Aston Villa battled hard to secure a 2-1 win over Leeds in the Premier League on Friday night to go level on points with Chelsea in the table ahead of the rest of the weekend’s matches.
Unai Emery’s side bounced back from the embarrassment of FA Cup defeat to Stevenage in their last outing, with Leon Bailey giving the hosts the lead after just three minutes, the chance the result of a strong run from impressive midfielder Boubacar Kamara.
The hosts were forced into two first half changes, with new signing Alex Moreno on for his debut only 10 minutes into the context. The Spaniard went on to make a vital goal-line clearance from Rodrigo. Emiliano Martinez was also at his very best, keeping Leeds winger Jack Harrison out with a stunning close-range stave in the closing stages of the first half.
Villa benefitted from VAR when they doubled the lead, with a flag initially ruling Emiliano Buendia offside when he turned in the rebound from Bailey’s shot. But the decision was overturned to allow what proved to be the crucial goal to stand.
Leeds actually created much more but were guilty of missing several big chances. They also had two penalty appeals waved away, as well as one from Rodrigo ruled out for offside.
In the end, Patrick Bamford’s first Premier League goal of the season a few minutes from the end wasn’t enough to prevent defeat.
Aston Villa player ratings (4-4-2)
GK: Martinez (8); RB: Young (8), CB: Konsa (8), CB: Mings (7), LB: Digne (N/A); RM: Bailey (8), CM: Luiz (7), CM: Kamara (8), LM: Ramsey (7); ST: Buendia (8), ST: Watkins (6)
Subs: Moreno (7), Ings (6), Sanson (N/A), Coutinho (N/A)
Leeds player ratings (4-2-3-1)
GK: Meslier (7); RB: Ayling (6), CB: Koch (6), CB: Cooper (6), LB: Struijk (6); CM: Roca (6), CM: Adams (7); RM: Harrison (7), AM: Aaronson (5), LM: Gnonto (6); ST: Rodrigo (6)
Subs: Wober (6), Bamford (7), Gelhardt (7), Greenwood (6), Firpo (N/A)