Leeds United show the fight needed for the play-offs in controversial Villa draw

28 Apr 2019 04:33 pm, by YorkshireSquare

Seventy two minutes into Sunday’s game against Aston Villa and it was Leeds United vs the rest of the footballing world, just how we like it. A (fair) Liam Cooper challenge had left Villa striker Jonathan Kodjia flattened but Tyler Roberts opted to play on as the Villa team froze expecting the ball to be played out. Roberts played a through ball to Mateusz Klich who coolly cut inside and curled a low right-foot shot just inside the post. 37,000 Leeds fans went mental, not a single one caring about sportsmanship, why would they after some of the examples of timewasting and feigning of injuries they have seen against them this season?

But the Villa players did not see it the same way and I can understand that to a certain extent given they had put the ball out for Leeds earlier on. But it was a 50/50 ball and you should always play to the referee’s whistle. The ensuing chaos did not reflect well on both teams, the over physical reaction of the Villa players (Hourihane in particular) was out of hand but likewise so was Patrick Bamfords ‘simulation’ which resulted in Ahmed El Ghazi being sent off for an alleged elbow. In all the chaos one man kept his head, Marcelo Bielsa. A man whose integrity had been questioned earlier in the season over the spygate affair proved that he is a noble man and showed more integrity than the feral chav John Terry.

Bielsa ordered his team to allow Villa to equalise from their kick off and Albert Adomah duly did so, even if Pontus Jansson made a solo effort to stop him scoring, his defensive instincts too powerful for him just to allow the opposition to score uncontested. Leeds fans don’t need reminding of Marcelo Bielsa’s integrity, we already know the qualities of this great man, he has demonstrated them every day since arriving in Leeds and has made the club a better place for it. It was the ‘right’ thing to do morally, even if it didn’t feel right to every Leeds fan watching.

The uncontested equaliser didn’t matter in reality, Sheffield United had already secured promotion despite a feint mathematical possibility and the play-off places are pretty much resolved. But the game told us a lot about this Leeds United team. It proved that they haven’t given up, that they can still be ruthless in their determination to win and that they can take it to any team in the Championship on their day. Villa were the form side in the Championship but Leeds had 70% possession and 27 shots. I know that has been the story of our season but it looked like there would only be one winner unlike our previous two games.

This game had the potential to be a dead rubber but it proved to be an exciting game against two teams still fighting for promotion. Despite the deflating feeling when Adomah was allowed to equalise this was an encouraging game. It was the kind of performance we will need to deliver during the play-offs and proves we can take on any team involved. And if after Klich’s goal it’s Leeds United vs the world again I can live with that, that’s when we play the best.