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Aston Villa v Leeds United: Match Preview & How to Watch the match at Villa Park

This might get ugly

Aston Villa v Cardiff City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Match: Aston Villa v Leeds United

Date: 13 April 2018

Time: 19.45 BST, 2.45 PM EDT

Venue: Villa Park, Birmingham

Television: Sky Sports, beIN Sports 2 Australia, beIN Sports 2 New Zealand, & beIN Sports HD 2 throughout much of the Middle East.

Radio: BBC Radio Leeds (not available online)

Streaming: ESPN Plus in the United States, DAZN Canada, beIN Sports Connect in both Australia and New Zealand, and LUTV in certain locations. Check Livesoccertv for more information.

All-time Record: Leeds United v Aston Villa 30W 29D 38L

Reverse Fixture: Leeds United 1 - 1 Aston Villa

Oh how a few months can change everything.

Leeds last met Aston Villa on 1 December, back when Leeds were in the playoff hunt and Aston Villa was looking to claw their way into playoff consideration. Now, however, Leeds are sitting in 14th place after about a dire a run of form as you will ever see from a football club, while Villa are in 4th place in the table and have a very slim chance of catching Fulham for the final automatic promotion spot after beating Cardiff City and Neil Warnock this week.

Aston Villa’s 1-0 win over Cardiff put them on 76 points, five points behind Fulham for the second spot in the table. The win also knocked Cardiff out of the automatic playoff spots for the first time in weeks. Villa will be looking to continue their run to the playoffs, as they are eight points ahead of both Derby County and Millwall who are in 5th and 6th place respectively.

On the other hand, Leeds will be hoping against hope that a miracle will occur at Villa Park and that this band of misfits will somehow pull a shock result out of nowhere. Of course, the likelihood of that happening is rather slim, but hey, hope spring eternal and all that, right?

Paul Heckingbottom apparently decided to “rotate” his lineup against Preston and threw out an interesting lineup for the first half. No Gjanni Alioski or Samu Saiz, but a league start for Jay-Roy Grot and Kemar Roofe. In the first half, it looked like starting Roofe was a stroke of genius, as he combined with Kalvin Phillips to score a goal in the first half and Leeds went into half-time up 1-0. Woo!

And then the second half happened and whatever plans Heckingbottom had were cut to shreds as the defence crumbled and Leeds were reduced to running around aimlessly as Preston put pressure on them. Three goals were surrendered and Pontus Jansson was lost, meaning that young Hugo Diaz, who made his league debut against Preston, will likely lineup alongside Paudie O’Connor in central defence toight.

All of his seems very unfitting of a team that should be challenging for a playoff spot, not thanking their lucky stars that enough points were won in the first half of the season to avoid relegation. Leeds should be performing better than this, but they’re not, and so it goes.

Up front, who will start? Who knows. Kemar Roofe was great in the first half against Preston, and I think that Heckingbottom will try him up top again. It seems that Heckingbottom plays with one striker when Samu Saiz is in the lineup, so if Saiz starts, Roofe might be the lone striker. If he doesnt’ start, expect Caleb Ekuban or Pierre-Michel Lasogga to start up front.

On the wings, Gjanni Alioski and Pablo Hernandez should start, but at this point, who knows. Stuart Dallas will likely be played at right back due to the lack of options, meaning that unless Grot or (lol) Hadi Sacko are recalled, Hernandez and Alioski will play on the wing.

In central midfield, Kalvin Phillips, complete with new haircut, will partner with Ronaldo Vieira. And while neither were terrible against Preston, neither were very good, but hey, that’s it in the midfield with both Eunan O’Kane and Adam Forshaw out.

As I said before, it looks like Hugo Diaz is going to be the young player who will get a chance to get a trial by fire starting alongside Paudie O’Connor in central defence. Starting a pair of U23 players at this point in the season is less than ideal. If only this could have been foreseen when Conor Shaughessy was injured.. oh wait, he was injured before the end of the January transfer window? Well, not even bothering to bring in someone on loan is just daft then, huh?

The fullbacks should be Tom Pearce and someone else. The fullbacks will almost certainly be Vurnon Anita and Dallas. Toast will be going up against Robert Snodgrass, so I’m sure that will work out great. Pearce should get the start, there is no use sheltering the young fullback at this point with the season already in the bin.

Bailey Peacock-Farrell has been a pleasant surprise for the team. Let’s hope he’s not abused too much by the Villa strikers.

Predicted Score:

Villa should run riot over this collection of U23s and jaded, tired veterans. Aston Villa have everything to play for and Leeds have nothing to play for. Whatever. 3-0 Villa.

Predicted Lineups:

Leeds United (4-2-3-1): Peacock-Farrell; Dallas, Diaz, O’Connor, Anita; Vieira, Phillips; Alioski, Saiz, Hernandez; Roofe

Aston Villa (4-2-3-1): Johnstone; Taylor, Chester, Jedinak, Elmohamady; Whelan, Hourihane; Adomah, Grealish, Snodgrass; Hogan