A juicy enough fixture today, and Dean Smith is fielding a full-strength side, with the exception of Tammy Abraham. Both sides will be wanting this, I think, but without anything stupid happening. Now that we’re in, we’ll have some freedom, and maybe another win. You never know.


Steer; Elmohamady, Tuanzebe, Mings, Taylor; McGinn, Hourihane, Grealish; Green, Kodjia, El Ghazi.

Subs: Sarkic, Whelan, Lansbury, Jedinak, Bjarnason, Hutton, Adomah.

Comments 140

  1. Not sure what we’re up to, MK. Mings and Axel going for goal. Looks like Smith wants to get at them really quickly. Or players are just making stuff up.

  2. Jc- as Leeds tend to high press I assume we have looked at ways to break that hence the runs from CB

    Think kodjia is not going to get much from their CB’s today

  3. Leeds have definitely settled into their game better. All the quick stuff is seeing us without much possession. Guess there were a couple other games during the streak where we played this way.

  4. Can’t understand how they don’t see this stuff as fouls ?? It’s all pushes and hand offs and trips not to mention shirt grabbing. Certainly heated.

    Most of Leeds games have gone like this recently and they have been hit on the break

  5. Posted on old thread. No alarms but would like to see less inviting them on by defending deep. Ref has been poor.

    AEG and Green cannot hold the ball up. Grealish easy to man mark with a strong niggler like Leeds have.

  6. Jc- Bielsa is boiling over and his team with him, let them it’s doing them no good with the ref, they could get fined at this rate. They are feeling the pressure and I love it 🙂

  7. PW,

    I’d like to see us be a little more patient, curious to see if we persist trying to get through them so quickly. If we do, just need to be a little more settled. Feels like we’re rushing it a bit, leaving that space you’re talking about when the ambitious ball doesn’t get there.

  8. Bielsa defo not happy, Mark. Wonder what happens if we get the opener. Whatever happens, will be a hot-blooded rematch if we both get through to the final.

  9. After the bright opening 5 mins I would say Leeds have been better in possession than Villa. Fortunately, like most teams in this woeful division, they cannot finish.

  10. PW- I think jack and Mcginn in 2nd gear at the moment and although hourihane is doing ok wheelan plays that position better, think we miss him and obviously Tammy

    Bielsa has only used 14 players all season so can’t see them wanting any sendings off and potential bans, Leeds shooting is cr*p so far and we have created better chances or at least put them on target.

  11. Agreed, Paul. They’ve been pretty relentless, getting the loose balls, tracking back, playing their game. Good movement, sharp passing.

    There are openings as a result, but we haven’t settled into our more regular patterns of play. That break with Kodjia comes to mind, leaves the ball heavy to Green. Was a good situation.

  12. McGinn should never have started.

    After this has all calmed down, Villa need to think about the fact that they haven’t beaten the top 4 this season…it doesn’t bode well for the play-offs imho.

  13. Mark…but we don’t control games against the best. Leeds have been fitter, faster, hungrier and technically better than our players, with the exception of Bamford

  14. Paul,

    I have a feeling Smith saw this as an experiment. Looked to bypass the pressure, played off. Leeds really wanted this, needed to prove something to themselves, but I don’t think Villa were looking at it quite the same way.

  15. Reinforced my concerns about our weaknesses. Don’t understand the tactic of conceding so much possession. On a positive note, all of the defence plated well but the rest were mediocre

  16. PW – no doubt but still not played any with a full team out, I think with Tammy and wheelan back in from the off if we get ahead it won’t end like the last ones. One up against Norwich two up against Leeds with 3 RBs I think we have a 50 50 chance but feel we are more likely to put our chances away.

  17. Tammy does add a lot…maybe that’s why the press wasn’t on.

    But much tougher at the back. Good save by Steer, couple of odd substitutions, but it really felt like Smith wanted to see what they’ve got, Leeds, without showing too much of our hand. Happy to defend, take the draw (get the win streak pressure off), not expend too much energy, etc.

