Last Updated: 08/01/11 4:55pm
That's it as the final whistle blows. A disappointing afternoon for the Blades but encouraging for Villa and Houllier as they win 3-1 and progress to the fourth round. Thanks for joining me, hope you enjoyed the game.
Four minutes of stoppage time are added. A long-range Blades shot soars over. So there's still something left in the home side.
Albrighton loses the ball in midfield but the fire seems to have gone out of the Blades. Some of the home faithful are already leaving.
The minutes are ticking down here at Bramall Lane and it's a Villa corner. Petrov and Agbonlahor take their time with it until the former eventually hoofs it in.
Downing lofts in for Villa from the right of the United goal but no-one can get under it. Blades go on counter but it goes out for Friedel kick.
Petrov knocks the ball out for a Blades throw-in to the left of the Villa goal. United still heaping on the pressure.
Reo-Coker knocks the ball out on the left of the Blades half for a United throw-in. Evans nods in from the left on the counter-attack but Ward slips and can't latch onto it.
The Blades are applying some serious heat in these dying minutes, but Villa are keeping them out so far. Friedel goal-kick.
This looks set to be a tense last few minutes here at Bramall Lane with Villa 2-1 up but down to 10 men!
Clark looks likely for Villa in front of goal but can't quite turn from a tight angle and the chance passes him by.
The Villa man is handed a second yellow. Not good news for Villa! This could be a chance for the Blades.
It's a Villa corner which Young takes and the Blades defence nearly knock in for an own-goal. Lucky for the home side there.
So close for Villa as Petrov, unmarked, blunders what should be a straightforward shot from close range, but he allows Simonsen to snatch the ball.
United corner but Dunne is there to clear. Friedel is forced to charge out of goal and collect as the Blades keep up the pressure.
Ward tries some good one-two work with Bogdanovic down the left wing but Villa intervene. United win a free-kick in the middle of the park.
Agbonlahor tries a charge down the right and shoots, but his attempt goes down the left-hand side of the netting before Simonsen collects.
Into the final 20 minutes now, and Young loses the ball in midfield but Cuellar gets it back for the visitors.
Ward tries a shot from the right but the Villa defence blocks. Villa win a throw-in in the Blades half.
So a couple of changes for the visitors as they look to preserve their lead. Nothing yet for the Blades.
The teams battle for the ball in midfield until the Blades break through. Walker fells Bogdanovic in the area.
It's a Friedel goal-kick after the Blades are caught offside following that throw. His effort is met by Williamson's head in midfield.
Goal-kick to Simonsen after another Blades man is brought down, this time in their own half. The hosts are then handed a throw-in on the right of the Villa goal.
Calls for handball as Albrighton finds Young on the left of the Blades goal, nothing given. Evans, on the attack, is blocked by the Villa defence.
Young's kick is a good one and he almost finds the head of Bannan in front of goal, but Simonsen snatches, fumbles, then collects to block the assault.
Villa take a throw-in and are handed a free-kick from a strong position after Ashley Young gets in a tangle with the Blades defence.
Some class defending from Walker gets the ball back to Friedel after the Blades build more pressure. The goalkeeper's kick finds Young in the home side's end.
Villa launch a throw-in in midfield but it goes straight back to Evans in midfield. A long-range effort comes close for the Blades and it's a corner for the home side.
Kyle Walker gets to his feet after the collision and walks gingerly to the touchline, but seconds later he's back on.
The kick rebounds off Agbonlahor and there are calls for hand ball, but nothing is given. Two players collide in the Villa box and there's a lull in play as the medics come on.
It's a good corner but Clark gets it away for the Blades. Friedel launches the ball into the home side's end but Evans is there to snatch possession.
The hosts are getting forward much better and Walker chases the ball out for a Blades corner, which is knocked straight out for another.
Can the Blades produce another second-half fightback as they did against Doncaster earlier this week? Adams' men are on the ball in midfield but Kozluk's very long-range shot goes straight back to Friedel.
