Life as a football supporter isn't complicated, take tomorrow for example. There are three outcomes, but they're all basically the same for us. We're in the play-offs and the likely scenario is that we're going to have to play the best out of Leeds and Derby, Middlesbrough and Bristol in the final, if we beat West Brom.
Do you see what I mean? Okay, Leeds could lose their next two, starting tomorrow and West Brom could win their next two and that's why I used the word likely in the previous paragraph. It's also why I wrote basically, because we're in the play-offs and to get promoted we have to beat two sides.
And that's why I'm thinking a lot about next season, because one of two things are going to happen. We go up or we stay here. And both scenarios are interesting to ponder.
Going up is interesting because of Dean Smith and our new owners. First, we should look at Dean Smith because if my numbers are right, he's managed us for 32 games (can it be that many?) and based on results we are third in the table under him on goal difference. Norwich and Sheffield United taking first and second. And had we scored three more and Sheffield United had let in three more, we'd be second.
That is some record. Arguably, he does have the best squad in the League but he still had to get them playing as a team and right now, I don't think I can remember a time when I've felt this optimistic about the Club because of the manager.
And if we go up, you've got the fancy that the new owners are going to want to bring a player or two in that can make an impact. You've got to fancy they're going to want to make a splash and that's going to be interesting to watch, because as we all know, actions speak louder than words and so far, our two owners are all about the actions and they're very serious.
But, it's also about the players we have at the Club too. There is a clear team spirit and you don't want to break that up. Sure, some will be moving back to their parent Club, but you'd like to think that one or two might want to make the move permanent. You'd also like to think that the ones we have can make the step up.
And I write that because If we have learnt anything the past few seasons, it's that there is a big step up.
However, team spirit plays a part as does playing the right way and we have both of those under Dean Smith. But this post should be about Leeds tomorrow, so lets look at that. And tomorrow or Monday, I'll write about what happens if we don't go up. That is also quite interesting. Possibly even more so.
If you look at the results this year, Aston Villa have picked up 37 points from 18 games. Leeds have picked up 31. If you look at the last ten games, we've picked up 30 points and Leeds have 18. I think it's fair to say we are the form team. Look a little more recent and you'll see that Leeds have only got nine points from the last six matches.
So we can go into the match with a bit of confidence and rightly so and we've found our form at exactly the right time. Leeds fans will be thinking also that they've lost theirs at exactly the wrong time. But they have qualified and the big games are when the big players come out. We can't write Leeds off, even if we spank them tomorrow, for the reason I wrote in the first paragraph.
So with that written, it's important for us to not lose, so we keep our momentum, but we have to put Leeds into context. They have played some great football this season and deserve to be where they are and even though I think it likely they'll finish third, they can still finish second. But form doesn't suggest that is going to happen and you have to sometimes factor in form.
So, facts and a video below. I'm going to ponder what happens if we don't go up this season. But I think we will.
Dean Smith looks at Leeds
Match facts from the BBC
- This is the 100th meeting between Leeds United and Aston Villa in all competitions.
- Villa have not won in five away league visits to Leeds, drawing three and losing two since winning 2-1 in December 2000 in the Premier League.
- Leeds have not lost three consecutive league matches since November 2017, when they were managed by Thomas Christiansen.
- Since Patrick Bamford's goal against Wigan, Leeds have attempted 46 shots in the Championship without scoring.
- Jack Grealish has been involved in 11 goals in his last 15 Championship appearances for Aston Villa (six goals, five assists).