    He won’t say that, but was a very non-aggressive approach today.

  18. JC – yes I agree, we stood up without really upping the pace to much, the aim at the end of the day is promotion . Our FB’s are not as mobile as others going forward so that limits us vs the top sides.

  19. Jc- way I see it Press can’t work without the no9 the CB’s just pass between them and kodjia just doesn’t have that in his game. Davis would work but wasn’t available.

  20. Can you imagine the intensity of that as a Play off final?? (Hope Wembley is well equipped with defibrillators)
    I know it’s only the final score which counts, but that was something of a moral victory for us. On their ground, down to 10 men, clear penalty not given and Leeds not endearing themselves to football fans anywhere with their behaviour. Bielsa May have acted honourably today, but don’t forget his admission of believing that there is no shame in cheating in order to gain a tactical advantage.

  21. Bamford’s behaviour was embarrassing but I don’t think that yellows can be given retrospectively so he’ll get away with it.

  22. Bielsa brought some class into the whole proceedings, Leeds players were horrible and their fans despicable. I hope Derby beat them in the playoff.

    What an impact Ming’s has had on our results. In a way I’m happy the run is over, unnecessary pressure for the next few games

  23. An interesting observation PW that we’ve not beaten any of the top 4.
    I’m not sure how significant it is mind you, bearing in mind that we haven’t met any of her during our amazing recent run, and that we ‘have’ beaten other teams whie they we’re top 4.

    It’s our form in the last 2 or (hopefully) 3 games which will count now, not what’s come before.

  24. Wholly agree with those commenting on Abraham. It’s his work off the ball which is missed just as much as his goals. He’s a key cog thatvhas helped our wheels run so efficiently over the recent run of games.

  25. Dean Smith suggested to Bielsa they give us a walk in goal and it was done only after we got AEG sent off. All said and done they should of kicked it off and we should not of stopped playing. How the Ref did not see that bamford was acting I don’t know he was ten yards away?

  26. AEG’s red may be rescinded as Bamford was simulating, seen clearly in the playback, unless the EFL are more interested in the upcoming fine money.

  27. Interesting times, at this juncture I think it could end up as neither us or Leeds in the final, or potentially us vs one of two teams we have smashed twice this season in Boro or Derby. Be nice to end with a home win next week.

  28. McGinn was very lucky to stay on. Could have got red for bad foul, and then deliberate hand ball is a 2nd yellow. I think the ref didn’t want to send us down to 9 and have even more focus on the game

    Couple of thoughts

    Why was Jedi playing like a striker, so far up the field?

    Is Whealan critical to us? cr*p yes, Leeds cut us apart, ripped us to shreds in midfield

    How good is Mings? He could be Paul McGrath in disguise. I know, I know that’s a very big statement. He has potential though

  29. First rule of football. Play to the whistle. Inexcusable to allow Klich the opportunity he was given. On the tackling front, I still think Kieftenbeld’s demolition of Jack just below the knee caps was worse.

    McGinn really will need to sit out the next game. He can’t be risked. I’m now just hoping we meet LUFC at Wembley.

  30. One thing I love about the Championship. Today, both clubs could have fielded weakened teams as the result is meaningless. Instead both teams are full strength, granted we rested Whealan.

    And look at the niggle, passion, commitment for a game that means nothing to either team. Or does it? Yes it does as we’ll play them in the final.

    Didn’t like the constant booing of Grealish and wa#$Ker chants. I guess that shows a lot of envy and how great Jack is

    Hourihane showed a lot of passion after Leeds goal. I wish he had that during games

  31. Plug, watch it back. Leeds gestures agreement to play it out. It was agreed via gestures. The ball was in their half. Then 2 of their players did a very silly thing that caused a lot of hand bags

  32. Not only was it a foul on kodjia it was offside too so I’m told, will have to look.

    Bielsa really wanted to get back to winning ways today, it meant a lot to them to ward off the form team as they are shitting bricks over us. For us its not so much and I thought we were comfortable while playing a strong team but not our strongest 11.

