Leeds United 0
Aston Villa 0
2nd October 2022, Premier League.
Football is difficult to predict… unless you are predicting Manchester City results of course! Once again this week all five members of the Yorkshire Evening Post (YEP) football jury, including me, predicted a Leeds United win against Aston Villa. It seemed a reasonable prediction; Villa had a few injury issues, Leeds had a better choice of fit players than we have had for some time, and, well, we are a tad optimistic always.
I thought it would be tight, joking on Twitter when I saw the other jurors' predictions: “that means a draw is incoming…!” And so it was, not the 1 – 0 prediction I made, but a nil-nil stalemate.
Whether it would have remained nil-nil had Luis Sinisterra not had a moment of madness just minutes into the second half, we will never know but I have to say my guess is it would have done. Neither of these sides really impressed although Villa would end the game with a respectable 19 goal attempts, to just six from Leeds and it is slightly worrying that Leeds managed just one shot on target in 90 minutes. That simply isn’t good enough.
A word about referee Stuart Attwell is needed here though; yet again a poor referee seemed unable to understand or do anything about a team that constantly tried to slow the game down and ensure we got minimal playing time. Almost every team arriving at Elland Road this season has used this tactic and, to be honest, it is becoming a bit tiresome. It’s not how the beautiful game is supposed be played. Players feigning injury to take the absolute maximum time on the floor but bouncing up when there was any suggestion of a trainer coming on; throw-ins and goal kicks taking forever etc. etc. I could argue that Attwell was too harsh in booking Sinisterra too for his instinctive reaction in hanging out a boot to stop a free kick, but it was his earlier booking that was really absurd when measured against numerous poor tackles by Villa’s Leon Bailey and Ashley Young that went unpunished by cards. Put simply, Attwell is not good enough for the Premier League… although he is not alone in the ranks of referees in that.
So, not a great performance by Leeds but at the end of the day, it was a point many of us doubted we’d get after 48 minutes had gone by and Luis was walking down the tunnel. A big improvement is needed me thinks, if we are to get anything down at Selhurst Park next Sunday. Let’s hope we get our act together after what has surely been a 29-day break that has done us no favours. A few selection decisions are needed too; is Bamford ready? ; should Luke Ayling start? Is the Koch/ Coops pairing the right one? Should Wilfried Gnonto get a start when he has clearly been pulling up trees for Italy?; lot’s to ponder.
Leeds Aston Villa
Possession 44% 56%
Shots 6 19
On Target 1 7
Corners 2 9
Fouls 23 12