Aston Villa v Leeds United tonight - a fixture which will always be associated with carnage 🍿pic.twitter.com/hS7EC5azdK— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 23, 2020
Leeds United move up to 3rd while Villa remain 2nd
Aston Villa have had an unthinkable season so far, but tonight they suffered their first loss in the Premier League at the hands of Leeds United. If they won tonight – or even drew – they would have gone ahead of Everton to top the table. Unfortunately for them, that was not the case. Despite their failure tonight, Aston Villa have performed well above expectations so far.
They’ve shown they have what it takes to compete with the best this season with some impressive wins against top sides. The Liverpool result stands out as they broke up Jurgen Klopp’s side to win 7-2. They also beat Leicester last weekend, which is no mean feat given the season the Foxes had last term.
Like Villa, Leeds have also surpassed expectations so far this season. They now sit 3rd in the table after tonight’s victory, albeit with a game in hand. Marcelo Bielsa must receive credit a tonne of credit for how Leeds are performing so far, the Argentine has completely transformed the Leeds squad since taking over. After years of struggling for promotion from the Championship, Bielsa took just 2 seasons to make their Premier League dream a reality. Not only did he get promoted, but he done so in style. Quick passing, hard work and intense pressing is a staple of this Leeds United team. They demonstrated their entertaining style of play tonight as they cruised to a comfortable win.
🙌 WHAT. A. PERFORMANCE.
— Leeds United (@LUFC) OCTOBER 23, 2020
As expected, the match was an enjoyable affair – as long as you’re not a Villa fan.
One of the main talking points of the first half was Bielsa’s controversial substitution of Pascal Struijk with just 21 minutes played. The substitution may have been a result of the defender receiving an early yellow card. Barkley and Grealish were trying to draw fouls out of him, so maybe Bielsa was right in his judgement.
Speaking of Grealish, he came the closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half. He shot from a tight angle after being fed by Trzeguet, but his shot was expertly cleared off the line by the hard-working Luke Ayling. Ayling made the mistake in the first place which led to the opportunity but he more than made amends as he made the incredible goal line clearance. Goal line technology had to be called into play to determine if it crossed the line or not, which shows just how close Grealish went.
Grealish was involved again towards the end of the half as he was bundled over inside the box. There were claims for a penalty, but VAR determined there was minimal contact to warrant a spot kick.
Bamford went close a handful of times during the first half and his determination paid off in the 55th minute. Bamford turned poacher as Emi Martinez’s palmed save fell to his feet and he made no mistake with the finish.
There was a penalty claim not long afterwards as Bamford went down theatrically after a coming together with Mings. Replays, however, showed that there was no contact made by Mings.
Moments after the penalty incident, Bamford got his second. This time it was a brilliant goal. Klich ran through the middle before finding Bamford who took a touch before blasting the ball into the top corner from outside the box. It was a stunning goal from the Leeds striker.
Bamford completed his hat trick on the 73rd with another spectacular goal. Leeds once again moved the ball well before the ball made its way to Bamford. He displayed some expert close control to find himself some space before bending his shot around the opposition defender to find the net. Bamford has had his critics in the past few years but he showed tonight that he was capable of performing at a very high level.
— Premier League (@premierleague) OCTOBER 23, 2020
Pablo Hernandez went close for Leeds a couple of times before the final whistle ended but failed to find the net.
It was a brilliant performance by Leeds tonight as they easily dismantled of an inform Aston Villa outfit. If they continue to perform like they have tonight for the remainder of the season, who knows how far they could go.
Leeds’ next Premier League fixture is against Leicester on Monday. Like tonight’s game, Leeds vs. Leicester should also prove to be an enticing affair.