Aston Villa were on fire once more this evening, dispatching Leeds at Elland Road thanks to goals from Philippe Coutinho, Matty Cash and a wonderstrike from Calum Chambers.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa travelled to Elland Road this evening to face Leeds United, with the home side hoping to bounce back from new manager Jesse Marsch’s first game in charge – a loss to Leicester City. Villa, on the other hand, were hoping to make it three wins from three.
It was a relatively even game for the opening fifteen minutes – neither side had challenged the others goalkeeper, but outfield players were unsettling their opposition at any opportunity. Ollie Watkins was booked for a poor challenge on Luke Ayling in the 16th minute.
After 21 minutes, Aston Villa were ahead. Ollie Watkins attempted to get on the end of a Lucas Digne cross before being pulled back by Junior Firpo. The ball fell out to the other side of the box before it was played back centrally for Philippe Coutinho to fire towards goal – where it took a deflection off Pascal Struijk’s boot and bounced past Illan Meslier.
Danny Ings had an attempt just a few minutes later, but his looping header looped just a bit too far over the bar.
Douglas Luiz forced Meslier into a strong palmed save in the 32nd minute with a free-kick from the left hand side of the box – which eventually resulted in little for Gerrard’s side.
Meslier was called into action again a few minutes before the end of the half, as John McGinn’s effort curled towards the bottom right corner. The Leeds keeper got down low to get a hand to the shot.
Aston Villa went in at the break with the lead, and deservedly so!
After the interval, Gelhardt came onto the pitch for Leeds, replacing Rodrigo – who had been largely ineffective for the home side in the opening 45 minutes.
The opening period of the second half was very much Leeds – likely after a rollicking during the break – but Aston Villa were struggling to start attacks in the opening ten minutes of the second.
In the 57th minute, Patrick Bamford returned to the Leeds eleven – for the first time since September – and to rapturous applause at Elland Road. He replaced Jack Harrison. John McGinn was booked for a challenge on Bamford in the 61st minute.
Aston Villa doubled their lead in the 66th minute as Danny Ings crossed the ball into acres of space in the Leeds box – which found Matty Cash alone. He controlled the ball, before taking on a man and firing emphatically past a rooted Meslier. Klich replaced Forshaw during Cash’s celebration.
Danny Ings was replaced by Morgan Sanson in the 70th minute.
In the 72nd minute, Aston Villa made it three. A free-kick found its way to Tyrone Mings towards the back post – where he laid a perfect ball into the path of Calum Chambers. Chambers fired first time – curling towards the far post and into the stanchion. A wonderful way to open your Aston Villa acount.
Four minutes later and Gerrard opted to replace Philippe Coutinho with Emiliano Buendia. In the 85th minute, Douglas Luiz was replaced by Ashley Young.
There were five minutes of added time at the end of the 90, before the game ended with Villa as victors. What a run of form!