Aston Villa hold off Leeds for fifth win under Unai Emery

Aston Villa survived a late-match surge from Leeds United in a 2-1 Premier League victory at Villa Park on Friday evening.

The win is Villa’s fifth since Unai Emery was appointed manager in November and — before Saturday’s matches — no team in England’s top flight had earned more points (13) then Villa in the league since then.

Villa entered the weekend in 11th place and remain there after Friday’s victory. They’re now 7-4-8 overall with 25 points through 19 matches this season and are three points adrift of 10th-place Chelsea.

Aston Villa 2-1 Leeds

Villa took an early lead via Leon Bailey in the third minute after he finished off a near-flawless counter attack from a Leeds corner.

Ashley Young recovered a loose ball in the Villa box and sprung a surging Boubacar Kamara, who carried the ball through the middle third before playing Bailey on the right side. The Jamaican cut inside near the top of the Leeds box and scored with a left-footed finish.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – JANUARY 13: Emi Buendia of Aston Villa celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Leeds United at Villa Park on January 13, 2023 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images)

Leeds were the better side for the remainder of the half, but Villa keeper Emi Martinez was up to the task and helped the hosts take a 1-0 lead into halftime.

Villa found success on the counter again the second half, and, again, Bailey was involved. After Douglas Luiz played a midfield pass to the winger high on the right side, he cut inside and made an attempt at goal.

Leeds keeper Illan Meslier made a save, but the rebound fell directly to Emi Buendia, who ran all the way from midfield to beat the Frenchman with a delicate header.

Substitute Patrick Bamford cut the Leeds deficit in half (2-1) in the 83rd minute and set up a nervy closing moments. Leeds had a handful of quality chances to tie the match but they ultimately couldn’t beat Martinez.

Aston Villa vs. Leeds: by the numbers

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