The Blades are applying intense pressure now as a Williamson effort from the left of goal goes narrowly over the top of the netting.
That's livened up the home faithful. It was much-needed by the Blades and sure to give them a boost in this half.
Ward, a former Villa youth player, powers his effort past the helpless Freidel to put the Blades back in the game.
Albrighton makes a run down the centre for Villa and finds Young, who blunders a chance on the left of goal and sends his effort into the Kop.
Kieran Grealish wants more like this from Villa in the league: "if Aston Villa could play like this we wouldn't be in the bottem three in the Premier League. I wouldn't say we've lost our spark since Martin O'neill left but we seriously need to play like we are against Sheffield Utd today to change where we are in the Premier League. C'mon you Villa Boys!"
Jack Perrins thinks Houllier is on the right track: "If the villa manager wants to win the hearts of the fans the best way to do that is to use the F.A cup, considering he's already messed up the Carling Cup."
The whiste blows for half-time and the Bramall Lane faithful are uncharacteristically quiet as Villa leave the pitch 2-0 up.
One minute of stoppage time is added. Clark and Bannan combine to clear the ball from their own half.
Great try from Bogdanovic to show the Blades haven't given up just yet, but it goes over. Looks like Villa will have the advantage going into the break.
Blades free-kick after a nasty Agbonlahor challenge. It's from far out but it could give them a chance before the break.
Young fires in a Villa corner but Simonsen collects easily. The Blades try a counter-attack but it goes out for a Clark throw.
Just under five minutes to go in the first half, and the Blades snatch possession in the Villa half until Agbonlahor wins it back off Ward. The forward is brought down and a United player is going in the book.
The Blades squander a free-kick and it goes out for a Friedel kick. He hoofs it upfield to find Agbonlahor.
Pires rolls a free-kick to Young, who in turn finds Bannan. He tries an optimistic shot from long-range and it goes behind for a Simonsen goal-kick.
Simonsen is forced to make a terrific save after an Agbonlahor charge down the left. United's weak defence is letting them down this afternoon.
Williamson is called offside for the Blades down the right while on the attack. Villa get back on the ball.
Young makes a superb run down the left, evades the Blades defence then launches in a cross from a tight angle to set Albrighton up for a lovely finish.
Jamie Ward's free-kick is headed clear by Clark, who has produced some solid work in this half so far.
Just under 15 minutes to go in this half, and Richard Dunne gets the ball away from the Villa goal. The Blades win a free-kick in the Villa half from a good position on the right.
Simonsen hoofs a ball towards the Villa end but Clark clears, then runs it out for another kick from the keeper.
Abgonlahor is tackled dubiously in midfield and Villa earn a free-kick. Simonsen is called on to save a long, threatening shot from the left.
The flag goes up as the Blades try an assault down the right, with Bogdanovic making another good run. Clark takes the resulting throw.
Villa take two throw-ins in quick succession in the Blades half but can't break through, and it goes out for a United throw in their own end. Bogdanovic lets the ball go down the left but redeems himself by snatching it back from Clark.
The Blades try to mount an attack and Bogdanovic makes a storming run down the right, but can't find his target with an encouraging cross. Blades corner.
A Simonsen kick finds Evans, who gets chance, but Friedel keeps it out. Some pressure from the Blades.
It's a Villa ftree-kick in the middle of the park after Agbonlahor is fouled. The hosts win the ball back but Evans is called offside.
Williamson intervenes superbly on another Villa attack as Young and Agbonlahor look threatening, but the hosts lose the ball on the counter.
A weak Blades throw-in meets the head of Clark and Villa are on the ball once more. Sloppy from the hosts.
Villa win the ball back in the Blades half but Albrighton is denied in midfield as Williamson gets it away.
The Blades exchange passes in midfield. They've had the better of play since that goal and appear on the hunt for the equaliser.
