Aston Villa the Acid Test for Rampant Leeds United   –   by Rob Atkinson

Fortress Villa Park

Villa Park has in the past been a productive venue for various Leeds United sides down the years, but nobody at Elland Road will expect anything other than the sternest test of United’s promotion credentials when two giants clash at the famous old stadium on Thursday evening. 

History is not exactly against Leeds in this away fixture. The past throws up some memorable results for the Whites, including a surprise 4-1 victory for a relegation-destined United against a Villa side on the cusp of becoming European Champions in 1982. Nine years later, before a live ITV audience, Wilko’s Leeds repeated that scoreline and stunned Villa Park as they made their first declaration of intent to become the Last Champions of the old-style Football League. But, encouraging though history might be for the Yorkshiremen, it could count for little this time around. 

Villa Park, a bit of a gimme for Premier League sides last season, has been more of a fortress in the less demanding arena of the Championship. The Villans yield to no-one so far this season at home; Leeds would have to be at their very best to prise three points out of this match. With Kyle Bartley something of a doubt, the defence could lack some of its usual rock-like solidity although Cooper is an able deputy. For the rest of the side, the return of Pablo Hernandez and Chris Wood looks like a timely bonus. 

To win at Aston Villa would lay down a marker for the rest of the season, as well as confirming realistic promotion ambitions that would need to be supported in the coming transfer window. But it must be said that a draw would be no small achievement either – and the fact is that Leeds will be very pleased with anything from a fixture that will see them under the most intense examination. 

Villa will be stinging yet from their 0-2 reverse at Elland Road recently, manager Steve Bruce‘s first defeat since he took up the reins of the midlands giants. Leeds, on the other hand, will be understandably buoyant after their impressive dismissal of Preston on Boxing Day. Both sides should take the field confident and expectant. 

This blog will revert to its early-season caution in predicting a hard-fought and low-scoring draw. In truth, that would look a decent result for both sides, though Leeds in particular will be uncomfortably aware of the form being displayed by the other sides in and around the top six

A draw would be nice, a win would be bloody marvellous. But defeat would be no disgrace, so the Twitterati should think before pouncing on any slip-up. Hopefully, that won’t be an issue, and Leeds can bring back at least a share of the spoils to God’s Own County

7 responses to “Aston Villa the Acid Test for Rampant Leeds United   –   by Rob Atkinson

  1. Sound reasoning Rob. We all know we are not going to win every game so it’s going to come. I will settle for a draw but without sounding defeatest, this is a BIG one. Hope I’m wrong and we show just how strong we are in passion and determination. One thing for sure, it will be a hell of an atmosphere


  2. I won’t be too disappointed if we lost tonight as we will still be on track. Having said that who can beat us when we are at our best in this division?
    We dropped 28 points in the first half of the season which finished at Preston, and back in November I thought if we could get to that stage with over 40 points it would be a massive achievement after such a slow start.
    If we improve by 10 points over the second half we finish with 92 points. That will guarantee a top six finish and in many seasons automatic promotion.
    There is ground to make up but we keep looking better month by month. I watch a lot of Championship football and frankly I don’t see any teams we should now be fearful of. None of the others could have achieved the success of the last few games with the key injuries we have endured.
    I may be proved wrong but to me this feels like we are on a roll and now the goals are coming too. It really is MOT for real at last!


  3. If Wood doesn’t start we’ll beat them. The team “flows” far better when he isn’t playing. He’s too slow and cumbersome and we have many able goal scorers in the team anyway. By the way,has anyone noticed that certain player characteristics have been replicated on Fifa 17? I was giving my son a game last night,(Leeds v Newcastle) and out of the blue Rob Green spilled an easy catch for Diame to score. Never happened with any other keeper. Clearly they’re Man Ure fans at EA.


  4. Why should we be pleased with just ‘anything’ from a game with a team who sit below us in the table ? If we can’t win away at Villa, why should winning at teams around them be any easier ? History counts for nothing in this Division. Besides all wins are equal in the final analysis. As it happens, I fully expect us to win, and to do so by the same score as at Elland Road.


  5. White Christmas

    ‘We were robbed at Villa Park’ was a kop standard when I was in short pants Rob. Hopefully no repeat tonight.


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