Welcome back to the Premier League, Sheffield United.
The Blades had their promotion to the top-flight guaranteed on Sunday as Leeds United drew with Aston Villa.
Norwich City were promoted on Saturday, and are three points ahead of Sheffield United with one game remaining, meaning the Canaries need just one point to secure the second-tier title.
Sheffield United, from England’s Steel City, were last in the Premier League in 2006-07 when Neil Warnock‘s side were relegated after one season. Before that they had been in the Premier League in both the 1992-93 and 1993-94 campaigns.
Here’s how the players reacted to the news they had been promoted in one of the two automatic spots from the Championship:
Manager Chris Wilder, a lifelong Sheffield United fan, led them to promotion from the third-tier two seasons ago and they had a decent season in 2017-18 before kicking on in a big way over the past few months. During his managerial career Wilder has now achieved promotion from the four divisions below the Premier League, the Conference, League Two, League One and the Championship.
Captain Billy Sharp, also a lifelong Sheffield United fan, led their promotion charge with 23 goals and Wilder’s team are a hard-working, attack-minded squad who have largely stayed together since their time in League One.
Aston Villa remained within striking distance of the Championship top six with a bonkers three-goal comeback to earn a 3-3 draw against third-placed Sheffield United.
A hat-trick from Billy Sharp had Sheffield 3-0 up just past the hour mark, but the home side was not finished at Villa Park, with three goals in the final eight minutes-plus from Tyrone Mings, Tammy Abraham, and Andre Green sealing the remarkable comeback.
Sharp’s goals were all too easy, with the third capping off the comedy of errors in the 62nd minute as he remained remarkably open at the back post to head home a lofted cross by Kieran Dowell. From there, however, Aston Villa completely turned things around.
With the home side turning on the afterburners, Villa out-passed Sheffield in the attacking third 57-24 and out-crossed the visitors 14-0. They got on the board in the 82nd minute as Mings headed in a corner from close range, and bagged the second four minutes later as he tapped in the rebound of a saved Glenn Whelan free-kick.
Finally, with time winding down, Villa equalized in the fourth minute of stoppage time as John McGinn latched ontoJack O’Connell’s whiffed clear and sent in a right-footed cross from just outside the six-yard box. Green rose high above his defender George Baldock, and headed into the back of the net as Villa Park exploded.
The draw pulls Aston Villa within three points of a playoff position, although they have played two games more than most teams directly above them. For Sheffield, the dropped points are enormous, as a win would have brought them above both Norwich City and Leeds United into the Championship lead on goal differential. Instead, they remain in third two points back.