That was amazing. What a comeback. Top at Christmas. The best present we could have asked for.
Leeds United scored three goals in a tremendous second half to overturn Aston Villa’s 2-0 halftime lead. A first senior goal for Jack Clarke, was followed up by a Pontus Jansson header and a 95th minute winner from Kemar Roofe to send the Leeds fans into raptures.
Goals from England international Tammy Abraham and Ireland international Conor Hourihane put Dean Smith’s side in front. Making the most of some uncertainty in the Leeds line-up following Barry Douglas’ withdrawal through illness five minutes before kick-off. 18-year-old Leif Davis getting his first taste of the Leeds first team in his place.
KICK OFF: We're underway at Villa Park! A last-minute change as Leif Davis makes his debut for #LUFC, replacing Barry Douglas— Leeds United (@LUFC) December 23, 2018
After that first 20 minutes, Leeds found their stride and could have got on the scoresheet. Jansson headed wide but there was a pretty strong shout for a foul on him and Mateusz Klich had a good chance but his left-foot finish was weak. Pablo Hernandez went close with a free-kick and Ezgjan Alioski cut inside and struck one just wide.
At half-time Marcelo Bielsa took off Jack Harrison (who had a poor day) and brought on Jack Clarke, and it was his goal that cut the deficit in half. He got one-on-one with Egypt’s Ahmed Elmohamady and beat him on the inside before striking the ball into the far corner.
What an impact! What a goal! Jack Clarke glides into the Villa box before curling into the far corner! pic.twitter.com/WoUQB3pBVe— Leeds United (@LUFC) December 23, 2018
Five minutes later, a Pablo Hernandez corner was powered home by Pontus Jansson with a great header and Leeds were on terms. Leeds had a much better penalty shout soon after when Glenn Whelan blocked Kemar Roofe’s goalbound header with an outstretched arm.
Both teams were going for the win and both sides had some chances but in the final minute, Alioski cut inside a crossed to the far post, Elmohamady headed the ball out but only as far Kemar Roofe who struck it sweetly into the bottom right corner.
Bailey Peacock-Farrell - Not his best day overall. A bit of a let off early on when Jonathan Kodjia got in behind Davis and BPF would have been caught in no-man’s land outside his area had Davis not got back well. No chance with the first goal but on the second goal he seemed to start a little too far to the right of his goal and was beaten by a strike that wasn’t right in the corner of the goal. Made a tremendous reaction save in the second half to stop what would’ve been an own goal by Adam Forshaw. 5/10
BPF positioning all wrong for second goal, should be predicting it and moving his feet 2 more yards right at least.— David Sinclair (@DavePenis) December 23, 2018
It’s the price you pay for introducing a young goalie at this level.
He will be a top keeper one day so well worth it.
Luke Ayling - Not at his all action best but we shouldn’t expect that in his first match back from injury. Didn’t get forward as much as you would like to see and didn’t need to make any tackles as Villa attacked down the Leeds left for the most part. Kept Yannick Bolasie quiet which is no easy task (apart from one time where he got completely done by a very good piece of skill). Moved to left-back for the final 15 minutes and did a good job on that side as well. 7/10
Pontus Jansson - Colossal. He has been in great form the last month and this is probably the pick of the bunch. Won everything in the air yet again. A couple of good tackles. Brought the ball out from defence and passed the ball well while helping his less experienced centre-back partner and 18-year-old Leif Davis through the match. Topped it off with a towering header to get Leeds back to 2-2. Brilliant performance and takes the Man of the Match award again. 9/10
Pontus Jansson vs. Aston Villa:— LUFCDATA (@LUFCDATA) December 23, 2018
79% pass accuracy
44/56 successful passes
10 headers (most)
7 ball recoveries
5 clearances (most for Leeds)
4 interceptions (joint-most)
3 tackles won
3 blocked shots (most)
1 goal ⚽
BEAST MODE PONTUS. pic.twitter.com/eO6tlxScAU
Kalvin Phillips - Doesn’t look a natural in the centre-back role but looks comfortable enough at this point. Had a solid game, passed the ball well and won his share of headers and tackles. Maybe could have been more forceful in his missed tackle before the second goal. We miss him at the base of midfield when he plays this role but he did well. 7/10
