Aston Villa vs Leeds United preview: Team News, Ones To Watch, Previous Meeting and Where To Watch
Ross Barkley celebrating his last minute winner against Leicester City via Getty Images

Aston Villa will be looking to go top of the Premier League table as they take on Leeds United at Villa Park on Friday night. 

Villa come into this game following an impressive last-minute win against Leicester City last Sunday. On loan, Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley scored a 91st-minute winner at the King Power Stadium.

Leeds will be looking to bounce back from a narrow 1-0 defeat to Wolves last Monday. Raul Jimenez got the winner for Wolves. 

Embed from Getty Images

Team news

Villa boss, Dean Smith, will be looking to name an unchanged side for this fixture. 

Keinan Davies could recover from a calf injury in time for this game. Kourtney Hause will be missing from this fixture

Kalvin Phillips will be unavailable for the trip to Villa as he has a shoulder injury which could keep him out for weeks. Liam Cooper is a doubt for this game, and Diego Llorente is still out injured. 

Predicted line-ups

Aston Villa: Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; Luiz, McGinn; Trezeguet, Barkley, Grealish; Watkins

Leeds United: Meslier; Dallas, Koch, Ayling, Alioski; Struijk; Costa, Klich, Rodrigo, Harrison; Bamford

Last meeting

The last meeting between these two was full of controversy. The last meeting was a 1-1 draw at Elland Road in April 2019. 

Leeds took the lead in the game through Mateusz Klich. However, this goal came after Leeds intended on knocking the ball out of play due to an injury to Villa striker Jonathan Kodija. Instead, Liam Cooper decided to play through Klich which caught the Villa defence unaware. A brawl between the two sides ensued, which led to Ahmed El Ghazi being sent off for an apparent elbow on Patrick Bamford, which was later overturned. 

Leeds boss, Marcelo Bielsa then instructed his players to let Villa score but even this wasn't straight forward. As Albert Adomah was running through the team to score Pontus Jansson tried to defy his manager and tackle the Villa attacker. He was unsuccessful, and Adomah brought the game level, and that was how the game ended. 

Ones to Watch

The obvious pick for Villa is Jack Grealish. The England international has lit up the Premier League so far this season and his link up with new signings Barkley and Ollie Watkins as seen Villa rocket up the table. Grealish's performance will be key for Villa on Friday night, and a win for Villa could send them top.

The man to watch for Leeds will be the man at the centre of controversy last time these two sides played, and that is Patrick Bamford. Bamford has had some poor Premier League campaigns in previous seasons, but it looks like he has finally come of age. Bamford is currently Leeds' top scorer this season with three goals and will be looking to add to that at Villa Park. 

Embed from Getty Images

Pre-match Thoughts

Dean Smith was full of praise for his opposite number and Leeds in his pre-match press conference. Smith said: "I've got total respect and admiration for him and his team and what they've done. They came close in his first season and then won the league last season with excellent football. I've got nothing but respect for him and his team.

"I sent him a congratulatory message at the end of the season when they got promoted. I've played against him three times in the Championship – once with Brentford and twice with Villa.

"All three of them were entertaining and competitive games, and I think that's what everyone wants to see. He's improved players at that football club, and he's rightly getting the plaudits for that.

Bielsa had lots to say on various topics in his pre-match press conference. On Villa star man Grealish, Bielsa said: "He’s a very good player, and it is normal for a player that once he has been called up to a national team to feel confident and that he is going to grow.”

On the news of Gaetano Berardi’s new contract, Bielsa added: "He’s a reference to all of his teammates, his opinion is one that the changing room listens to and also the staff. When he’s able to recover, he will bring something to the team as he always does.”

Finally on Robert Koch's performances so far this season, Bielsa said: "He has had the performances of a good level in all of his games. In the first half against Wolves, he had a performance above what he already shown, which was already good."

How to watch

This game kicks off at 20:00 GMT at Villa Park and his available to watch as part of the pay per view channel BT Sport Box Office and is priced at £14.95.