Villa Underdog Due to Injuries?
Aston Villa could potentially win their third league fixture in a row at Elland Road for the first time in their history. In fact, Villa have lost just one of their past 10 Premier League away games against Leeds, so why are they out at 3/1 with some bookies for the win, this time around?
Little credence has been given to Villa’s recent form at Elland Road or their improvement in the last two league games. The focus seems to be on Leeds unbeaten home form (two wins and a draw) and the fact Villa have failed to win a point away from home in three games this season. Then, of course, there’s Villa’s defensive injuries.
Matty Cash (hamstring), Lucas Digne (heel), Diego Carlos (Achilles) and Boubacar Kamara (knee) will all be out for the trip to Elland Road. Only Tyrone Mings will play from what you’d consider the first team defensive set-up.
“Bouba will be missing until after the World Cup unfortunately so that’s a huge blow,” said Steven Gerrard, running through the injury situation in his pre-match presser. “Obviously Diego Carlos, two of our signature signings if you like, who are going to be missing for a large part of the season.
“Lucas Digne is a unique situation, he has a heel problem and it’s one we’re going to have to monitor as we go along, so it’s very difficult to put a timescale on Lucas but he’ll certainly be missing in the coming weeks.
“We’re due to assess that situation again in just over two weeks to see whether his heel has healed enough for us to progress, but that’s quite a frustrating one again, another big player missing for us.
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At least loanee centre-back Jan Bednarek will return to the match day squad, having been ineligible to face parent club Southampton in the last game. Cameron Archer also returns after an adductor complaint.
Steven Gerrard has spoken up Leeds this week, knowing they have been producing the goods at home, including beating Chelsea 3-0 at Elland Road.
“I think we’re going to face a better Leeds team (than last season), a team who are more confident and have more belief in themselves,” reflected Gerrard, before hinting Villa will approach the game in the pragmatic manner, as they did against Manchester City and Southampton.
“We want to go there and be really tough to beat and, as I say, we’ve got enough quality in our team to hurt Leeds at the right times as well.”
Key to how Villa hold out will be the performance of Swedish international Ludwig Augustinsson, who is expected to start at left-back.
According to the Villa boss, it’s certainly opportunity knocks for Augustinsson, who potentially could see a few games in the next few weeks.
“We’ve tried to build a squad to be prepared for these situations,” said Gerrard.
“But, for me, I get a lot of people knocking on my door, at times they’re frustrated, at times they don’t see that they’re very close to an opportunity.
“And now, it’s like, ‘go on then, here’s your time, here’s your moment, back up what you’ve said when you’ve knocked on my door’.
In the latest My Old Man Said podcast episode of Something for the Weekend, we preview the Leeds United game and give our MOMS Pool Panel verdict, as well as looking at what Villa CEO Christian Purslow said at a recent Q & A with the Villa Trust.
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