Aston Villa vs. Leeds / Championship – Two former English champions will open the 24th round of the Football League Championship, which reached the middle of season, and both are positioned in the upper half of standings. Aston Villa, being 10th-positioend, has seven points fewer than fifth-placed Leeds. Both teams are in good mood ahead of their head-to-head, given the Villans won two previous matches while Leeds won three. We need to add that their first match played in Leeds this season ended as home victory 2-0. Begins: 29.12.2016 – 20:45 CET
That should be an additional motive for Aston Villa players to try to retaliate on Thursday evening in the same way, especially as it would mean that difference between the would shrink on just four points. The Villans, after being relegated from the Premier League, had a rough start in the Championship but since experienced coach Steve Bruce took over the team in mid-October they begun to play much better and now only six points separate them from positions that lead to the promotion play-off.
True, their positive series of four wins and three draws was interrupted right in Leeds, and on top of it they won no points in the next match against Norwich, but at home their victorious series is five matches long, which gives them enough reason to be optimistic ahead of new match at Villa Park. They are aware that their guests are tough and organised team so coach Bruce has announced a more caution approach of his team. Out of action due to injuries are only goalkeeper Steer and defenders Richards and de Laet.
Probable lineups Aston Villa: Bunn – Hutton, Chester, Baker, Amavi – Adomah, Gardner, Jedinak, Bacuna – McCormack, Kodjia
The guests from Leeds have won even eight and lost just two matches in last 10 rounds. They lost both matches at home to currently first and second-placed Brighton and Newcastle. After losing to Brighton coach Monk’s players had again won three consecutive matches, against Reading and Brentford at home and on the Boxing Day against Preston away by even 4-1, which indicates that will be in very good mood at Villa Park.
We need to add here that Leeds made it up this season till quarter-final of the League Cup when were stopped by great Liverpool, but the match showed vividly that Leeds has matured for greatest achievements, and it is not accidently fifth-placed in the Championship standings. Now, Leeds will face ever better Aston Villa and it is realistic to expect that Monk set up more defensive tactic than it is usual. We need to add that due to injuries still out of action are only defenders Taylor and Coyle, and midfielder O’Kane.
Probable lineups Leeds: Green – Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Berardi – Phillips, Bridcutt – Sacko, Roofe, Dallas – Wood
Aston Villa – Leeds PICK
Having in mind that both teams had made good results recently and are in good shape generally, than it is quite logical to expect only a few goals from their head-to-head.
Pick: under 2.5 goals
Odds: 1.67 at bet365 (down to 1.62 can be played)