Leeds United 1 Aston Villa 1
These Championship games, certainly those played between any of the top 15 or 16 sides, are always decided by such fine margins. Leeds’ game with Villa was a great example. Leeds had Villa on the ropes at half time having bossed the first half and taken a deserved lead with a 19th minute Jansson header from a Hernandez corner. But it was only a one goal lead that Leeds had for all their domination of the game and that came from Leeds only ‘shot’ on target in a game that was largely played in the middle third.
It was somewhat inevitable that a canny old operator like Steve Bruce would fathom out how to change the game to give his side a chance in the second half but his mission was helped no end by the injury to Pablo Hernandez just before the break. Until then, Leeds had looked balanced and effective but without Pablo we had far less fluency. Whatever Kemar Roofe is, he is no Pablo. This current Leeds machine is good, but remove a significant cog like Pablo and it soon becomes very average indeed.
Villa gradually sorted themselves out and once they had Grealish and Lansbury on the pitch there was no doubt as to which was the better side. We all knew it was only a matter of time before Villa got an equaliser and by the end we were just thankful that was all they got. A 1 – 1 draw with a strong Villa side is no disgrace and as long as we can keep this decent little run going by accumulating points regularly between now and the end of the year then we’ll be in a good place come January.
It could easily have been so much better though had Lady Luck been on our side and but for a few inches here and there. Liam Cooper finally got a header on target having tried and missed umpteen times this season but replays would show it was correctly ruled offside but not by much. And then there was that delightful ball flashed across the face of goal by Samu Saiz that, on another day would have taken a touch from any one of the flying boots of Alioski, Ekuban or Roofe as they all slid in missing by inches. Fine margins you see!
Leeds U Aston Villa
Possession 52% 48%
Shots 7 8
On Target 1 4
Corners 5 1
Fouls 15 16