STAR PREVIEW Fri: Aston Villa v Leeds

This has been a Premier League season full of shocks, but Aston Villa can get punters off to a flyer this weekend with victory over Leeds to continue their brilliant star tot the season. It’s almost unbelievable to think that Dean Smith’s side stayed up by the skin of their teeth thanks in no small part to Jack Grealish’s exploits with a 1-1 draw at West Ham, but they have signed brilliantly over the transfer window with the arrival of Ollie Watkins, Emi Martinez and Ross Barkley giving the side a quality core.

Aston Villa v Leeds United
Premier League
20:00 BT Sport Box Office HD

(Maximum 10 matches, since 2010)
APR 2019 CHAMPIONSHIP Leeds 1-1 Aston Villa
DEC 2018 CHAMPIONSHIP Aston Villa 2-3 Leeds
APR 2018 CHAMPIONSHIP Aston Villa 1-0 Leeds
DEC 2017 CHAMPIONSHIP Leeds 1-1 Aston Villa
DEC 2016 CHAMPIONSHIP Aston Villa 1-1 Leeds
DEC 2016 CHAMPIONSHIP Leeds 2-0 Aston Villa

The arrival of Watkins has given them a sharp figurehead for Jack Grealish to target and Ross Barkley’s capture on a season-long loan from Chelsea at the end of September already looks like tremendous business with two goals in two matches including a vital winner against Leicester. All that said, Martinez looks to be an exceptional purchase from Arsenal in goal, and Villa have improved hand over fist defensively too, conceding just two goals this season.

Facing Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds will be another stiff test – they’ve proven themselves more than upto Premier League class since the restart – but they may be tactically suited to playing a side that’s comfortable dominating the ball. Leeds have had more possession in every Premier League game so far, and that could really suit a side that’s now equipped to play well on the break with the pace of Watkins and the accuracy of Grealish and Barkley.

Leeds will test the Villa defence – Patrick Bamford has made the jump upto this level with aplomb whilst Rodrigo and Helder Costa have been dangerous whilst Luke Alying and Stuart Dallas have been threats down the flanks, but they will miss Kalvin Phillips terribly and Villa can make it five on the bounce.

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