Aston Villa vs Leeds – Pre-game Assessment

Apologies to those who read the earlier version of this pre-game assessment that had our Villans heading north to Yorkshire for this fixture. 

Last season, our Villans were sailing along on a four-game winning street when newly promoted came to Villa Park and put an end to that in a dramatic fashion, beating us 3-0.  It was no fluke.  They had peppered our defense with 27 shots, out of which 9 Emi Martinez had to deal with.  Three of those by Patrick Bamford were unstoppable.  Unfortunately for Leeds, their striker has been injured more than not this season.  Add to that Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper, will also be missing due to injury and any repeat of last season’s upsets is highly unlikely.

The piece of good news for our visitors is that the uncertainty of Raphinha recovering from a knock he received in playing for Brazil in the World Cup Qualifier is lifting.

Not surprisingly, this Leeds team is down in 15th spot compared to last season’s 9th place finish.  Meanwhile, our 11th position looks likely to improve.  In that same game that Raphinha starred and scored, our own Phillippe Coutinho also starred and scored, with our Villan’s goal getting most of the plaudits. https://www.goal.com/en/news/watch-coutinho-scores-trademark-goal-brazil/blt027ab8503f081b88.  A rejuvenated Coutinho could vastly improve our goal threat all around.

A tough game at Everton should have been a suitable preparation.  The shutout will encourage confidence in our defense and the come-back against Man U. in the game prior will make a goal against less of a blow.

I anticipate another comfortable win for our enhanced team.  My prediction: Aston Villa 2, Leeds 0.

UTV.

Likely Starting xi:

Leeds (4, 2, 3, 1): Meslier, Ayling, Llorente, Struijk, Dallas, Kock, Rodrigo, Raphinha, Klick, Harrison, James

Aston Villa (4,3,3): Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Digne, Luiz, Ramsey, McGinn, Coutinho, Watkins, Buendía

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