Aston Villa failed to take advantage of 10-man Leeds United in a scoreless draw at Elland Road on Sunday evening.
After a tightly-contested first half, Leeds’ Luis Sinisterra was shown red three minutes into the second period and afforded Villa a prime opportunity to collect three points away from home.
But despite generating a handful of decent scoring opportunities, Villa failed to convert in front of goal and were forced to settle for one point.
The likes of Ollie Watkins, Philippe Coutinho, Leon Bailey, Danny Ings, and Emi Buendia–attackers who all played a part on Sunday–failed to provide the quality needed to finish off opportunities. Coutinho and Buendia, specifically, had chances of note.
“We’re frustrated because we should be heading down the motorway with three points rather than one,” manager Steven Gerrard said after the match.
“I think large parts of our performance were very good, we came here to frustrate Leeds, we came here to be competitive and stand up, and for large parts of the game we were much better.
“…we’ve created 19 shots on goal and 12 inside the area – so that tells the story of the game.”
Villa attackers struggling for confidence
In terms of expected goals (xG), Villa held a sizeable edge, 2.09 to 0.35. Supporters critical of Gerrard’s approach to tactics are on to something because his squad is currently starving for goals.
On quality alone Villa should beat 10-man Leeds comfortably, but it seems Gerrard’s overly defensive system has his attackers low on confidence.
There is not one player at Villa that currently has multiple Premier League goals this season. Watkins, Bailey, Ings, and Buendia each have one goal and Coutinho is without a tally in eight matches.
Gerrard, seemingly fighting for his own life, has sacrificed a lot going forward to ensure the squad is solid at the back. Though this is an understandable approach, Villa have too much talent to let ability go to waste.
There has to be a middle ground, because if the attackers stay snake bitten Villa will be short on goals come May.
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