Leif Davis - Has been on the bench a few times following some impressive u23 displays. Thrown in at the deep-end after Barry Douglas was withdrawn in the warm-up due to illness. Took 15mins to get going as he showed a few understandable nerves. Got caught wrong side of Kodjia early on but chased back well. After the first 15mins you could have been forgiven for mistaking him for a more experienced player. Aston Villa have very good wingers and he coped admirably against them. He also got forward on a few occasions but he couldn’t quite get his crosses right. Another young player stepping up when required. 7/10
18-year-old Leif Davis made NINE ball recoveries on his senior Leeds debut, more than any other player on the pitch.— LUFCDATA (@LUFCDATA) December 23, 2018
Should be very proud of his display. Quite remarkable in such a big game. #LUFC pic.twitter.com/02asMTlNke
Adam Forshaw - An error-strewn performance for an hour, much better in the final 30 minutes. Completely left John McGinn as he broke into the penalty area for Aston Villa’s 1st goal, and was beaten twice too easily in the build up to the second goal. Missed too many simple passes in the game. Once the momentum shifted towards Leeds he did improve and he did make a few good tackles having missed some early on. 6/10
Forshaw..... the number of defensive errors on his part today.... he needs to eliminate those pronto #LUFC— Joakim S (@jsjogre) December 23, 2018
Ezgjan Alioski - A much better performance. Looks a bit more confident on the right side. Cut inside for a few good efforts on goal. Showed a lot of good energy to get up and down the pitch. A day when his work rate really made a difference to Leeds’ performance overall. Should have got an assist for the very good pass that played Klich through on goal as he should have scored. His cross for the winning goal although the poor header lead to the chance more than the cross itself. 7/10
Agree with consensus that today saw the best version of Alioski. Pontus was excellent too. There's no question Jack Clarke was man of the match though. #lufc— The Scratching Shed (@TSSLUFC) December 23, 2018
Mateusz Klich - Got to play from a bit deeper, which I feel helps him with finding space to run into. Had a really good chance that he should have scored in the first half. Got in between the centre-backs and full backs on a couple of occasions but couldn’t find the cross. These were about the only time he gave the ball away as he was very tidy in possession all over the pitch. Got caught offside in a couple of promising positions. He may feel today was a little bit of a missed opportunity in some ways but it was a good performance in the role I think suits him best. 7/10
Pablo Hernandez - Played in a number 10 role from the start. Some nice touches in the first half but not able to quite find his range. Got the assist for the first two goals, the one for Clarke’s goal was an excellent turn and then a good pass out to the left, although Clarke still had a lot to do. His corner for Jansson’s goal was a terrific delivery. Seems to get at least one goal or assist every game lately. Another really good performance. 8/10
Pablo Hernandez vs. Aston Villa:— LUFCDATA (@LUFCDATA) December 23, 2018
83 touches (2nd-most)
77% pass accuracy
47/61 successful passes
22/29 successful final third passes (most)
4 chances created
4 ball recoveries
3 shots (joint-most)
3 tackles won (2nd-most)
Just the 2 assists today. pic.twitter.com/H3FLa1wLED
Jack Harrison - The biggest disappointment of the day from a Leeds perspective. Had produced some good performances in the u23s of late and was given the chance to impress, he unfortunately didn’t take that chance. Only major contribution was giving the ball away in very poor fashion just before Villa’s second goal. Deserved to subbed at Half-Time and was. 4/10
Jack Harrison's done himself no favours today. Costly mistake and made just 14 touches. Hooked at half-time for Clarke. #LUFC— LUFCDATA (@LUFCDATA) December 23, 2018
Kemar Roofe - Leeds were more likely to need something from him with the news that Patrick Bamford pulled out of training yesterday with an injury. Lead the line well all game without getting too many chances. Had a goal-bound header blocked by Glenn Whelan’s arm which should have been a penalty. Won the game with a fantastic left-foot strike to a bouncing ball, a great goal in the final minute, a real touch of class. 8/10
Jack Clarke (for Harrison, HT) - Came on and made a massive difference. The entirety of Leeds’ twitter following were calling for him to be introduced for Harrison and that is exactly what the manager did. Got Leeds first goal with direct running, beating Elmohamady and striking a great finish into the far corner. The way he ran at players was something the Villa side could not deal with and, as before, the calls to start him will only get louder and louder. 8/10
Jamie Shackleton (for Davis, 78mins) - Came on at right-back, defended well and kept possession well when he had it. Didn’t get enough time to put in a high score. 6/10