Leeds United and Aston Villa played out a controversial 1-1 draw at Elland Road on Sunday in one of the most chaotic games the Championship has ever seen.
After a scoreless and relatively even first half, Leeds took the lead after Mateusz Klich fired the ball past Jed Steer in the Villa goal despite the opposition appearing to stop, assuming that Bielsa’s side would put the ball out for an injury to Jonathan Kodjia.
That led to a huge brawl between the two sides with Villa clearly aggrieved as winger Anwar El Ghazi was sent off for an apparent elbow on Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford.
Leeds then allowed Villa to equalise straight away by walking the ball into the empty net despite defender Pontus Jansson’s best efforts to keep it out.
Here are 11 conclusions following Leeds’ chaotic draw with Aston Villa.
1) Aston Villa started the first five minutes very well, no surprise given their 10 game winning streak, but Leeds held their own and grew into the game. Despite their recent poor results they didn’t appear to lack confidence and didn’t stray from their usual gameplan.
2) It’s no surprise that Aston Villa’s recent incredible run of form has coincided with the arrival of defender Tyrone Mings from Bournemouth. Mings was excellent again against Leeds with his ability to come out from the back a huge part of their game under Dean Smith.
3) It was clear from the off that Kalvin Phillips’ job in the Leeds United side this afternoon was to man-mark Villa’s danger man Jack Grealish. It’s a role Phillips has taken up before and he nullified the number 10 well, aside from a couple of niggly fouls.
4) On those fouls, they began to break up the free-flowing style of the game in the first 45 minutes. In a game that was always going to be played in an intense and competitive nature, Stuart Attwell arguably could’ve let play go a little bit more.
5) Villa’s strength in midfield is such a crucial part of their success this season but it looked as though they were missing the influence of Glenn Whelan. Conor Hourihane has been tremendous for his side this campaign but his time with Ireland under Martin O’Neill showed that he is simply not suited to the defensive midfield position.
6) Once again Leeds’ Achilles heel came in the form of not taking their chances. They had a number of opportunities to test Jed Steer but their efforts from range all failed to hit the target.
7) It was unusual to see Villa opt not to get winger Andre Green into the game much, especially up against an unnatural left-back in the form of Stuart Dallas. The 20-year old’s pace could have caused problems and given the quality of their midfield runners breaking into the box, it could have been very effective.
8) Tyler Roberts’ introduction brought something different to the Leeds side when he came on at half-time. The Welsh international never really appears to have a natural position but constantly picks up pockets of space and caused the opposing midfield serious issues.
9) Although there was essentially nothing to play for in this one it was played at a very high intensity with both clearly recognising the importance of entering the playoffs in good form. Neither side gave an inch in a game that could be a potential playoff final come the end of May.
10) Now it’s time to address the elephant in the room. Leeds refused to put the ball out for an injury to Jonathan Kodjia and scored from the resulting attack. Marcelo Bielsa showed incredible sportsmanship to allow Villa to walk the ball into the empty Leeds net in one of the most controversial games in recent memory.
11) Fans are in for a treat if these two sides meet in the playoffs. Given the intensity and quality of this game on top of the controversy, it will certainly be an absolutely fascinating affair.