Aston Villa – Leeds produced an entertaining back-and-forth link to kick off week six of the 2020-21 Premier League season on Friday
Villa’s 100% record is gone, thanks to a hat trick from Patrick Bamford – three goals scored in 19 minutes in the second half – to make up for a totally forgettable performance from the Leeds United striker in the first period
1 Villa’s defensive record due to a bit of regression: In four games, Villa had conceded just two goals – each for their 7-2 destruction of defending champion Liverpool Apart from that day, three Clean sheets mean Dean Smith’s side have conceded four fewer goals than any other PL team.However, as measured by expected goals (xG), Villa entered as a mid-table player in terms of xG on Friday against (xGA), ranking ahead of teams like Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton, but behind Brighton & Hove Albion (best in PL), Southampton and Burnley The point being: they have been on the lucky side of some of the scoring chances that their opponents had against them, and things will eventually work out due to the regression The odds Leeds created – even when they failed to put them away early – was another indicator that Aston Villa isn’t quite the heavyweight that their 100% start said they were.
2 Leeds hard to beat over 90 minutes: at the end of the season Leeds will have gained 8-10 extra points by finishing matches as strong and aggressively as they started Marcelo Bielsa’s team are relentless and always seeks to create situations of pressure for their opponents This is true of most teams, but the vast majority cannot maintain this level for 90 minutes, but it is very clearly an identity quality of this Leeds side During 55 minutes, Villa held on and did just enough to stay level with a chance of taking anything from this game, only for Leeds to ramp up the intensity even more as the game progressed
Bamford had, and missed, the game’s first golden chance of the game after four minutes Ezgjan Alioski delivered a perfect cross into the box, finding Bamford with no defender in sight, but Bamford couldn’t direct the ball on the target and put it right next to it
Luke Ayling desperately cleared the goal line in the 27th minute as he started the ball with barely half the ball to lose Jack Grealish picked the far post and beat Illan Meslier with his kick left, but Ayling was hiding as the last line of defense to save the day
Leeds cut through the Villa with a devastating 44th minute counterattack, but Bamford lost another dangerous cross in the end Leeds started the movement, back in their own half, finding Harrison on the left flank and acres of space to go Jack Harrison beat his man in the final third and played the perfect ball in Bamford near the penalty spot, but he put his shot terribly off the post
Grealish was denied a career-defining goal shortly after the second half, as the Villa-born and bred star beat not one, not two, not three, but four defenders , in the six-yard box, to be refused by Meslier after finally pulling the trigger Grealish received the ball in his half of the field, on the left flank, dribbled a defender in the penalty area and cut a fort right near the top of the box, dodged three more defenders and chose his opening to shoot maybe too tight from an angle
Seconds later Bamford started to make amends and put Leeds 1-0 ahead of Harrison played Rodrigo Moreno into the box, where he fired a slightly deflected shot at the target It was the deflection that took manhandled Emiliano Martinez and Ezri Konsa as they rushed into the action, giving Bamford the half-step advantage he needed to reach the ball first and slam it home
11 minutes later Bamford made it 2-0 with a stunning strike from the top corner Bamford had options to his left and right but chose to go on goal in the middle of a crowd of bodies The result was Martinez helplessly searching for answers, and Villa quickly collapsed to Earth
Bamford only needed seven more minutes to complete his hat trick, and he did it spectacularly With three defenders suffocating him from all sides, Bamford came free to create a half a yard of space and position their body for another finish with the left foot at a difficult angle In terms of the use – and creation – of space, the Bamford movement was a master class
Leeds United, Aston Villa FC, Premier League, Marcelo Bielsa, EFL Championship, Kalvin Phillips
World news – USA – Bamford hat trick lifts Leeds and puts end at the perfect start of Aston Villa
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