Kozluk launches another throw right towards the waiting Britton in front of the Villa goal, but Young gets under it and hoofs it upfield.
The Blades can't keep the ball down from that corner. Bogdanovic launches in from the left but Bannan flicks it away with a neat header.
That is bad news for the Blades. Can they come back quickly? The hosts win a corner after Richard Dunne chases the ball out.
Villa are ahead at Bramall Lane as Kyle Walker scores on his debut against his old club after a surging run!
The visitors have been on the front foot so far with the home side making a couple of silly errors. The Blades defence keep leaving Simonsen on his own, and Agbonlahor keeps looking likely to capitalise.
Simonsen lofts the ball down into the Blades end, but Ciaran Clark is there to meet it. The hosts regain possession but Agbonlahor gets back on the ball in the middle of the park. It's then a close call once again as the attacker charges down the ball but Simonsen clears.
Lee Williamson makes a strong run down the left for the Blades, but Villa intervene. Villa throw-in.
It's a close call as Agbonlahor charges down the centre towards SImonsen and the keeper comes out to greet him, but the Blades man has it covered.
Young boots the ball down the left of the Blades' half but it goes out for a United throw-in, which Bogdanovic takes before clearing.
Villa are on the ball in the Blades' half. Ashley Young mounts an attack down the right flank but Steve Simonsen collects.
It's a Brad Friedel kick, which he lofts upfield, but Bogdanovic gets his head under it. The hosts have possession in midfield.
The Blades get things underway and keep the ball in the air in midfield. A long ball finds Parrino down the right wing then goes out for a United throw-in.
The teams run out and it's almost time for kick-off. Enjoy the game guys, looking forward to this one!
The teams have finished their warm-ups and it's just minutes until kick-off now. It's a bit chilly in the Bramall Lane stands this afternoon!
Houllier has included former Arsenal man Robert Pires in his starting XI, despite the Frenchman's critical comments this week.
A bit more team news, Leon Britton and Bogdanovic step in for Mark Yeates and Cresswell, who both have dislocated shoulders.
Just under 15 minutes to go until kick-off and I'm expecting an exciting clash here this afternoon. Both sides have points to prove and neither will want to walk away empty-handed.
These sides have met five times in the FA Cup with the Villans progressing on three of those occasions.
The last time United met Villa in the FA Cup was six years ago in the same round - with the Blades emerging 3-1 victors.
It's a crucial cup encounter for both sides, who have endured a rough festive period. Under-fire Gerard Houllier insists his job is safe at Villa, while Micky Adams is still getting to grips with being Blades manager.
Blades fan Dan Bullock is feeling confident: "Hopefully we'll be fired up with a new manager, Villa on the slide and a new year positive attacking approach! :)"
Villa hand loanee Kyle Walker a debut against his former club, while Gabby Agbonlahor steps in for the suspended Emile Heskey up front. Daniel Bogdanovic, who scored against Doncaster last time out, gets a start for the Blades in the absence of Richard Cresswell.
Villa: Brad Friedel, Richard Dunne, Ashley Young, Robert Pires, Gabby Agbonlahor, Marc Albrighton, Nigel Reo-Coker, Ciaran Clark, Carlos Cuellar, Barry Bannan, Kyle Walker. Subs: Stewart Downing, Nathan Delfouneso, Stiliyan Petrov, Jonathan Hogg, James Collins, Chris Herd, Andy Marshall.
Here's the line-ups for you: Sheff Utd: Steve Simonsen, Nick Montgomery, Johnny Ertl, Leon Britton, Ched Evans, Daniel Bogdanovic, Lee Williamson, Jamie Ward, Rob Kozluk, Kyle Bartley, Elian Parrino. Subs: Jean Calve, David McAllister, George Long, Kingsley James, Jordan Slew, Matt Harriot.
I'll be bringing you some team news very shortly but first why not drop me an email with your thoughts on the game? Rachel.Griffiths@bskyb.com.