Date: 28 April 2019
Time: 12.00 BST, 7.00 EDT, 9.00 ART
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds, England
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All-time Record: Leeds v Aston Villa: 31W 29D 39L
Reverse Fixture: 23 December 2018: Aston Villa 2-3 Leeds
Play-offs, then.— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) April 27, 2019
Not that the issue was really ever in doubt, but Leeds will have to go through the playoffs this season in order to try and achieve promotion to the Premier League. With West Bromwich Albion sitting only two points behind Leeds in fourth place, it is still important for Leeds to remain in third place. So who will Leeds play today? Oh, only the hottest team in all four divisions of English Football, Aston Villa, who seems to have put everything together and get their team clicking at exactly the right time.
Dean Smith, who had taken over for Steve Bruce at Villa, has this team playing near what the expectations are for this club after a few years down in the Championship with a significant amount of investment put into the club’s transfer fees and wages. Bruce, who has since moved onto Sheffield Wednesday, could never get the most out of the squad that was given to him, so it will be a very, very difficult test for Leeds today.
Aston Villa was the victim of one of this year’s best comebacks by Leeds, as Kemar Roofe’s stoppage time winner sealed Leeds being top of the league at Christmas, usually a good sign. Of course this would be the year that the team that was top of the league at Christmas would fail to achieve automatic promotion, but here we are.
This match against Villa will almost certainly be a preview of either the playoff final at Wembley or a first-round match-up, as Villa are the hottest team in the league and Leeds will be forced to go through them, one way or another, to get to the prize.
Stuart Dallas is playing at left back and Kemar Roofe is out with injury, so Leeds are limping into this match, but it isn’t in Marcelo Bielsa’s DNA to sit back and grind out a 0-0 draw, so still expect to see Leeds try and go out and win the match, even with a depleted side. Leeds have no right to win this match and Villa have everything going for them, so it will be very interesting to see what happens. This will either be brilliant or terrible, and there is very little chance it won’t be either one.