    I want Boro to win and Derby to lose to Swansea and west brom or two draws. Leeds drew twice with Boro this season and beat Derby twice like us.

    VillaMD- Jedinak came on for kodjia.

  33. VillaMD,

    Really no idea why Jedi was put up top. I’d have thought he’d have gone in as a DM, maybe Conor going forward.

    I don’t necessarily think the midfield battle was down to personnel (other than maybe Tammy and the pressing bit). Villa played off all day, and kept trying to catch Leeds out. That meant a lot less possession, and Leeds having room to play.

    Could be entirely wrong, but I do think Smith was trying to size them up, like seeing the man-marking on Jack, not show how we’d play if we weren’t being so direct. For a little while up until the incident with Kodjia and the goal, Villa were starting to play more like themselves in Leeds’ half. Dunno if Leeds had tired a little, but we were being a bit more deliberate. We didn’t try running them out, either.

    That said, I thought we looked a bit over-anxious, pushed it a tad too fast and were missing the necessary quality to pull it off. But there were a couple-three really good looks and the penalty shout that was ignored.

    All in all, an odd one.

  34. villamd

    I think your right. But we are far from the finished article under smith. He would want us to keep possession more and loves little technical players. Playoffs are going to be tough, very tough.

    Think west brom and leeds are capable of keeping the ball and moving better but we have great strength at the back and work hard. plus the playoffs are pressure one off games. Just turn up on the day!

  35. H&V – I think we have better players that can change things on their own, AEG, Jack, McGinn,Mings, Axle, Green, Tammy, Kodjia can all beat a player I don’t see that so much in the other sides, they are more about passing. Smith has had to mould this lot into a semblance of a passing team but on the day our ability to beat a player can be key.

  36. Mark

    Yeah true mate, we can produce out of nothing.

    green is looking a lot sharper. I never really rated him but under smith could blossom. he has everything. Summertime big for him.

    Heard smith wanted him at Brentford.

  37. H&V- Yes there’s a decent player in Green, Smith is slowly getting him to make the right decisions, he like a lot of youngsters tended to over do it and try to beat everyone but physically he has everything. I think Ohare is an exception as he seems to have a footballing Brain, always 2-3 moves ahead, doing very well at Carlisle although came off injured after scoring this week.

    I think loaning serves to toughen them up not only to the physicality but to the reality of those they will face, the Villa academy are a bit mollycoddled in that they earn good money for being at school, they don’t have scrap for it like the lower league players. What I don’t think it does is progress them as part of the Smith/Villa way, that has to be done in house.

  38. So it seems likely that AEG’s red card will be rescinded and Bamford will be banned for 2 games. . . . What about Hourihane?
    Did anyone see him throw a picture nah as is being suggested? If so he’ll probably be out for 3 games

  39. Is hourihane’s position different if he was booked for the incident though, as that suggests that the referee or assistant must have seen the incident and judged that it was just a yellow?

  40. r0bb0,

    Read about Conor, haven’t seen the replay yet. Guess it depends…A second yellow, one would hope it’s the one-match ban. But if it’s deemed ‘violent conduct’, guess it would be three.

    After reflecting on the whole melee for a day, I’m just of the opinion the FA should rescind AEG’s red, give Bamford a one-match ban, and then if Conor is to be punished, a one-match ban for him.

    I guess I see punching someone in the stomach as different than punching them in the face, though both would count as ‘violent’.

    But it was just a bizarre incident, Deano and Bielsa resolved it, and the reaction was to be expected. Once you get that many players in a tussle, I just don’t know that whatever handbag swinging happens should be that big a deal.

    As I think about it, though, it seems like faking a blow is almost worst than striking a real blow in the heat of the moment. One speaks to cynicism, the other to the heat of the moment and all the grabbing, frustration, etc.

