Aston Villa v Leeds United: Premier League – live
Jesse Marsch spoke to Sky Sports, and at length.
The two games [Newcastle and West Ham] were a tale of two halves. We try to put together full performances and keep defending better. But in general I think it’s been solid, but we know we can improve and that will be the priority tonight.
We want to be very good defensively. We want to press well and be very aggressive without the ball. With the ball, I want to see us be a bit more courageous and vertical and not always just play wide and combinations with our full-backs. It will also help us in our counter pressure. But I still think the key will be what we can do defensively and turn those moments into counterattack transitions.
It was difficult having Patrick Bamford, he missed playing football. He’s looked sharp in training for the past 10 days. That’s what I emphasized with him: stop worrying about missed chances and whether you start or come off the bench, just enjoy your football and I think we can see the best of him .
From our article on the ten things before the Premier League, of which this is the first match, Barry Glendenning wrote this.
Coutinho races towards Villa exit
Handed in his first start under Unai Emery against Stevenage last weekend, Philippe Coutinho played poorly, got hooked after 66 minutes and was forced to watch from the bench as Aston Villa were hampered by their League visitors 2. While he is unlikely to start against Leeds this weekend, just over a year after his arrival, his future at Villa looks uncertain at best. At the end of December, the Brazilian took to social media to rage at what he described as ‘lies’ suggesting he was unhappy with Villa and asked to leave in January. Considering how little he has brought to the club over the past 12 months, despite a stunning debut against Manchester United, it’s hard to imagine too many fans mourning his departure and he’s quickly running out of opportunities to impress. If he really wants to stay at Villa Park, now would be a good time to prove it with actions on the pitch rather than tantrums on Instagram. Barry Glendenning
What do these teams mean? Philippe Coutinho is on the bench again, while John McGinn is out for Villa, whose new signing Alex Moreno is alongside Coutinho on that bench. No Matty Cash either, but nine changes from Shame of Stevenage.
Maximilian Wöber, like Moreno, is a new signing on the bench, amid eight changes from Cardiff, with Pascal Struijk keeping his place despite not having the most convincing game at Cardiff. Patrick Bamford is on the bench for the first time since October.
AstonVilla: Martinez, A Young, Worthy, Konsa, Mings, Luiz, Ramsey, Kamara, Buendia, Bailey, Watkins. Subtitles: Olsen, Sanson, Ings, Moreno, Chambers, Nakamba, Bednarek, Coutinho, K Young.
London: Meslier, Ayling, Koch, Struijk, Cooper, Roca, Adams, Aaronson, Harrison, Rodrigo, Gnonto. Subtitles: Robles, Firpo, Bamford, Llorente, Perkins, Kristensen, Gelhardt, Wober, Greenwood.
Everything was going so well for Unai Emery – pretty much – and then came Stevenage. Aston Villa were comfortably mid-table and there was, um, bandwidth for an FA Cup challenge. In the end, Hertfordshire’s best prevailed and the last time Villa won an FA Cup tie was under famous manager Remi Garde. So let’s continue with the Premier League and this season’s consolidation project and visiting Leeds, who narrowly escaped similar Cup embarrassment at the hands of Cardiff.
Leeds are five points behind Villa in the table and are yet to win a game after the World Cup, making it more than two months since Jesse Marsch was able to celebrate a win. Two points above the drop zone isn’t quite a must for Leeds, but they will be hoping to channel the spirit of former manager Steve Evans and put one on Villa.
Kick-off is at 8 p.m., join me.
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