruising but Villa came back fighting and Watkins slipped in Moussa Diaby to round Martin Dubravka only for Schar to mop up.

Dubravka also needed to turn Cash’s shot away before Watkins pulled one back with 19 minutes left when he turned in impressive substitute Leon Bailey’s cross for his 50th Premier League goal.

Two minutes later he was denied by a tight VAR call after slotting in with Newcastle rocking but Villa’s momentum was halted.

Longstaff should have even added a fourth with a minute left, only to be denied by Martinez, as the Magpies held on.

Alex Moreno fired Aston Villa into the Europa Conference League knockout stages after a 2-1 win over Legia Warsaw.

The defender’s first goal, on his first appearance of the season following a hamstring injury, sent Unai Emery’s side top of Group E.

Moussa Diaby opened the scoring before Ernest Muci seized on Boubacar Kamara’s defensive gaffe to level.

Victory came after Legia fans clashed with police pre-match, launching missiles and injuring three officers to ensure there were no visiting supporters inside Villa Park.

Around 2,000 fans had gathered, despite Legia having a restricted allocation of 1,000 following supporters’ behaviour in Alkmaar, and were barred from entering the stadium, sparking a row between the clubs with both issuing statements criticising each other.

There was no love lost between the clubs, yet it was a fairly forgettable game.

Four years ago this week Villa boss Unai Emery was sacked by Arsenal after overseeing their longest winless run since 1992.

He lasted just 18 months after replacing Arsene Wenger at the Emirates but recovered to win the Europa League with Villarreal, the fourth time he had lifted the trophy.

Having taken Villa back into Europe for the first time in 13 years, they reached the knockout stage of the newest competition with a game to spare, although need a point in Mostar in two weeks to book top spot.

Legia beat them 3-2 in Warsaw in the opening game in September, opening the scoring after just three minutes, but this time it took the hosts 60 seconds longer to take the lead.

Youri Tielemans sent Diaby clear down the right and with the freedom to cut inside, with Artur Jedrzejczyk rapidly backpedalling, he curled into the bottom corner.

Emery’s side went for the kill and Jhon Duran’s pace saw him tear past Steve Kapuadi and Jedrzejczyk, only to be denied by Kacper Tobiasz before Clement Lenglet nodded the resulting corner wide.

The hosts were in control – with no Legia fans in the stadium – but Villa Park was silenced after 20 minutes.

It was all of the hosts’ own making when Robin Olsen, handed a rare start, found Kamara on the edge of the area only for the midfielder to play a blind pass straight to Muci.

The Albania international, who scored twice against Villa in September, still had plenty to do but kept his cool to lift a fine effort over the stranded Olsen from the edge of the box.

With it, Villa lost their mojo and Legia flourished although it took until three minutes after the break for them to go close to adding a second.

Pawel Wszolek crossed and Gil Dias stooped to send a looping header onto the top of the bar with Olsen beaten.

The escape roused Villa and Tobiasz thwarted Diaby before Moreno grabbed the winner after 59 minutes.

The left back, making his first appearance since May, latched onto Douglas Luiz’s free-kick to hook in from close range.

From then, Villa saw the game out and could have even had a third with three minutes left when Leon Bailey hit the bar after lobbing Tobiasz.

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