With Sheffield United’s win yesterday, Leeds United were out of the race for the direct promotion spot. Aston Villa are guaranteed a place in the playoffs, so the game against the two heavyweight clubs was almost inconsequential. However, one only needed to watch this game to see how keen both the sides were on a win.
Leeds United created quite a few half chances, but Villa went in level at half time. The flashpoint of the game came in the second half as Mateusz Klich opened the scoring in a controversial fashion. Villa had thought that the Whites would put the ball out of play so that Kodjia could receive treatment. But Tyler Roberts passed it to Klich who went on to score. A bust-up followed between the players soon after and Ahmed El Ghazi was shown the red.
Bielsa decided to hand back the goal to Villa as Leeds goal had stood. However, Pontus Jansson created a bit of a ruckus but his teammates talked him down, and Jonathan Kodjia scored the equaliser uncontested. The game was marred by some poor refereeing and nasty challenges. One will love to see this clash once again in the playoff finals if you are a neutral.
Kiko Casilla 6.5
Saved a glancing header from John McGinn which could have gone in. Made some regulations saves and did his job in goal.
Luke Ayling 6.5
Defensively he was found out of position on occasions in the second half. On the attacking front, provided a lot of attacking outlet down the right.
Pontus Jansson 7
Bielsa would be glad to see his big Swede defender coming back to form. Had an answer to almost everything that was thrown at him by Kodjia. Even tried to defend the goal when it was clear that Bielsa wanted Villa to have a goal back.
Liam Cooper 8
Deserves some extra points for acting as a peacemaker in between a melee. Defensively he was solid and just like his partner, nothing went past him apart from the goal.
Stuart Dallas 6.5
Did a decent job as the left back but was substituted at half time.
Kalvin Phillips 8
Had a clear job of keeping Jack Grealish quiet. Was often strong and robust in his challenges. Made some interceptions and put in some crucial tackles. Proper performance from the defensive midfielder.
Pablo Hernandez 7
Looked influential and was full of energy. Hernandez’s form would be crucial if Leeds United are to win the playoffs and he did show some promising signs today as he often played through the middle.
Adam Forshaw 5
Missed quite a few opportunities from the edge of the box. Was a hesitant performance as he wasn’t able to affect play much with the ball at his feet.
Mateusz Klich 7
Scored the controversial goal with a smart finish. However, question marks would be raised over him. Apart from that, he did have a positive impact on the game as he was effective in the final third on occasions. Looked focused and energised.
Jack Harrison 4.5
Didn’t provide much from the wide regions. Was substituted at half time.
Patrick Bamford 6
Could have seen a red card on another day in the melee which ensued on the pitch. Football wise he was often left isolated up the pitch. Did work his socks off as he tried to make things happen.
Tyler Roberts 7.5
Played from the wide region and managed to influence the game after half time. Definitely makes a case of starting ahead of Harrison down the left.
Gaetano Berardi 5
Struggled to cope with Adomah on occasions. Is a more defensive minded fullback and wasn’t able to provide much on the attacking front.