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Leeds United at Aston Villa: Three takeaways from “two dropped points” at Villa Park

No doubt many a Leeds United fan would have taken a point prior to kick off; but is a late equaliser grounds to feel aggrieved by not taking all three?

Aston Villa v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship
Neither Jordan Amavi nor Chris Wood found the net at Villa Park.
Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

It was the pick of this particular batch of Championship fixtures; two former top-flight sides who are often deemed heavyweights of the division.

Both Leeds United and Aston Villa played on Boxing Day, which arguably gives the other sides in and around the top-six a slightly advantageous extra day of rest.

Nevertheless, could Garry Monk's men continue the full speed ahead charge into 2017? Let's mull over three key elements from the Villa Park clash...

Talking point 1: Leeds left to rue golden opportunity

The opening half was arguably rather scrappy from both sides. After half-time however, it was like watching another match entirely.

Chances were all of a sudden opening up at both ends of the pitch. When Pontus Jansson met a Stuart Dallas corner in the 55th minute, the away end was sent into a frenzy for the fifth time this week.

While it was a long way to go until the final whistle, the belief was starting to grow that United could be finishing 2016 with four straight wins.

Leeds could have killed the game off a number of times, and while the majority of the opportunities were not clear-cut, you couldn't help but feel the Whites would end up being punished before Roger East drew things to a close.

Jansson was rather unlucky to not double Leeds' lead mere minutes after scoring with his header and couldn't have done much more with his volleyed effort.

Kalvin Phillips on the other hand, was rather wasteful with his chance to at least test Mark Bunn in the Villa goal. It was also another frustrating performance from Hadi Sacko, who again chose the wrong option when bearing down on goal.

Had Sacko looked up and over to his left, a pass was on for a simple ball to Chris Wood who would have had a simpler finish.

It was reminiscent of the return fixture at the beginning of the month, when Sacko went for goal instead of passing, only for Wood to be on hand to pick up the pieces.

In the dying embers, Sacko's composure let him down once again, as his delay allowed the covering centre-half to get a crucial block in and deflect his shot onto the bar.

It's these chances that Leeds must start taking to turn a frustrating point into two extras that were deserved.

Talking point 2: Leeds need cover in January

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. This squad is more than capable to attain at least a top-six finish, but reinforcements need to be brought in.

Liam Cooper is generally a reliable option that can be drafted in as and when he is needed, but the bond that Jansson has formed with Kyle Bartley is one that petrifies fans when it is absent.

On the release of the team sheet this evening, it was hard not to notice the slight edge of nervousness creeping in amongst fans - if social media is anything to go by.

The concession of the penalty was rather unfortunate on Cooper's part, but it was one that could have easily been avoided.

I strongly believe that a well-defined, experienced defender at this level will put lots more fans at ease should the formidable partnership that exists not be able to be deployed at any point.

That's no disrespect to Cooper, but tonight's incident will only spur on comments such as, "without Bartley AND Jansson at the back, we're not so convincing...". You know what I'm getting at.

Talking point 3: Leeds don't look like getting beaten

It's a crucial element of any side's credentials to challenge for a promotion or title; win your home games, aim for a point away from home.

Monk has managed to mould the minds of the players in recent weeks into a "we won't be beaten" sort of attitude - and increasingly so.

Many of the players in the Aston Villa side tonight were members of the squad last season when they played in the Premier League. Leeds dominated the second half this evening

And to be leaving the Midlands upset with a point speaks volumes.

That attitude of refusing to lie down and refusing to be intimidated is going to be a massively contributing factor to the second-half of this exciting and hugely positive season.

I don't know about you, but before kick-off, I didn't see us losing this one. In seasons past, I think collectively we would have been happy to have only been beaten 2- or 3-0.

The fact that we're now looking to collect at least a point from these sorts of games is a massive to boost to everyone involved with the club.

Minus the visit to St. James' Park at the end of April, and perhaps one or two trips to other top-six sides, there is nothing I see that Leeds should be fearing.

A couple more players, a bit more of a killer instinct and continued belief; add all that up and we're back where we belong. MOT.