The Whites winning two of their past three games has put them back into the form they wanted after a few defeats in the past few months. It was the string of results at the start of the season for Leeds that has kept them just below the play offs that they would like to be in at the end of the season. With Ezgjan Alioski and Samu Saiz being in terrific form, they were looking to boost the teams mentality going into the game against The Villa. Ezgjan Alioski was looking to break a record from 2011 to be the first Leeds player to score five goals in five appearances since Ross McCormack. Going onto the opposition Aston Villa, they have won three out of their last three games sending them up into a playoff place and with their strength in depth in their squad, before the game they were looking the favourites to take the win at Elland Road in a 7:45 Friday night kick off.
Leeds definitely started off the better side by dominating the first 15 minutes of the game as Villa very rarely had an attack and didn’t have the amount of possession they would have liked to help them take control of the game. After a long strand of outbreaks through the Villa defence, Leeds finally broke the deadlock through a header from a corner by fan favourite Pontus Jansson on the 19 minute mark. Jansson rose above the Congolese veteran Christopher Samba inside the six yard box to head the ball into the back of the net. As the first half advanced, Leeds looked more fluent with their attacks and had a couple of long range strikes from centre midfielders Kalvin Phillips and Ronaldo Vieira that went over the bar. High work rates especially from Caleb Ekuban made Aston Villa think quicker about their passes and some of them went astray.The fluent attacks seemed to disappear when Leeds magician Pablo Hernandez was subbed off with what looked like a hamstring injury for Kemar Roofe in the 42nd minute. Aston Villa then started to look the better team with a more direct aspect to their game with a couple of through balls behind the defence towards Albert Adomah and Keinan Davies. Both keepers were not really tested and had quite an easy first half. Half Time: Leeds 1-0 Aston Villa.
Aston Villa were straight out of the blocks in the second half and this surprised the Leeds eleven on the pitch and the fans. Their fast attacking style of football got the supporters that travelled up to Yorkshire from Birmingham a bit more passionate about the fixture and this motivated the team.Villa started to control the game more and kept a lot more of possession and this definitely improved in the 65th minute when hot prospect Jack Grealish and midfield maestro Henri Lansbury stepped onto the field of play. Just five minutes later, the substitute Lansbury hit a sweetly connected strike post and in into the Leeds United goal past Felix Wiedwald. The away end erupted. The Claret and Blue Army started to dictate the match from then onwards and if someone was to score it would definitely be them. However, they didn’t manage to force their way through the Leeds defence in the remaining 20 minutes as the big Swede Pontus Jansson was there to put in a full hearted tackle and didn’t mind receiving a yellow for his actions on the one occasion.
This fixture was definitely an example of a game of two halves and keeps Thomas Christiansen’s men in seventh whilst Steve Bruce’s men stay in fourth with the well earned point from both teams. My Man of the Match is Pontus Jansson. A great defensive display throughout and only received a yellow really for being passionate at that time in the game. He also scored Leeds’ one and only goal.
Who was your man of the match? Let us know in the comments below!