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Leeds and Aston Villa meet in tasty bottom-half clash
Leeds to win 2-1
Tournament: Premier League 2022-2023 | Venue: Leeds, Elland RoadBet Now
There are four places between Leeds and Aston Villa in the Premier League table, although as is usual at this stage of the season, the gap is just one point.
Leeds have played one game fewer than their opponents so far this season, although it’s been a while since they last tasted victory, a run which has seen them slip down the table.
When they thrashed Chelsea 3-0, one of their best results since being promoted to the Premier League three seasons ago, Jesse Marsch’s side sat 3rd in the league. Since then, two defeats and a draw have followed.
Aston Villa secured a big win over Southampton in their last game to help ease the pressure on Steven Gerrard’s shoulders.
There are still many Villa fans who aren’t sure whether Gerrard is the right man to take them forward, with just two wins from their seven games this season.
There is plenty at stake here.
Reasons to be cheerful:
Unbeaten at Elland Road so far this season
Rodrigo should be back in contention to play
Reasons to be fearful:
Won just one of their last 10 home games against Villa
Forshaw and Gray will sit out through injury
Leeds’ manager Jesse Marsch will watch this game from the stands, having received a one-match suspension after his actions during his side’s 5-2 defeat to Brentford.
That will not hamper the intensity with which Leeds play football, especially with the Elland Road crowd behind them. All of their best results often come at home, and they will fancy their chances against Villa.
That hasn’t always been the case of course. In fact, historically Leeds have a poor home record against Villa, winning just one of their last 10. Many of those came from some years ago, however, and they are an improved outfit these days.
As well as their manager, they must also cope without Forshaw and Gray, who both miss out through injury concerns.
On the plus side, Rodrigo, who already has four goals this season, and Patrick Bamford, who can lead the line well when he’s fully fit.
Star Man – Rodrigo
Having the Spaniard back from shoulder surgery is a big bonus for Leeds, who have lacked goals in his absence. He has four goals from his six appearances so far.
Reasons to be cheerful
Win against Southampton was huge
Have won their last two away games against Leeds
Reasons to be fearful
Missing both first-choice full-backs through injury
Away form has been dreadful so far
By securing a narrow win over Southampton in their last game, Aston Villa not only claimed just their second victory of the season, but also relieved some of the pressure on their shoulders.
Steven Gerrard has come under intense pressure recently, not least from Villa’s own fans, but that will only return if they don’t use that win as a starting point for better things.
Helpfully, Villa have a good record against Leeds in recent years, especially at Elland Road. Those wins came at a time when Villa were in a better place, but they will still be confident of coming away with something.
Unfortunately, Gerrard will be without both of his first-choice full-backs here, with Matty Cash and Lucas Digne injured. New signing Dendoncker will slot in for the injured Boubacar Kamara in midfield.
Star Man – Emi Buendia
The Argentine has played well in recent weeks and has probably done enough to start this one. He often alternates with Coutinho but has done more than the Brazilian in recent times.
Will be an intense game
Both sides need a win
Home advantage could work in Leeds’ favour
With the teams of the bottom half bunched so closely together, a win or a defeat could send them up or down the table several places.
Leeds will see that in their favour here, as they have the opportunity to go into the top half, ahead of teams like Newcastle and Brentford if other results go in their favour.
If Villa can claim three points, that’ll mean two wins on the bounce for the first time since April. It would shoot them up the table and helps win more support from their fans.
Leeds are favourites at home, however.
Leeds to win 2-1
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