This game was a match-up against the side in first place in the league, Leeds, and it definitely, definitely didn’t disappoint from the start.
An early move from Villa in the 5th minute saw some link up play starting with Villa’s top man and scorer, Tammy Abraham, who had a nice little flick behind his back and continues his run, as the flick found Conor Hourihane, who then slotted a ball to John McGinn and his touch took him wide, but luckily into the path of Tammy’s continued run, and his long legs smacked one home sweetly, and early.
Then, again in the 17th minute, Villa put together another sweet move. Jonathan Kodjia, out on the right, had a nice bit of hold up play and spins through two Leeds defenders before finding Conor Hourihane at the top of the box. He then takes two touches onto that favoured left foot and bends it past the diving keeper and into the net for Villa’s second of the game. 2-0 Villa, not even 20 minutes into the game.
A few penalty shouts for Leeds in the first half, some more legit than others, but there was two definite times that Alan Hutton got away with some grabbing in the box, but none were worthy of penalties. After Villa’s two goals there was some real possession and pressure on from the visitors throughout the first half, but Villa also pressed well and stayed strong to keep the two goal lead going into the half. Some good saves for Ørjan Nyland, but Leeds definitely flubbed some big chances that they’ll want back.
The second half was a bit more of the first, a lively game at that. Both teams pressing and trying to dominate possession, and both teams having chances come to them. This time, though, Leeds turned some of their dangerous attacks into a goal, when the young 18-year-old who was subbed on at halftime, Jack Clarke, got his first goal for Leeds after gliding past Ahmed Elmohamady and finishing nicely. 56’, 2-1 to the Villa which was certainly going to lead to a nervy and crazy rest of second half.
Two goals in five minutes equalised the game for Leeds, when Jansson got his big head to a corner and into the corner of the net. In the 61’, things were level. Definitely nervy from there on. Anwar El Ghazi came on for Jonathan Kodjia, which had already seemed to be the plan before things were level.
Immediately after the goal, Leeds had another penalty shout, and this one was the best of the game for them. Another corner isn’t dealt with and a knock back across the box clearly smacked an unaware and flailing Glenn Whelan right in his arm, but the referee waved it off and gave a corner.
Villa’s second change came in the 73’, Birkir Bjarnasson came on for Glenn Whelan, and the change was much needed after some heavy pressure put on by Leeds, and Villa not seeing much of the ball or having any chances since Leeds equalized, and honestly since their first goal.
A great chance did fall to Villa in the 76’ with a whip in from Elmo found Conor Hourihane and the ball was blocked, but then John McGinn immediately sent it wide to Yannick Bolasie but he went with a chip of the right foot instead of just getting it on target, and misses wide. Immediately followed the next attack by a cross from Yannick Bolasie across the mouth of goal not finding a Villa player.
The final change of the game for Villa came in the 82’ when Yannick Bolasie came off for Scott Hogan, and Villa were clearly not trying to just hold on for a draw, but rather go for a winner.
In the end, it happened. Villa fans know all too well what I’m about to say. A late winner for Leeds came in the 95th minute, and they came back from 2-0 down, to take the three points 3-2. They scored off of a hopeful cross, which was going out of bounds, but instead headed down into the box by Villa’s Elmohamady, right on a platter for the Leeds man Kemar Roofe to smash it home.
A thrilling match, but not a good end result, as it just wasn’t good enough from Villa in the end. Leeds United 3-2 Aston Villa.
UP THE VILLA!