Leeds United v Aston Villa 10th March 2022 at Elland Road

 

Aston Villa H 10th March 2022

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a We stand with #Ukraine
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On reaching home, I took my dog Mollie for a late-night walk to clear my head after the game. Unfortunately, all I ended up with was a migraine. From what I’ve seen on the pitch, we have a squad of players demoralised, who look to have had their heart ripped out. The Elland Road crowd after Villa scored their third goal with a fantastic strike, went quiet as the resignation of what was happening before our eyes became a reality. By the time the final whistle went, there were empty seats all over the ground. It really feels like we are in a relegation battle now, but the worst thing is, that we don’t stand a catting hell’s chance of getting out of it. The good thing for me is that once I’ve slept on things, they never seem as bad and will be there again on Sunday for the Norwich game. Only time will tell how things pan out for us, and all I can say is that I need to be proved wrong. It was good to see fans here from Malta and Denmark today but what a shame, we couldn’t put on a good display for them.

Team: Meslier, Ayling, Dallas, Forshaw, James, Raphinha, Rodrigo, Firpo, Struijk, Koch, and Harrison.

Subs: Gelhardt for Rodrigo (45), Bamford for Harrison (59), Klich for Forshaw (66).

Subs not used: Klaesson, Greenwood, Llorente, Shackleton, Summerville, Cresswell.

Leeds lost the game 3-0.

Attendance: 36,400 with 2,690 Villa fans.

Referee: Simon Hooper.

Booked: Koch, Gelhardt, Raphinha, Firpo.

With once again support for Ukraine before the game, the teams came out together for the first time since Covid, to a noisy crowd. The referee set his stall out straight away as the first attack saw Villa win a corner to the howls of the Leeds fans behind the goal. With more decisions going against us when their players went down, a hard game was only going to get harder. From the corner, there was a difference in that we left two players up by the halfway line on either wing rather than back in defence. The worst decision was when a high tackle sent our player falling to the ground, play on, a foul then followed on Villa which was immediately given. Before the game I’d said I wanted two early goals and for Villa not to score before the break. The reason being was, that if we could get to the break without conceding a goal, it would instil confidence back into the team. As it was, Villa scored first when they got the luck in the penalty area as a shot from the edge of the box deflected off Struick wrong footing Meslier and going into the net. Meslier made two great saves to stop them getting a further goal but was lucky with one clearance that went straight to a Villa player but luckily, he redeemed himself and got the ball away. The teams went off at the break with boos all around the ground but this time, they were aimed at the referee.

Rodrigo had been replaced by Gelhardt at the start of the second half who had a shot saved by their keeper. With 30 minutes left Bamford came on to great applause from the Leeds fans but within six minutes, Leeds fell further behind with a second goal after their players were in acres of space on the wings with no one marking them. To cap it all, a wonder strike saw a third goal for Villa and any thoughts of us getting back into the game were well and truly dashed. With Villa fans chanting ’football in a library’ to our fans, they weren’t wrong as the crowd were stunned into silence. We looked devoid of ideas, had no leaders on the pitch nor looked like we could score a goal. The players did keep trying until after the second goal went in but had no answer to anything Villa did. To cap it all we played the last minutes of the game with 10 men as Firpo went down injured after a foul and was carried off on a stretcher. We need a miracle to turn things around now. As we went out of the Kop, someone shouted that if I wasn’t smiling going out of the ground, that was him worried!

I had hoped that by playing on a Thursday night it would bring about a change of fortune for us plus I’d also washed my scarf hoping we would get a bit of luck. The game against Norwich on Sunday is a game that is more important than ever now for us to pick up some points. See you then, LUFC – Marching on Together.