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Pre-match Report: Aston Villa v Leeds United

Aston Villa will hope to get another win under the lights as they take on Leeds United at Villa Park. After Jack Grealish sent the Holte End into raptures this past week against Cardiff City, Aston Villa will hope finding the net becomes a mainstay in Grealish’s game. While Villa have quite a few injury woes, Leeds definitely has the shorter end of the stick when dealing with injuries.

Leeds United defender Pontus Jansson finds himself sidelined for the Villa game with a head injury that has reportedly giving the towering Swedish defender blurred vision. Jansson has been a main cog in the machine at Leeds for quite some time and this campaign is no different. Jansson has featured on 40 occasions for the Whites this season.

Leeds manager Paul Heckingbottom is already missing other key defensive players in Conor Shaughnessy, Liam Cooper, Laurens De Bock, and Luke Ayling. If that wasn’t enough for Heckingbottom to go bald over, he also has a few midfielders out with knocks. Adam Forshaw and Eunan O’Kane are also not available for selection, putting Leeds in a somewhat of a cautious position. Gaetano Beradi is also serving a suspension after being sent off against Sunderland for a lunging two-footed tackle.

The impact and number of injuries to Leeds makes it seem like Aston Villa aren’t in too bad of shape in that department. Alan Hutton, John Terry and Axel Tuanzebe are going to miss this game against the Whites, according to Villa manager Steve Bruce. The absence of Terry and Tuanzebe may point towards Mile Jedinak getting a second consecutive start at the centre-back position. Jedinak seemed very calm at the back against Cardiff and found himself winning a number of header opportunities in his own half.

Leeds currently sit 14th on the Championship table, with only one win from their previous six matches. Being a mid table side lead many pundits to believe that Leeds players are already “on the beach” because the squad have generally nothing to play for. If this is the case and it is obvious from the kickoff, Aston Villa need to make sure to pounce on the opportunity to edge closer to Cardiff City. Cardiff currently sit 4 points clear of Villa with 80 points. If Cardiff and 2nd place Fulham start to slip, Villa could potentially gain ground towards the 2nd place automatic promotion spot. While it is a big “if”, Villa would be clever to gain as much momentum as possible to close out the season.

Words by Mark Jirobe (@VillaMarkPGH) // Follow us on Twitter (@claretandview)

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