The Villa Appetiser: Leeds v Villa 2017
With Villa fans feeling the festive cheer thanks to a run of good form, we approach this game with confidence.
We’re a very different team from the side that lost 2-0 at Elland Road last season, with away form one area of improvement this time around, although Friday’s match won’t be easy.
Friday’s game will be just the third meeting between the sides at Elland Road outside of the top flight – can we put our injuries aside and keep moving towards the automatic promotion places in front of the Sky TV cameras?
8th in the league table with the 12th best home record.
Last five matches at home: W 2, L 3
4th in league table with 7th best away record.
Last five matches away: W 3, D 1, L 1
Thomas Christiansen on Villa
“I learned a lot of all the situations created from the good moments and bad moments that we have had.
“We try to not commit mistakes and improve in all the senses but I believe the team is in a good way now.
“[Villa are] a strong opponent that we will face tomorrow.
“I believe it has many similar situations [to Middlesbrough].
“Wolves is one step above that but Aston Villa, Middlesbrough are top teams who will for sure try to be in the [automatic promotion places].”
Steve Bruce on Leeds
“Aston Villa against Leeds United would grace any league.
“There’s big support, big history and big tradition at both clubs.
“It’s bound to be a hostile atmosphere, too.
“It’s a really great game to be involved in.
“They’ve got a very decent team, especially at the top end of the pitch – they’re lively.
“One thing we’ll have to do is defend well. We’ve been more than decent lately, so let’s hope that continues.”
4th May 1991 – Leeds 5 Villa 2
Villa headed to Elland Road to face a Leeds side who had just returned to the top flight. It didn’t end well.
Two goals from Lee Chapman helped Leeds to a 5-2 victory, while defenders Mountfield and Nielsen scored for Villa.
One to Watch
Ezgjan Alioski – the Macedonian winger has has scored in each of his last 4 appearances.
leeds have only lost one of their last nine league games against Villa
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
After a rocky start to the season, there’s a feel-good factor around the club that has been absent for too long, and there aren’t many negatives to report ahead of Friday’s match, other than the potential difficulty of the encounter!
One consistent issue for Villa, however, is the injury situation, which has now claimed Jedinak, who lasted just 25 minutes of Saturday’s game.
This means a continued role in the side for Samba, who has put in a series of reliable performances over the last few weeks, but was originally rested ahead of the match against Ipswich.
There is a worry that so many matches in a short period of time could have an effect on players who are our only option in their respective positions.
One of Villa’s many disappointing away performances last season came at Elland Road with the 2-0 loss.
Leeds’ then-key man Chris Wood scored a late goal to seal that match, and while he has since departed for Burnley, a number of impressive recruits have helped provide the goals for Christiansen’s men this season.
In the early kick-off last weekend Leeds beat local rivals Barnsley 2-0 at Oakwell, with Samuel Saiz and Ezgjan Alioski scoring.
Those two now have five goals each in the league this season, as does Kalvin Phillips, with Pablo Hernandez and Stuart Dallas also chipping in with the goals recently. Basically, they’ve got several players capable of finding the net.
Interestingly, another goal for Ezgjan Alioski would mean he would become the first Leeds United player since, erm, Ross McCormack in September 2011 to score in five consecutive league appearances for the club.
In comparison to these varied goal-scorers, we look a little over reliant on Adomah…
After failing to score in his first 21 away Championship matches for Villa, Adomah has now scored five goals in his last six. Despite this, he has never scored at Elland Road in six Championship appearances.
Leeds have undergone several managerial changes over the last few years, and each of the last six times Steve Bruce has visited Elland Road as a manager, he’s faced a different Leeds boss. (Terry Venables, Peter Reid, John Carver, Neil Warnock, Steve Evans and Garry Monk). During these visits, Bruce has won two and lost four, losing the most recent two with Hull (2015) and Villa.
Sitting just outside the play-off places Leeds aren’t where they want to be in the table, but they’ve picked up form of late.
They beat promotional rivals Middlesbrough last time they were at home, with a convincing win against Barnsley offering encouragement ahead of Villa’s visit.
Leeds are not an opponent we’ve done too well against in recent(ish) history – they have only lost one of their last nine league games against Villa (W4 D4). That occasion was a 2-0 defeat at Villa Park in the 2003-04 season, a campaign that ended with their relegation.
“They’ve got some good players up the top end of the pitch. We’ll have to defend well” – bruce on leeds
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
With Bruce likely to pick the same side against Leeds (apart from Jedinak), you do have to wonder when our good form will come to an end – our players have had a lot of games to play in a short time.
Ipswich, who are also on the brink of the top six, didn’t give us too much trouble at Villa Park thanks to another great Adomah performance and a good shift by Whelan. Similarly, QPR had excellent home form and we played very well against them at Loftus Road.
Despite a good result last weekend, Leeds have struggled at home this season, with defeats to Reading, Sheffield United and Derby during the last 5 home games.
In addition to this, Christiansen’s Leeds have played five of the current top six and lost four of those matches, making up half of their total losses this season.
We’re unbeaten in our last 3 away games and have looked very decent since the disappointing loss to Wolves.
Hopefully we can make a statement with another important away victory, and make up for last season’s disappointing Elland Road display.
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