Match Preview: Villa vs Leeds – Two big clubs & a massive Xmas fixture.

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This fixture was for so many years a top flight regular that it’s easy to forget the recent history of both clubs and become sentimental.

“Easy to forget”…or ‘easily forgettable’? I’ll leave that to you to decide. 

The names of Yorke, Viduka, Collymore, Yeboah, Angel & Milner hark back to different times for each side.  The universe is a strange place; for every Peter Ridsdale, there is also apparently a Tony Xia.

For some, simple reminiscing stokes memories of a more pruposeful, ambitious era.  For others, these recollections are the very  epitome of waste, delusion and the makings of a roadmap to ruin.

Whilst the narrative might vary in its finer detail, it’s a common thread that Leeds and Villa, as big city clubs, have in modern times.

This is now our (Villa’s) third campaign in The Championship. It’s truly been an eye opener.

Leeds, by contrast have been outside the top flight for 13 years;  Tony Blair was Prime Minister…Eric Prydz was No. 1….

PREVIEW

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This is a game that’s been circled by many Villa fans for months. Its taken on increased importance with not only Leeds’ advances for automatic promotion, but Villa’s attempts to mount some form of a promotion challenge under Smith.

The frustration for us is that if we win, we merely keep pace for the playoffs.  This is the millstone we carry after a dismal run of results in the opening ten games under soon to be Sheffield Wednesday boss Steve Bruce.

We simply just have to park this for now and keep going.  Grinding the teams down around us is all we can try to do.

Leeds are arguably our sternest test. This is our ‘Wolves’ game of last season, but, should we win it, we mustn’t then allow our form to be as erratic as our recent history.

Leeds come to Villa Park in excellent shape, but wanting to cement a promotion spot behind the leagues silent assassins Norwich City. Their desire to do this may play to our advantage.

We are weakened by injury to Grealish, harbour a poor goalkeeper in Nyland and the enforced rotation of fullbacks due to injury to Neil Taylor.

We have enough going forward, but must be more clinical with it. Defensively there is cause for concern if only using our goals conceded as a barometer. Crucially, the midfield team selection will decide which way the needle swings come Sunday.

Any win keeps us in the hunt.

A draw would be a third successive, underlining that more work needs to be done.

Whilst a defeat would be sufficient to completely ruin Christmas dinner.

KEY FACTS

  • Leeds = 2nd (45 Points)
  • Villa = 11th (33 Points)
  • Leeds go top with a win.
  • Villa go 7th with a win.
  • Villa unbeaten in the last 5 games.
  • Villa Form: WDWDD
  • Leeds Form: WWWWW (Gulp)
  • Last time Villa won 1-0 (Lewis Grabban)
  • Abraham has 8 goals in his last 6 games.
  • Villa have lost just 1 in 11 at home.
  • Leeds have picked up more points away than any team.
  • Injury News Here

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