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After getting the better of Everton before the international break, Aston Villa have returned to winning ways and although a European place will likely allude them, a top-ten finish is certainly not out of the question.
While for Leeds, their only concern is Premier League safety and although there is relative distance between themselves and the bottom three, Marcelo Bielsa will not allow his men to rest on their laurels.
After such a controlled performance against Everton last month and one that led to a win before the winter break, Aston Villa will look to build on such an impressive showing by picking up maximum points against Leeds.
With that said, Leeds are never a team that can be considered pushovers and with Marcelo Bielsa acting as the brains of the operation, it is always difficult to try and outwit the legendary Argentine.
However, there is a surge of vibrancy around Villa Park these days and although a win over Leeds will not be easy, at odds of 9/10 it is definitely a bet to put on your midweek Premier League accumulator.
With a win away at Everton now under their belts, a run of three matches without success has come to an end and with their victory over the Toffees coming before the winter break, the mood before the hiatus will have been a positive one in the Villa camp.
Which means Steven Gerrard will now look to build on such an impressive performance on Merseyside by doing something similar back home and after getting the better of Everton, Villa’s hopes of a top-half finish have been given a considerable boost.
Going into the next round of Premier League fixtures, Villa currently find themselves lying in 11th place and although they have not hit the top 10 just yet, they are level on points with Leicester above them.
Therefore, the scrap for 10th or perhaps better, is one that is still very much up for grabs and after a tough run of fixtures, the schedule seems slightly kinder to Steven Gerrard and his players.
With Villa’s new man in charge being given plenty of time to bed in, the signs of progress are obvious and with the former Liverpool midfielder also being backed in the transfer market, he is also shaping the team for greater objectives next season.
In terms of injuries and suspensions going into the visit of Leeds, both Bertrand Traore and Trezeguet will have returned from AFCON duty but Villa’s fellow African star Marvelous Nakamba will join Leon Bailey on the sidelines.
When it comes to Leeds, there is no doubt that their second season in the Premier League under Marcelo Bielsa is proving to be a much more difficult one and after defeat to Newcastle, they find themselves dangling close to the relegation zone.
Although they may not be in immediate danger, the defeat to Newcastle would have been a difficult one to bear and with Ilan Meslier being largely dependable, he will have to shoulder the blame for the Magpies’ winner.
However, nearly a week off from Premier League action will at least give Leeds the opportunity to regroup and it is this additional time on the training pitch, which may just help manager Marcelo Bielsa.
With the Argentine known for running with a smaller squad than his Premier League counterparts, he has had to put his faith in youth this season and although that does come with a risk, it can also offer rewards at the same time.
None more so than Leeds’s impressive and recent win over West Ham and if they can tap into that style of play once again, then they will be ready for anything that Aston Villa plan to throw their way.
In terms of injuries and suspensions for the trip to Aston Villa, Marcelo Bielsa must once again do without the key pair of Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford, while Charlie Cresswell is also still injured at the time of writing.
When it comes to Aston Villa and Leeds, these are two of the more traditional powerhouses of the English game and although they may not dine at the top table anymore, their respective fan bases are still passionate and large in number.
In terms of their overall head-to-head record, Aston Villa have won on 40 occasions, Leeds 32 and there have been 30 draws
There is no doubt that Aston Villa’s home fans are a passionate bunch and although the Holte End may have seen better days, Villa Park can be considered one of the more traditional grounds within the Premier League.
With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted in England, it means there is no longer the need to show a Vaccine Passport before attending the ground. Which means, match tickets are the only item that is required to be produced at the time of writing.
When it comes to Aston Villa, there is no secret that their owners want to see a return to Europe in the next few years and although this season may be too soon for such a feat, they certainly have the right man to take them there.
For now, the first building block will be capturing a top-half finish at the end of the season and with Steven Gerrard continuing to improve his new charges, they should also continue their progress up the league ladder.