Aston Villa welcome Leeds United to Villa Park on Sunday lunchtime for a heavyweight Championship clash. The home side are unbeaten in seven games, and will be looking to deal some damage to one of their rivals for promotion, as well as take three valuable league points for themselves. Villa lost their first three games under the management of Dean Smith, but have turned that form round recently, and will feel confident that they can win this game.
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds side are in imperious form, though, and sit at the top of the Championship table, on the back of a run of five consecutive league victories. Leeds started the season playing sweeping, passing football, but have shown in recent weeks that they know how to graft and fight for results too, in the best traditions of the Yorkshire club. We should be in for a cracking game.
Aston Villa vs Leeds United Prediction: Villa 2-2 Leeds
Our prediction for this game is that it will end in a score draw, and provide plenty of entertainment and excitement for the fans in the ground as well as the Sky Sports TV viewers. We suspect that the game will swing back and forth between the teams, with the lead changing hands on more than one occasion. Both of these teams know how to score goals, and how to fight back if things get tough. We think that 2-2 looks a good bet when it comes to predicting what the final scoreline will look like.
Our recommended tip: Draw, both score
Our featured tip for this game comes from Betway, who are offering a price of 3/1 on the game being a draw, with both teams scoring. This matches our prediction for how the game will turn out, which is that it will end 2-2, with the odds also offering some good value for punters. This bet allows you to back our prediction, but also gives you some flexibility if the scoreline should turn out to be different. We expect this to be a hard-fought game with plenty of incident to keep the fans entertained.
Since Villa were relegated from the Premier League in 2016, these two sides have met four times. Out of those meetings, Villa have won once, Leeds have won once and there have been two draws. Last season, the first game, at Elland Road in December 2017, ended in a 1-1 draw. Pontus Jansson opened the scoring for Leeds, before Henri Lansbury equalised for Villa in the second half. The second game, at Villa Park in April 2018, was won 1-0 by Villa, with Lewis Grabban scoring the game’s only goal.
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Players to watch: Alan Hutton & Pablo Hernandez
Former Scotland international right back Alan Hutton has been regarded as figure of ridicule in his homeland for a while, after some less than impressive performances for the national side. At Villa, though, it is a different story, with the former Rangers man branded the ‘Scottish Cafu’ by Villa fans. He won Championship Goal of the Season for November, so offers threat in attack as well as strength in defence.
Spanish midfielder Pablo Hernandez has become a key player for Leeds during the reign of Marcelo Bielsa. The former Swansea City player offers creativity and leadership in the centre of the park, and has also weighed in with seven goals in his 15 league appearances. He will be 34 years old before the end of the season, but shows no signs of slowing. Villa will need to keep the Spaniard quiet if they want to have a chance of sending Leeds back to Yorkshire defeated.