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 promoted side 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, who has yet to score this season, hooked a pass over his shoulder for Fleck to net with ease.
"Finishing is something I've worked on over the last couple of years and thankfully I am now getting my rewards," Fleck told the BBC. "David McGoldrick has been amazing for us, I am sure his goal will come but he keeps creating chances."
Villa were thrown a potential 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.
Sheffield United have 25 points from 17 games, while Villa are on 15 and will drop into the bottom three if Southampton draw or win at home to West Ham United in the late kickoff.
Before the season began, few would have expected to see United occupying a European place approaching the halfway point, but Fleck was not getting carried away.
"We just need to keep the run going as much as we can and keep working hard. We know there will be bumps in the road but we keep going and see where it takes us," he said.