Leeds Utd v Aston Villa Match Thread - Klich fit, Costa in for Harrison
25 Feb 2021 12:28 pm, by Ellandback1
Saturday 27th February 2021 17:30 | Elland Road
Marcelo Bielsa faces a midfield crisis as Leeds welcome Aston Villa for an early Saturday evening kick off at Elland Road. Jamie Shackleton missed Leeds midweek win against Southampton with an abdominal injury whilst Mateusz Klich was obviously in discomfort when being substituted half way through the second half of the Saints game with a hip injury sustained some weeks ago. The gaffer is already without the services of Ian Poveda, Rodrigo, Kalvin Phillips and Adam Forshaw in the middle of the park. Fortuately Klich is fit enough to make the starting eleven in midfield alongside Tyler Roberts. We may see a switch of wings for Raphinha as Helder Costa comes into the side after an impressive cameo against Southampton in place of the out of form Jack Harrison.
Leeds are boosted by the return of Diego Llorente. The Spanish International played the full 90 minutes of the Saints game. Llorente has experience with his previous club, both as centre back and defensive midfield. This will please Bielsa, who has been unable to fill Kalvin Phillips shoes during his absence. Leeds will be hoping they can repeat the reverse fixture having destroyed Dean Smiths team back in late October courtesy of a Bamford hat trick.
The visitors will be without their talisman Grealish who has a shin injury. The skipper missed Sunday's 2-1 defeat to Leicester and while boss Dean Smith hopes he could be available for Tuesday's game against Sheffield United, there is no exact timeframe for the midfielder's return. Defender Bjorn Engels has recovered from a back spasm and could be among the substitutes. Right-back Matty Cash is expected to be out for at least another two weeks with a hamstring injury. Defender Kortney Hause (foot) and forward Wesley (knee) remain on the sidelines although both are close to a return.
Aston Villa are two places and one point (8th v 10th) ahead of the Whites in the Premiership table with the Birmingham club also having an eleven goal difference swing on Leeds, even though Bielsa's side has scored 6 more goals this season than Villa. Leeds won the reverse fixture 3-0 and can do the league double over Aston Villa for the first time since 1975-76. Villa have only won two of their past 17 away league games against Leeds, with those victories coming in January and December 2000. Leeds can win three Premier League home games in a row for the first time since a run of five from April to August 2001. They have kept successive clean sheets at Elland Road. There has not been a draw in any of their past 16 league fixtures: Leeds have won eight and lost eight.
Aston Villa have won just one of their past six away league matches, in contrast to five victories in their opening six trips this season. It's five defeats in nine Premier League games for Dean Smith's side in 2021 (W3, D1). All but one of their 11 league victories this season has been earned with a clean sheet, but Villa have lost nine of the 11 matches in which they've conceded. Villa have kept a league-high seven away clean sheets, one shy of equalling their club top-flight record. They are attempting to win away against all three promoted teams in a top-flight season for the first time since 1980-81. Since Villa returned to the top flight in 2019, they have lost 2-1 in all three Premier League fixtures without Jack Grealish.
Leeds Starting XI
Meslier, Ayling, Struijk, Cooper, Llorente, Dallas, Klich, Costa, Roberts, Raphinha, Bamford
Subs: Casilla, Cresswell, Davis, Alioski, Jenkins, Huggins, Harrison, Hernandez, Gelhardt