We have a Championship classic on Saturday when Leeds United will take on Aston Villa at Elland Road. Villa are in the Championship this season following their relegation from the Premier League last campaign and were touted to get an immediate promotion back to the Premier League before even the season started. However, their start was a big letdown under Roberto Di Matteo but a managerial change has changed their fortunes totally. Since the appointment of Steve Bruce, the Midlands club are unbeaten in seven Championship game and now are just six points off the final playoff spot.
Leeds also saw a managerial change in the summer as Garry Monk came to the helm at Elland Road. The former Swansea boss did not deliver instant success but after a tough start, Leeds are on a roll right now and are fifth in the table and it looks like, after many years, they have a decent chance of earning promotion. This could be a really crucial game for both sides and for their promotion hopes.
Here are three key battles those could decide the game.
Chris Wood Vs James Chester
Chris Wood has been in a scintillating form in front of the goal this season. The Kiwi international is the joint fourth top scorer in Championship this season with nine goals. He has been almost ever-present for the Whites throughout this season and his consistent form up front is one of the key reasons behind Leeds doing so well.
Wood is a menace in the air and has won 3.9 aerial duels every game this season. Aston Villa need to ensure that they can deal with the Kiwi’s aerial prowess and will look forward to James Chester for that.
Chester’s frame is much smaller to that of Wood but he has won an impressive 3.1 aerial balls every game this season and he is a brilliant organiser of the back four. The battle between the two might decide the game.
Kalvin Phillips Vs Mile Jedinak
Phillips was pretty much an unknown player before this season whose first team chances had been limited. But, Monk has shown his faith in the 20-year-old Elland Road youth graduate and he has not let his boss down. The youngster has played 20 games in all competitions for Leeds this season and has impressed with his all-round and determined displays. However, he will be up against an experienced player like Jedinak on Saturday who has plenty of experience at the top level.
The battle of midfield will have a big effect on the game and Villa fans will fancy their chances due to having an experienced midfield enforcer like Jedinak in the team.
Jonathan Kodija Vs Kyle Bartley
Kodija has impressed big time for Aston Villa of late having scored six goals in the last eight games. The Ivorian will be the biggest threat to Leeds defence on Saturday but the way Leeds have performed defensively this campaign, the fans should not be too concerned.
Swansea City loanee Kyle Bartley and Pontus Jansson have created a strong partnership in defence and not many teams could find their way past it. We have to wait and see if Kodija and co. can do that or not.
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