    I do like Conor’s fire.

  41. Theres no punch from Conor for me unless he is Bruce Lee and mastered the one inch punch 🙂 Just a lot of shirt grabbing and others pulling about. thought it was funny that Mings was man handling 3 Leeds players at one point. Bamford deceived the official and got a player sent off plus had Conor in a neck hold and so he should get the book thrown at him. Conor was booked so thats that unless they try bringing the game into disrepute?

    For me the Ref should of stopped it at the injury to Kodjia as he clearly tries to turn the leeds player who misses the ball and tangles with him. not a bad foul just clumsy.

    If you watch the incident where we put the ball out we were in a better or more advanced position and listened to the Leeds players to put it out, it was very clear that Villa wanted the same and at that point Leeds really had no advantage as the chap was at the halfway. Seen lots of rubbish about they had a clear chance and were right to carry on, also that Jack was diving!! the lads gots eggs on his shin and knee!!


  42. This is the ruling

    “Where there is clear and overwhelming evidence to suggest a match official has been deceived by an act of simulation, and as a direct result, the offending player’s team has been awarded a penalty and/or an opposing player has been dismissed, The FA will be able to act retrospectively under its Fast Track system.

    A panel consisting of one ex-match official, one ex-manager and one ex-player will be asked to review all available video footage of the incident independently of one another and then advise The FA as to whether they believe it was an offence of ‘Successful Deception of a Match Official’. Only in circumstances where the panel are unanimous would The FA charge the individual concerned.

    This process would be similar to the one used now for a red card offence [violent conduct/serious foul play/spitting at an opponent] which was not seen at the time by the match officials but caught on camera. In this situation, three ex-elite match officials review all the available video footage independently of one another and then advise The FA as to whether they believe it was an offence worthy of instant dismissal.

    In accepted and/or proven cases of simulation and/or feigning injury, the offending player would receive a two-match suspension.”

  43. I have noticed too many times this season that Villa have been a soft touch, and put the ball out of play for the opposition, when someone has gone down, and then lost the advantage, instead of playing to the referee’s whistle. Dean needs to make them play to the whistle, as within moments the player is back on his feet!

  44. Mark
    Yes it is annoying.
    Also the fact that the linesmen often don’t keep up with the play for offsides, & often get them wrong.
    Since the linesman has collected more responsibility from the ref, their decisions are too often bizarre.

  45. IanG- christ that nearly blew my lugholes out

    Good news, AEG ban rescinded and no further action on Conor. Bamford no news yet but he said he’s sorry, well thats ok then, his mother said he’s a very naughty boy and he’s not the Messiah I assume.

    The owners have put a further £22m into Recon in shares? promotion can’t come soon enough you’d think or they’ll be skint.

  46. MK – Yep, we do need to get promoted this season. I think turning debt in to shares is a way around FFP or whatever it’s called these days. But the club must be sustainable so increased income is a necessity. Mind you, once Turpin retires at the end of June, our wage bill will drop significantly.

  47. Now the cat’s amongst the pigeons, Swansea scored.
    Derby 1 Swansea 1
    Muddlesborough must have thought they were dead & buried

  48. FT a draw
    Derby’s got to beat West Brom in the last game to be sure of 6th.
    Now for the rest of the Liverpool game.

  49. IanG- well we will see what Derby have got on the weekend and WBA. Said it before I think Boro are gonna scrape through. and they have the best record against leeds with two draws bar our friends at the sty who beat them twice. Be nice to see Leeds ground to a halt and go out on pens 🙂

  50. How crazy are things when we are getting excited about our new owners putting £22million into the club to help us achieve Premiership status. Then you look at Manchester United paying £26 million a year in wages to Alexis Sanchez…….Just one player….!!!

    Are we going to be able to cope with these figures, if we are going for the top, or will we be just a better than average Premiership team, struggling to beat teams at the top.

