Aston Villa are losing ground on the automatic promotion places as they let another lead slip against league leaders Leeds this afternoon.
Words by Harry Trend (@HazaTrand)
Aston Villa let a halftime lead slip as goals from Jack Clarke, Pontus Jansson and Kemar Roofe meant Leeds walked away from Villa Park with three points.
Moreover, the defence is starting to become a problem. The Pride have now shipped 12 goals in their last five games.
It took just four minutes for Villa to open the scoring, Conor Hourihane’s through pass was latched onto by John McGinn who tripped on the ball. Nevertheless, Tammy Abraham was there to finish the scraps.
In attack Villa were looking electric, Jonathan Kodjia in particular. The Ivorian twisted his way past three Leeds players before laying it off to the Hourihane. With the goal in sight, the Irishman found the bottom left corner from 25 yards.
With no Axel Tuanzebe in central defence, Villa looked unconvincing at the back. Mateusz Klich was slipped through, but the Polish international’s low shot was straight at Orjan Nyland. Then Pablo Hernandez curled a free kick wide.
Soon after Ezgjan Alioski cut inside Alan Hutton prior to firing a shot wide. As a contest it was far from over.
The dangerous Kodjia could’ve made it three in the second half had his rising shot been a couple of inches lower.
But after 55 minutes, Jack Clarke halved Villa’s lead. Waltzing past Ahmed Elmohamady far too easily, the 18-year-old placed a shot out of Nylands reach.
It was back to square one for Villa moments later when Pontus Jansson headed in Hernandez’ corner. Nyland then had to tip over Klich’s shot cross.
The game was becoming a battle, and Dean Smith sent on Anwar El Ghazi and Birkir Bjarnason to try to wrestle back control.
Nyland made a good save from Ezgjan Alioski, then made Hernandez beat Hutton before hitting the side netting.
Both sides were going for the win. Bailey Peacock-Farrell had to get a strong hand to the ball after Adam Forshaw flicked a corner toward his own goal.
In stoppage time it would all come crashing down for Villa, Elmohamady only half headed away a deep cross, and Roofe was there to half-volley a shot into the bottom corner.
Villa travel to Swansea on Boxing Day before playing Preston on Saturday while league leaders Leeds are at home to Blackburn Rovers then Hull City.