Bruce Looking to “Send a Message” to the Championship Against Leeds

The Villa Appetiser: Leeds United v Aston Villa 2016

It’s been a while since we played this weekend’s opponents. The last time we headed to Elland Road, James Milner was in Leed’s starting XI.

Three points against Leeds, who we play for the first time since the 2003/04 season, would be an excellent way to improve the only real negative stat around Villa at the moment – our away form.

Villa will potentially be aided by Leeds playing in the League Cup against Liverpool in midweek, so should be fresher than their opponents.

It’s tough game for Villa though, but if we can match the performance levels of the last time we were live on Sky against Brighton, we should be optimistic…Or should we?

Monk on Villa

“Aston Villa are a team who are on a good run, Steve Bruce has gone in there and they are starting to push forward now.
“I’m sure come the end of May they will be looking to be in and around the promotion places, so it is going to be a tough test for us.
“We have to re-focus quickly from Tuesday night, we need all of our players ready and I know our fans will be there to really push the team on.
“Again we need to concentrate on ourselves, give another really good performance and put our football on the pitch again, because that is what it is going to take to overturn a really good Aston Villa side.
“I have a good group, a group that are eager and focused to do well and we have been consistent with our quality and performances, we need to be at our maximum again on Saturday evening.”

Bruce on Leeds

“Fair play to Garry Monk, he’s a very, very decent manager. He’s gone into a big club.
“It might not be, from the outside, the most stable of places at times but they’ve got a good side at the moment.
“They’ve got arguably the best side that I’ve seen for a few years. That’s credit to Garry and his chairman.
“I saw them in midweek at Liverpool and they played really well.
“Anytime you go away from home and you can get some sort of result it sends out a message.
“Our home form is rock solid. If we can go and produce a performance there – and we’re quietly confident that we’re capable of doing that – then yes.
“We’ve played well of late. Let’s hope we can keep it going.”

villa have only lost once during their last eight league trips to Leeds

Memory Match

26th December 2003 Leeds 0 Villa 0

There was nothing to separate the sides when we last met at Elland Road in a Boxing Day clash.

Leeds – Last five matches at home: W 3, D 1, L 1

Villa: Last five matches away: W 1, D 3, L 1

One to Watch

Chris Wood – the striker has scored five goals in nine league games at Elland Road this season.


Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

Leeds have been known for ownership chaos over the last few years but Garry Monk has quietly brought a sense of stability to the club. It’s rare that a Leeds manager does that these days but it helps that he’s got them in the play-off places.

Steve Bruce was in the stands to watch Liverpool face Leeds in the League Cup, and despite their loss, there was plenty to encourage Garry Monk.

They will be feeling a little hard done by after a good display against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup, where on another night, they could have caused an upset.

During a lengthy spell of possession for Leeds, winger Kemar Roofe hit the post with an excellent shot, and they certainly gave Liverpool a fright.

Fair play to the ex-Swansea City manager. Despite a slow start to life at Elland Road, Monk has mounted a play-off push, and this is reflected in their home form.

They’ve won four of their last six league matches at Elland Road, and during Leed’s last six games home and away, only table-toppers Newcastle have taken the three points from them.

Villa still have a thoroughly unimpressive away record. We’ve drawn our last two away games, and while both were decent results, we’ve won just once in our last 27 away league matches.

Ross McCormack is a doubt for Saturday’s clash against his former club, and Nathan Baker is also unlikely to feature for Villa, after his half-time substitution through injury last weekend.

Captain Tommy Elphick did a good job in Baker’s absence against Cardiff but it’s a shame we’ve had to break up the Baker-Chester partnership which had been working well for Bruce…

“I’m sure come the end of May they will be looking to be in and around the promotion places” – Monk on villa

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

One of the most important qualities Bruce has brought to Villa is resilience.

We’ve had no more late-show horrors, and there’s still of course our unbeaten run in seven games under Steve B.

Past visits to Elland Road have gone reasonably well. We have only lost once during our last eight league trips to Leeds – a 3-1 defeat in 2003. ‘D Matteo’ was part of the Leeds squad then – Dominic Matteo, that is.

There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Leed’s last three home league games, so it’s a good job we’re harder to beat these days, as it could be a match of fine margins on Saturday.

We’ve scored in every one of Bruce’s games so far, and with PFA Player of the Month winner Kodjia in our ranks, we’ve got every chance of continuing this statistic on Saturday.

15 points have been recorded in Bruce’s seven games in charge, and another win would see us move further up the top half of the table. The play-off places are finally in sight.

Hopefully we can get the win we deserved in our last away game.


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