Aston Villa bagged two things with a smart victory over Leeds United last time out. Not only did the side secure a play-off spot, it’s their first time securing anything but relegation through a league finish. That’s something to celebrate, and represents a massive improvement in fortunes for the club.
Still, the season isn’t over yet and Villa have three games away from home, and a single game at Villa Park left to play out before the play-offs start. Plenty of fans will be hoping that AVFC can sneak into an automatic promotion, but that privilege is firmly in the hands of Fulham and Cardiff, who should see out the season duelling for second place.
A big shout out to those who filled our open thread with comments after the last game. Join in next time!
The Manager’s Thoughts
Steve Bruce wasn’t too happy with Villa’s overall performance, describing to the press that both teams dropped off towards the closing minutes, but is pleased in general that his club have secured a play-off place with another three points secured.
Aston Villa 1-0 Leeds United (13/04/2018) - Lewis Grabban's first half header was enough to secure all three points for Villa and guarantee a play-off place in the process. #AVFC pic.twitter.com/HIQCvukAVG— AVFC Goals (@avfcgoals) April 13, 2018
Expected goals can tell us a fair bit about a match. Here’s an explainer. In the long term we can judge how well a team is doing in front of goal. On a match-by-match basis, we can simply judge chances, and how well they are taken.
Villa: 1.75 (1)
Leeds: 0.46 (0)
Data provided by Infogol
Aston Villa were certainly helped out by the fact that Leeds were hopeless in carving out chances, but really should have made the most out of a few shots in the face of goal. Still, a win is a win!
Goalscorers: Lewis Grabban bagged Villa’s only goal after heading in a smart Jack Grealish cross.
Big winners: Mile Jedinak looked solid at the back, again - and Josh Onomah has certainly raised his stock as a centre midfielder for Villa. Lewis Grabban once more claimed the starting striker spot as his own. Glenn Whelan was also commanding and rushed in to break up counters for Villa.
Big losers: Scott Hogan was put through on goal twice for Villa, yet the scoreline stayed the same and it’s difficult to see how he’ll push past Lewis Grabban. Robert Snodgrass is in dire need of a rest for Villa, after carrying them for most of the season.
Best moment: Seeing a sky-ball from Ahmed Elmohamady clear the box and land at Jack Grealish’s feet just before the goal.
Worst moment: Watching Villa piss away counter, after counter, into the wind.
Man of the Match: Glenn Whelan would be difficult to look past, but Lewis Grabban is the man right now.