Aston Villa rues waste in scoreless draw at 10-man Leeds
Leeds vs Aston Villa was a cagey affair that felt destined for its scoreless outcome even after Luis Sinisterra was sent off early in the second half at Elland Road.
Suspended manager Jesse Marsch watched from the stands as Sinisterra, on a yellow card, stuck his leg out to block a restart and was shown a second yellow.
Leeds defended well down a man and Aston Villa continued to struggle on the heels of a first half that contained several missed chances.
Leeds gets its ninth point through seven matches, while Villa’s a point behind with one more match played in its season.
[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]
What we learned from Leeds vs Aston Villa
Villa a mess in the final third: Wow. To watch Aston Villa is to see a team in control of the midfield -- Douglas Luiz was sublime on Sunday -- but there are too many individuals in the final third. Philippe Coutinho was lively but if has to score if the attack is going to be all about him. The same can be said about Emiliano Buendia, while Ollie Watkins and (then) Danny Ings aren’t getting much service. Villa’s xG going into the game was the second-worst in the Premier League and they are still underperforming it.
Leeds will take something from this: Tyler Adams, Robin Koch, and the exceptional Illan Meslier held down the fort for nearly a full half with 10 men. By the 70th minute it was clear this was going to be all about an away point unless the counterattack could help Leeds to a goal. And there was a chance for that, but there’s no reason to be frustrated by the point (although Brenden Aaronson should’ve had a penalty when his ankle was kicked while taking a shot. The strength of what he did manage likely led to the VAR inaction, incorrectly).
The red card, as it tends to do, changed the game completely and Leeds was hanging on for the final whistle. Marsch, from his seat in the stands, sanctioned the removal of Rodrigo, Jack Harrison, and eventually Brenden Aaronson to join the ejected Sinisterra. Villa controlled the midfield through a superb Douglas Luiz but could not find a way past a stellar Illan Meslier as Junior Firpo, Luke Ayling, and Mateusz Klich reinforced the defense at the back end.
Stars of the show
Leeds heads to Crystal Palace for a 9am ET Sunday kickoff, while Villa will take a trip to the City Ground for a Monday, Oct. 10 visit to Nottingham Forest.
How to watch Leeds vs Aston Villa live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 11:30 am ET, Sunday
TV channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & star players
As expected under Marsch, Leeds have taken a high-volume approach to their tactics — lots of pressing and challenges, lots of counter-attacking and lots of scoring chances created. Their 1.57 expected goals (per 90 minutes) ranks 7th in the Premier League. Leeds haven’t played a game (in any competition) since Sept. 3, one day shy of a month come Sunday, due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the ensuing fixture postponements. Leading goal-scorer Rodrigo remains out with a shoulder injury, but the Spaniard could be back in the next week or two.
Goal-scoring has been a major issue thus far for Aston Villa, who have scored multiple goals in a game just once this season. Six different players have scored a goal, but no one has scored two. Unsurprisingly, Steven Gerrard’s side sits 19th in the PL for xG (0.76 per 90).
Leeds team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Stuart Dallas (thigh), Adam Forshaw (ankle)
Aston Villa team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Diego Carlos (achilles), Lucas Digne (ankle), Boubacar Kamara (knee), Matty Cash (hamstring)