This Saturday, 27 April 2019, the Leeds United Peacocks take on Aston Villa F.C. at Elland Road in Leeds, England. Ten weeks ago, this match would have been called ahead of time as a Leeds victory. It would have been pointed out that it was a fixture of little consequence as middling Aston Villa were out of the playoff running, and The Whites (Leeds) on a seemingly unstoppable road towards the Premier League and redemption.
Well, that was 10 weeks ago. And now it’s the match of the round. In the interim, the pre-ordained champion has slipped right off its lofty throne. Leeds are facing not so much a slump, but a capitulation, having dropped 9 points in their past six matches. The two victories came against EFL Championship strugglers Birmingham City F.C. and a 10-man Preston North End F.C. side. Just how far Leeds has fallen was highlighted after a devastating 1-2 loss over the Easter weekend to relegation threatened Wigan Athletic F.C. - a team that was a man down for the majority of the match. While injuries to key players have hampered their run down the stretch, the squad is struggling to regain their winning ways.
This poor run of form for Leeds has come at entirely the wrong end of the season – in stark contrast to their next opponents, Aston Villa, who have hit a purple patch and stormed into the playoff places.
Leeds United vs Aston Villa Vital Information
This match can be viewed on Sunday April 28, at 7 AM EST in ESPN + and iFollow in the United States, and on Sky Sports and iFollow in the UK at 3:00 PM GMT.
Stuart Attwell will be the referee in the middle of the park along with assistants Simon Long and Peter Kirkup. The fourth official will be Darren England.
This will be the 100th meeting all time between Leeds United and Aston Villa. In the previous 99 meetings, Leeds has won 31 times, Aston Villa has won 39, and there have been 29 draws. The most recent meeting between the two was a win by Leeds 2-3, at AstonVilla back on 23 December 2018.
5 points that shouldn’t be overlooked
Villa are on an astonishing 10-match, club-record winning streak. This run commenced with an unlikely 4-0 victory over fellow playoff hopefuls, Derby County F.C., and hasn’t lost momentum since, sweeping aside rivals with aplomb.
Central to this turnaround by the Claret and Blue has been Villa Academy sensation (and Tottenham Hotspur F.C./Crystal Palace F.C. target) Jack Grealish. The attacking midfielder has been on top form having a hand in 11 of the 15 most recent goals scored, transforming the Villa attack and providing strikers Tammy Abraham and Jonathan Kodjia with the sustenance forwards thrive on. This won’t be the case on Sunday with Abraham ruled out through injury, in a blow to Dean Smith’s side.
With striker Kemar Roofe ruled out, Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa, will be looking to Patrick Bamford to add to his tally of 9 goals this season. Leeds will need to see midfielder Pablo Hernandez - almost invisible during this poor run - take the game by the scruff of the neck.
Leeds are coming off back-to-back losses for the first time this season. A third loss - which hasn’t happened since November 2017 - may be in the offing.
Aston Villa haven’t won at Leeds in their last 5 attempts. December 2000, back when they were both Premier League teams, was the last time Villa won at Elland Road
Leeds United vs Aston Villa Prediction
While Leeds may have lost some of that intimidating early-season form, this is not a bye fixture by any means. Leeds are smarting and are looking to earn a positive draw in the playoffs – indeed an automatic promotion place is still an unlikely possibility.
Having said that, it’s difficult to see Leeds winning this one, even in front of a partisan, rowdy Elland Road home crowd. Leeds are assured of a playoff place but, on current form, will go no further. For Aston Villa - also having secured a playoff place with their recent win over Millwall F.C. - current form suggests this club will return to the Premier League after a two-year hiatus.
Prediction: Aston Villa 2 Leeds United 1