Anwar El Ghazi’s fifth-minute goal proved to be enough for all three points for Aston Villa against Leeds United.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa travelled to Elland Road this evening to face an in form Leeds United. The Villans were once again without star player and captain Jack Grealish, whilst their midfield looked incredibly different from their loss against Leicester City, with Marvelous Nakamba and Jacob Ramsey both starting alongside John McGinn.
Within the first five minutes, Aston Villa were ahead. Ollie Watkins attempted a shot from the edge of the box, where he slipped and his shot found Anwar El Ghazi – who had beaten Leeds offside trap – to control the ball brilliantly, balance himself and slide it past Meslier in the Leeds net.
El Ghazi tested Meslier again in the 13th minute, cutting in from the right hand side and firing towards goal – forcing the young French ‘keeper into palming the ball over the bar.
Leeds continued to try and create overloads and traps for Aston Villa to fall into as the game progressed, but in the opening 20 minutes, Aston Villa were handling the home side well.
The game levelled out at is headed towards half-time, with both sides challenging in their opposition’s final third but not really challenging either keeper. There was a chance for Ollie Watkins on a counter attack close to the end of the half, but Meslier was wise to it.
Villa went in ahead at the break.
Aston Villa looked like they wouldn’t be resting on their laurels at the start of the second half, and put the Leeds backline under pressure early.
Leeds United would make the first change of the evening, replacing Pascal Struijk with Ezgjan Alioski.
Matt Targett and Tyler Roberts were booked after an altercation just after the hour mark, whilst Mateusz Klich was booked shortly after for kicking out at at Anwar El Ghazi as the winger looked to break.
In the 64th minute, Helder Costa was replaced by Jack Harrison for Leeds.
Tyrone Mings came close to extending Aston Villa’s lead in the 65th, but Liam Cooper managed to get something on the ball to deflect his headed effort over the bar for a corner.
Leeds’ third and final change came in the 70th minute, with tricky veteran Pablo Hernandez replacing Tyler Roberts.
With fifteen minutes remaining, Dean Smith made his first change of the evening, replacing Jacob Ramsey with Morgan Sanson.
Leeds continued to apply pressure on Aston Villa as the game headed towards its conclusion. With three minutes remaining, Trezeguet replaced Anwar El Ghazi.
Aston Villa saw out a long barrage of pressure from Leeds during the second half, but managed to leave Elland Road with all three points.