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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Leeds recovery set to continue with win over Aston Villa

Villa squad is looking stretched in key areas

Ezgjan Alioski celebrates a goal for Leeds at Barnsley
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Leeds have sustained seven league defeats since topping the Sky Bet Championship in September but they looked a good side in last Saturday's 2-0 success at Barnsley and can follow up with victory over Aston Villa at Elland Road.

The Yorkshire giants must show better consistency if they are to get back in the promotion race but their performances since the last international break have been of a high standard.

Their 2-1 victory at home to Middlesbrough was just as impressive as the triumph at Barnsley, while their 4-1 loss at Wolves was a harsh outcome, heavily influenced by the 60th-minute dismissal of Ronaldo Vieira.

With the season approaching the halfway stage, Leeds are still in touch with the top six.

For now they will be casting envious glances at Villa, who are on a three-match winning run and up to fourth, their highest position of the season.

Villa have found a way to grind out victories without playing well and are relying heavily on winger Albert Adomah. He has hit a purple patch, scoring five goals in his last three appearances to take his seasonal tally to ten.

Adomah is the favourite with the majority of firms to notch the first goal but he has never been a prolific marksman and netted just three goals in 38 appearances last term.

At some stage Villa will need other players to step up to the plate but they are short of attacking options with Jonathan Kodjia and Scott Hogan sidelined with ankle and stomach injuries.

The need for greater firepower is accepted by the club's hierarchy and there has been talk of a possible January swoop for Sheffield United's 13-goal top scorer Leon Clarke.

Villa look light up front and they have problems in defence with John Terry sidelined and Tommy Elphick and Micah Richards out of favour.

Midfielder Mile Jedinak was deployed as a makeshift centre-back for last Saturday's 2-0 victory at home to Ipswich but he lasted just 25 minutes before being going off with a shoulder injury.

His replacement, Chris Samba, did well enough but will need to be carefully managed having played only six league games in the lastg two seasons with Dinamo Moscow and Panathinaikos.

Villa's squad is looking stretched in key areas and Leeds are likely to give them a serious examination.

Like Villa they lack a reliable centre-forward, but they score plenty from midfield with Samuel Saiz, Ezgjan Alioski and Kalvin Phillips each weighing in with five league goals.

Alioski and Saiz are playing with confidence after scoring at Barnsley and could make their mark on the game for the Whites, who look value to take the points.

1pt 7-4 bet365, Betway

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Team news

Injured duo Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Stuart Dallas remain on the sidelines but Ronaldo Vieira is available after a one-match ban.

Aston Villa
Mile Jedinak (shoulder) has joined John Terry (metatarsal), Jonathan Kodjia (ankle) and Scott Hogan (stomach) on the sidelines.

Key stat
Aston Villa have not won any of their four matches against teams in the top eight.

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Their 2-1 victory at home to Middlesbrough was just as impressive as the triumph at Barnsley, while their 4-1 loss at Wolves was a harsh outcome
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