A superb second-half double by midfielder John Fleck sent Sheffield United up to fifth in the Premier League with a 2-0 home win over fellow newcomers Aston Villa, whose captain Jack Grealish missed a second-half penalty.

After a dull first period, the hosts burst into life five minutes into the second half with a brilliantly-worked opener, Chris Basham back-heeling the ball to John Lundstram who fired it across the box for Fleck to lash home from close range.

The build-up play for Fleck's second goal was equally impressive as the Blades worked the ball in from the left before striker David McGoldrick hooked a pass over his shoulder to Fleck, who again finished confidently.

The visitors were thrown a lifeline when the video assistant referee (VAR) called play back to award them a penalty for handball, but Grealish thumped his spot kick off the crossbar and the ball was cleared by Lundstram.

With tough games against fellow strugglers Southampton, Norwich City and Watford to come over the busy Christmas period, that penalty miss seemed to knock the stuffing out of Villa as they slumped to their third league defeat in a row.

Conor Hourihane was left out of the squad with a knock picked up in training but Villa manager Dean Smith is confident the Republic of Ireland midfielder will be fit for Tuesday night's Carabao Cup quarter final against a second string Liverpool at Villa Park.

"He was struggling in training yesterday so, yeah, he should be OK for Tuesday I think but I'll find out," said Smith.

Chros Wood heads home Burnley's winner

Burnley ended a three-match losing streak thanks to a Chris Wood header that gave them a 1-0 win over Newcastle United at Turf Moor.

Newcastle came into the game after back-to-back wins but were weakened by injury. In bitterly cold conditions neither side could really find any fluidity in a poor first half.

The Clarets broke through in the 58th minute when Wood outmuscled Federico Fernandez to head home an Ashley Westwood corner at the back post.

Jack Cork came close to doubling Burnley's lead when he robbed Sean Longstaff and slalomed into the area, but his low drive was parried out by Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka.

Dwight Gayle came close to equalising late on but turned the ball wide, after Brazilian Joelinton had bundled Erik Pieters off the ball and delivered a dangerous low cross. 

Sebastien Haller (l) got the only goal on the south coast

A long-awaited goal by close-season signing Sebastien Haller earned West Ham United a crucial 1-0 win in a Premier League basement battle at Southampton to ease the pressure on manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Haller's well-taken goal in the 37th minute ended a 636-minute lean spell for the Frenchman and it proved enough for the Hammers to claim only their second league win since September and ease them up to 15th, four points above the drop zone.

West Ham also had a Michail Antonio effort ruled out by VAR for handball in the build-up shortly after halftime and rode their luck thereafter as Southampton finally began to threaten.

Danny Ings rattled a shot against the underside of the crossbar in the 70th minute.

Ings struck the woodwork again shotly after but had already been flagged offside while Jack Stephens sliced a good chance horribly wide as Southampton pressed.

A draw would have lifted Southampton out of the relegation zone but they they remain third from bottom with 15 points from 17 games, behind Aston Villa on goal difference.