YEP Jury jinx strikes again as Leeds United fail to breach Aston Villa ‘brick wall’

The YEP Jury curse reared its ugly head once again this weekend as all six of our pundits predicted a Leeds United victory, only for Aston Villa to scrape a 1-0 victory at Elland Road on Saturday.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 8:03 am
NEAR MISS: Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez gathers the ball ahed of Patrick Bamford. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Here’s what our panel made of the match:

DAVID WATKINS


That was as disappointing as it comes, but with the jury all predicting we’d win….it was somewhat predictable! It happens every time!

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Marcelo Bielsa and Dean Smith embrace at full time. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

It was a shame we couldn’t take advantage of a weakened Villa side and, as so often it was pretty much down to us, not them.

We continue to get caught sleeping at the start of games and concede poor goals. Teams like Villa are then so difficult to break down as they will spend the rest of the game breaking up play, committing niggling little fouls that are mostly unseen and bringing you down to their level.

It was surprising we once again decided to play Pascal Struijk in front of the back four – which Bielsa appeared to have abandoned against Southampton.

But it wasn’t just that. We were not poor by any means but we didn’t create enough, didn’t make use of the possession and we didn’t make the most of having the best player on the pitch; Raphinha.

FLYING HIGH: Raphina leaps to avoid a challenge from Matt Targett. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

He looked as sharp as always but a combination of the stodgy pitch and a few team-mates being below par meant we couldn’t find the breakthrough.

Man of the match: Raphinha.

MATTHEW EVANS

When you are promoted after 16 years languishing in the lower leagues you expect to lose a fair few games in your first season back. For that reason, the whippings away at Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester United didn’t come as too much of a shock no matter how much they stung.

SETTLING IN: Leeds United's Diego Llorente. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

But there have been far too many of these disappointing games where we are very clearly the better side but succumb to a narrow defeat.

Aston Villa grabbed the early goal and looked adept in spoiling the next 85 minutes with time wasting, cynical fouls and all out defence.

For our part we were pretty hopeless at creating chances in the face of the Villa brick wall and are being held back every home game by an Elland Road surface that nobody seems to trust. We’re also missing key players in Koch, Phillips and Rodrigo and all of that meant we came up wanting in the end.

We weren’t atrocious but it was certainly one of our poorer displays of the season. My biggest positive was the quality of Diego Llorente who, after a bad spell of injuries, looks a great addition to the team.

Man of the match: Diego Llorente.

JACOB STARR

That was an hour and a half of my life that I’ll never be getting back, one that can be put down to a ‘bad day at the office’.

The much talked about Elland Road pitch helped Aston Villa out for the only goal of the game after only five minutes when Ollie Watkins slipped and miscued a shot straight to Anwar El Ghazi’s feet for an easy finish. Cheers Tottenham.

Other than a Tyler Roberts shot saved by Emiliano Martinez and a Raphinha header that went wide, we created hardly anything which is why I am putting it down to an off day.

Questions can be asked as to why Matt Targett remained on the pitch as I counted four separate yellow card offences, but hey ho.

Adequate service to Patrick Bamford was non-existent, Mateusz Klich ran round like a headless chicken, and Raphinha failed to replicate his creativity shown against Southampton. In a nutshell, we all could have switched it off after five minutes and done something more productive with our time, it was one of them.

Like the Wolves game, it’s a defeat that won’t allow us to lose much sleep and will mean little when looking at the bigger picture.

Man of the match: Stuart Dallas.

KEITH INGHAM

Well the curse of the YEP Jury strikes again! If I remember rightly all of the fans were extremely confident of a Leeds win.

It didn’t happen because the hosts didn’t deserve anything from a game in which Villa got their tactics spot on and Martinez probably won’t have an easier second half for the rest of the season.

Villa went ahead within six minutes, Watkins slipped crossing a ball into the penalty area but because Helder Costa got on the wrong side of El Ghazi the winger beat Meslier from just outside the six-yard box.

United had an excellent chance to equalise but Bamford slipped as he put across a ball to the far post and Raphinha couldn’t direct the ball goal wards. Martinez then denied Tyler Roberts with a smart save.

The defeat for me sums up the shortcomings of this current squad – minus Kalvin Phillips Leeds struggle in the midfield area. For me Pascal Struijk is more of a centre-back and Diego Llorente is getting used to Bielsa’s system – this was only the second time he has played 90 minutes.

Leeds have a week to hopefully get Phillips and Rodrigo back before they travel to London to face West Ham United at the London Stadium.

Without them they may struggle to get anything out of the game.

Man of the match: Luke Ayling.

ANDY RHODES

As far as Leeds United’s performances have gone under Marcelo Bielsa, this was a disappointing one.

It was an evening where nothing stuck for the Whites and Aston Villa’s organised defence had the upper hand throughout. In fact, the game could still be going on now without a breakthrough.

A poor refereeing performance didn’t help. Peter Bankes fell for every one of Villa’s tricks, seemingly unaware of their reputation for diving and disrupting the flow with constant fouls. But you can’t dwell on the performance of the officials.

The goal itself was fortuitous and Leeds were unlucky. Raphinha didn’t get into the game while Patrick Bamford was almost marked out of it entirely.

This can go in the same bracket as the Brighton and Wolves home defeats.

Leeds were always going to have these types of games this season at some point, but you’d hope that next season, they’re the games they turn from losses into draws.

Man of the match: Stuart Dallas.

MIKE GILL


An early goal. Plenty of chances to equalise or go ahead but no top quality ones.

A massively frustrating game in lots of ways.

For once, creativity was really lacking from Leeds, exacerbated by the fact that it was clear that Villa were quite content to defend a 1-0 lead. Long before the hour mark, you didn’t feel that Leeds were going to score.

Apart from the El Ghazi goal, our defence was immaculate but we just couldn’t get any dangerous moves going. Full credit has to be given to Aston Villa for the way they managed this game.

Peter Bankes had a very poor afternoon as referee. He was in grave danger of losing control and totally inconsistent throughout the game. All this wasn’t helped by theatrical dives that Jack Grealish would have been ashamed of! Although these were mostly by Villa, Diego Llorente joined in the fun.

Bankes just seemed bemused by it all and Targett was lucky to stay on the field.

United can now enjoy a long break before meeting West Ham who will be an equally tough prospect.

Man of the match: Diego Llorente.

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