Leeds v Aston Villa: Visitors to grind out the win

Leeds and Aston Villa shared a six-goal thriller when they met last month, but plenty has changed since then and Paul Robinson thinks the reverse fixture on Thursday will be a low-scoring affair.

Early promise for Marsch

Leeds may have lost at Leicester on Saturday, but they looked much more solid, in their first game under Jesse Marsch.

Marsch had his players adopt his usual hard-pressing, direct football, and they produced a lively display at the King Power. The main issue was their finishing, with Jack Harrison and Raphina just two of the players who missed good chances.

Kalvin Phillips has been one of the big misses for Leeds this season, and while he is nearing a return to fitness, the feeling is that he will unlikely be able to start on Thursday. Another long-term absentee for the Yorkshire club has been Patrick Bamford, and while he is set to get some minutes against Villa, it will almost certainly be from the bench.

Gerrard has Villa firing again

Aston Villa had been on a bit of a poor run, but back to back Premier League victories has got them right back on track, with Philippe Coutinho putting in a sizzling display in their 4-0 win over Southampton at the weekend.

Steven Gerrard would have course been delighted with the four goals, but a second clean sheet in as many games was probably his real highlight, especially given some of the defending in the matches prior.

The Villans are in 11th place, with a top eight finish being their realistic aim this term. As for the team news, Ezri Konsa and Lucas Digne missed out against the Saints due to covid issues, but given the performance, it's possible that Gerrard will keep an unchanged XI and save the pair of them for their quick follow-up outing on Sunday.

Villa to make it three in a row

The visitors are the marginal favourites for this clash, and I do have to agree with that. As mentioned, Leeds were much better against the Foxes, but they are on a losing run of five, and it's hard to just suddenly turn things around.

It becomes even harder when you are up against an in-form side, and that is what Villa are. They completely outplayed Southampton at the weekend, and the Saints headed to the Midlands on a seven match unbeaten run.

Based on that, the 2.64 for the away win is much more appealing than the 2.84 on offer for a Leeds victory. The draw is trading at around the 3.65 mark on the Betfair Exchange, and that was the result when they met at Villa Park last month. That was a crazy game though, and Villa did kind of throw it away.

Take the outsider when it comes to goals

It's usually goals, goals, goals with Leeds, and Over 2.5 is again the favourite for Thursday, with it being available to back at 1.78 on the Exchange. Under 2.5 is 2.26.

This is one to take on the stats though, as Leeds just aren't going to concede as many goals under Marsch, and with Bamford still not 100%, they aren't going to be scoring freely at the other end.

Despite their four goals last time, Gerrard will always put the emphasis on keeping clean sheets, and he would be much happier with a 1-0 win than a 4-3 one.

Bet Builder

My Bet Builder for this game is a Villa win, Coutinho to score and Over 9.5 Corners. It comes in at just shy of 13/2 on the Sportsbook and should give us a good run for our money.

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