When the fixtures were released last summer for the Championship, Leeds United’s clash with Aston Villa in the penultimate week of the season promised to be an intriguing spectacle.
Although both sides would have been targeting promotion at the start of the season, not many supporters would have been able to predict just how important the match-up would be.
Fast-forward to April and it is clear that the winner of the clash could quite easily be playing Premier League football in August. Whereas Villa will be targeting a return to Wembley to avenge last year’s play-off heartbreak, the Whites are still in contention to secure a top-two finish in May despite their recent setback at the hands of Brentford on Monday.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side are currently three points behind Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United in the league standings and know that they have to win their remaining fixtures to have any chance of usurping the Blades.
With a vastly inferior goal difference in comparison to their nearest challengers, Leeds will need both Ipswich Town and Stoke City to do them a favour over the next couple of weeks for them to have any chance. Even if they do prevent United from winning, it will still be an extremely tough task for Bielsa’s side to secure a positive result against a Villa side who are flying under Dean Smith.
A run of 10 straight victories for the Lions has seen them guarantee a top-six finish and with momentum being key going into the play-offs, they will be wanting to send a signal of intent to their opponents at the weekend. Therefore, Leeds must be at their brilliant best if they are to secure a vital three points on Saturday as if they produce the same level of performance that they demonstrated against Brentford and Wigan Athletic, they will undoubtedly be in trouble.
Whereas a victory over Villa would bring some much-needed confidence back to Bielsa’s side, a heavy defeat could be disastrous for their hopes of securing a return to the top-flight after 15 years away.
What do you think Leeds fans? How important is to get back to winning ways at the weekend? Are you confident that your side can achieve a positive result against Villa? Get in touch below.
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