With Leeds United sick bay working over time, this was a chance to Villa to pick a routine three points to mathematically confirm a play-off spot and apply at least some late pressure to the two teams chasing automatic promotion above them.
It’s pretty much how it panned out, with Villa not doing anything above the call of duty of bagging the three points with a 1-0 win.
Villa were in control of the first half with Jack Grealish buzzing around in a free role, while his midfield teammates like Whelan and Snodgrass made sure Leeds never really threatened.
A little bit of trivia – only Derby and Burton have fielded an older team in the Championship this season, in terms of average age, than Villa tonight.
Villa Player Ratings vs Leeds United Home
Sam Johnstone – 6
An easy night for Johnstone. When Leeds did get chances, a lack of composure let them down.
Ahmed Elmohamady – 6
While a solid enough night for Elmohamady, he tended to be reluctant to take on the opposition full-back, even when he was backing up.
Since he’s the player that often statistically sees the most of the ball (again against Leeds), a little bit less caution when around the opposition’s final third, would certainly benefit the team.
Mile Jedinak – 7
A reasonably comfortable night for the Aussie. With no Leeds forward really playing on his shoulder, he soaked up Leeds’ attacks well and won most of the aerial battles.
James Chester – 7
Back to steady Eddy at the back, wearing the captain’s armband in the absence of Terry. Could he have thrown himself at a decent Onomah ball in on the 70th minute to make it 2-0? Maybe that would be getting greedy after his recent goal haul in recent weeks.
Maybe he just wasn’t used to breaking any sweat tonight…
Neil Taylor – 6
Glenn Whelan – 7.5
No own goal attempts from Whelan this time round, so plus five marks straight away! Was Whelan the reason that Villa’s defence didn’t really have to break into a sweat? He certainly contributed to it, in a solid showing tonight.
Robert Snodgrass – 6
Leeds fans wound him up when he hit the wall with a lame freekick on the 20 minute mark, which was fairly symbolic of his deadball delivery on the night, especially at freekicks. Not currently at his best and will probably have a game out before the play-offs to freshen him up mentally.
Jack Grealish – 8 (MOTM)
His free role kept Leeds guessing, as he was yet again the focus of anything good from Villa. He crossed it in sweetly for Grabban’s opener. He ghosted past defenders at times coming in from wide areas and also popped up in his own box to help out.
If Onomah matched Grealish’s movement, then we would have battered Leeds.
Josh Onomah – 6
Some decent touches here and there. Did well to beat two men and keep his balance, but lost his composure on the shot, just after the half-hour mark.
As mentioned above, Onomah would benefit from a bit more movement, when he’s off the ball. He tends to ball watch a bit, instead of making himself available and staying active in the game.
Jonathan Kodjia – 6
A frustrating evening for Kodjia who made a rare start this season, after his injury issues. Again, his selfishness let him down. The best example – when he was charging towards goal and had five opposition players in front of him, but he kept going head-first into them, rather than laying it off to one of his teammates that were either side of him.
Maybe he’s too desperate for a goal? At the moment, the remaining games will be about getting him on the right team frequency and sharp for the play-offs ahead.
Lewis Grabban – 7
A composed presence all night at Villa Park, typified by his cool and composed header from a Grealish lofted cross. At times, he’s the opposite of Kodjia when he receives the ball. While Kodjia automatically drives goalwards, Grabban likes to take in the scenery and see what’s on. On the ball, he looks too good to be a Championship player.
Off the Bench
Albert Adomah (66) – 6
Came on at the right time for Kodjia, to give Villa a bit more balance and maybe should have made it 2-0, although credit to the young Leeds keeper, who was good all night.
Scott Hogan (77) – 5
Hogan was clean through with seven minutes to go, but the defender made a good recovery tackle as Hogan was about to pull the trigger. That was his only contribution of the night, as he totalled three touches in the 15 minutes he was on.
Chris Samba (83) – N/A
On for Onomah, allowing Jedinak to slip ahead of him into midfield to shut up shop. Another three touch man, but made sure Villa got the points.
Team Performance – 6.5
Apart from the first 20 minutes or so of the second half, Villa didn’t really have to break too much sweat to get the job done. They largely controlled the game against an injury-hit Leeds team. Grealish did enough to keep the heart of the team beating going forward and they were rarely threatened at the back.