A fired up Leeds caught Aston Villa flat-footed in the first half, especially when they opened the scoring after Jansson caught Samba napping from a corner to header home.
There only seemed to be one outcome with Villa struggling to cope with Leeds’ energy and vigour in midfield. The home team failed to convert possession into chances though and as the game wore on, the door was always left open for Villa.
Bruce’s double midfield substitution proved key with Lansbury and Grealish coming on and providing an instant return, with Lansbury’s well-taken equaliser.
The midfield duo allowed Villa to play higher up the pitch and be a lot more comfortable in the closing stages of the game.
Most Villa supporters would have settled for a draw before the game, so they’ll be few complaints with the result when considering Villa’s poor start to the game.
Aston Villa Player Ratings vs Leeds
Sam Johnstone – 6
Couldn’t do anything with the bullet header from the corner for Leeds’ first. That ended up being the only shot on target, so not too much for him to do in the save department. Was sound though in one of the more difficult atmospheres the league has to offer.
Alan Hutton – 6.5
The feisty encounter was Hutton’s kind of game. Picked up a yellow, but was unlucky with some of the ref’s decisions. Hutton had the most touches of any Villa player.
Chris Samba – 6
Caught flat-footed and surprisingly out muscled on Leeds goal direct from a corner. Kept things simple for the rest of the game though and kept Leeds at bay
James Chester – 8 MOTM
Kept Villa together in the first half with decent positioning highlighted by an interception on the half-hour mark when the rest of the defence were all at sea. Leeds only had one shot (header) on target, which was the goal and Chester must take credit for a lot of that. Tidy in possession as always and had the most clearances of any Villa player.
Neil Taylor – 6
Glen Whelan – 6.5
Leeds midfield tempo had Whelan chasing shadows in the first half, but he managed to get more of a control on proceedings in the second-half, helped by Bruce’s substitutions.
Robert Snodgrass – 6
Offside at times, poor delivery on set pieces and he cast a frustrated figure on his return to Leeds. Still, he battled on. Making Villa tougher in such games is a quality he no doubt brings to the table.
Conor Hourihane – 5
Was he on the pitch in the first half? Hourihane seemed to be playing very deep, at times deeper than Whelan. Disappointing in not being able to match Leeds’ midfield energy at times.
Josh Onomah – 4
Leeds intensity had him well and truly flustered in the first half too. He really didn’t get into the game and when he did get the ball he made some terrible wayward passes. Onomah had a 52% pass completion rate. Pffft. An off night.
Keinan Davis – 6
Tough night, as Leeds’ centre-back partnership snuffed him out for most of the game. He still managed to show quality with awareness and positive running. Whelan should have done better after Davis’s smart cutback from the right-wing.
Albert Adomah – 6
Snatched at a few chances and was crowded out by the Leeds backline, who were obviously keeping an eye on him. Got into the game more in the closing stages before being subbed at the end.
Off the Bench
Lansbury (65) – 7.5
New hair, new attitude. Played a lot further forward than Hourihane did, who he replaced. Great finish for the equaliser and some smart passes that almost created more chances. His running off the ball also opened up space, although his teammates failed to capitalise on it.
Grealish (65) – 7
El Mohamady (90) – N/A
Came on in injury time.