    I am sure we will be better than that, but it does bring home how crazy the money in football is today.

  51. 20 yr old Mitch Clarke has been let go.
    We do appear to be shrinking the residue of the young players, but I think this is realistic along with giving the U18s more of a way through, as it was a bit of a log jam.

  52. IanG- surprised by that Clarke has done very well at his loan club from what I have read, looked ok when called upon by Bruce too.

  53. Mark
    Yes it was a surprise, but since we changed the model of U18/21/23s to the U18s & the reserves, it has made it easier to bring the players through at a younger age not divorced from the First Team, but within the First Team training model.
    Unfortunately it was too late for Clarke & possibly one or two more.
    But it should improve & speed up the path to the first team, where we don’t lose so many young players such as Clarke.

  54. Mark
    I should have said B team, but it is essentially the same as the old reserves, & functions in competitions as U23s

  55. Bielsa still going on about Hourihane, & why he wasn’t charged.
    It’s a bit of a joke, as he doesn’t appear to know the rules.
    H was yellow carded for his part, so can’t be charged as he has been already punished.
    Bamford could have been charged with grabbing H round the neck & wrestling him to the ground violently, but he wasn’t.
    Hope they sink back to where they came from.

  56. IanG, it’s clear that Bielsa will do anything ‘legal’ to gain an advantage. After the Derby ‘spygate’ ruckus he said
    “It’s not unlawful, it’s not illegal. We’ve been doing it publicly and we talk about it in the press. For some people it’s the wrong thing to do, and for others it’s not.”

    For him, it’s not a matter of sportsmanship, it’s all about winning.
    I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if they’d discussed or even practised the move against us where they clearly pretended to be kicking the ball out and then played on. It would absolutely fit the mentality of the man. The players take their lead from the top and Bamford’s behaviour fits a similar ‘win at all costs’ mentality.

    We were lucky that the ‘playing on cheat’ happened in a ‘game to nothing’ because I don’t believe he’d have given the goal back in a game that mattered.
    Bielsa and the Leeds fans know that they were in the wrong and are now trying to whip up some ‘righteous indignation’ about Hourihane to deflect from their own cheating.

  57. r0bb0,

    Yeah, I find equal parts amazing and completely predictable the story has had such legs as far as Hourihane, etc. But I guess with a brawl, the deception, investigations and bans, the spectacle of the conceded equalizer. What can you expect. All aided in no small part by the deflection and ‘outrage’ on the part of Leeds’ supporters and media wanting the clicks.

    A natural reaction in the end for many, but still disappointing and you know it’s going to play a part in the psychology leading up to the game if we end up playing them.

    It’s a good point you raise that had the game really mattered, you wouldn’t expect Bielsa to have made the sporting gesture. I’m sure Villa will learn from it, and just keep playing to the whistle. Nice to be sporting, and the whole situation looked like it would just be a normal ball into touch, but you can’t take anything for granted, and I hope the side use is as fuel.

  58. r0bb0
    There’s winning & there’s winning, & of course it is always qualified by the circumstances, c’est normal.

    I think Jc needs to remember that Bielsa is Argentinian, so to be calculating is normal, & equating his actions with what he can get away with in the cauldron of the public opinion is what he has to do there, or he might be shot if he gets it wrong.
    So calculating is normal so it seems, & only different in degree to episodes like Gibson & Pulis.

    I agree that the clubs & teams reflect their managers & owners, but this kind of episode is a reflection of what’s going on in this country & the rest of the world.
    What happens in sport is often a reflection of the state of everything, but Leeds has led the way for years on skullduggery, so for them to be bite themselves is comical.

    As Smith has intimated, we need not get carried away or swept along by such things, just focus on what we are doing.
    The actual spark was the pretence of putting the ball out to gain advantage.
    Very Argentinian!

  59. Villalore
    Just watched the match, Cardiff were unlucky again.
    It balances out the luck that blagged them promotion.
    Bacuna looked suitably sick.

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