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Leeds suffer sixth straight Premier League defeat as Aston Villa cruise to win

Leeds United v Aston Villa – Premier League – Elland Road
(Image credit: Tim Goode)

Aston Villa inflicted  a club record-equalling sixth successive league defeat on Leeds as Steven Gerrard’s impressive side won 3-0 at Elland Road.

Philippe Coutinho’s deflected effort gave Villa an interval lead and they added further second-half goals that their performance warranted through Matty Cash and Calum Chambers.

It was Villa’s third straight Premier League win, which lifted them up to ninth in the table, while it was a sorry night for Leeds in head coach Jesse Marsch’s first home game in charge.

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Not since February 2004 have the Yorkshire side lost six consecutive league games and they went on to be relegated from the top flight at the end of that season.

This was their seventh defeat in their last eight matches and has left them two points above the relegation zone.

The two teams immediately below them, Everton and Burnley, have three and two games in hand respectively and the sight of home fans heading for the exit 10 minutes before the end told its own story.

Marsch replaced Marcelo Bielsa at the beginning of last week and there had been encouraging signs in his first game in charge – a 1-0 defeat at Leicester – that the American had shored up a leaky defence.

Leeds United v Aston Villa – Premier League – Elland Road

Philippe Coutinho gave Villa first-half lead (PA)

But this Leeds display bore all the hallmarks of a side that has lost its way.

Raphinha went agonisingly close to giving Leeds an 18th-minute lead after charging down Lucas Digne’s attempted clearance and combining with Dan James, but the Brazilian’s back-heeled effort rolled inches wide.

Villa went ahead in the 22nd minute after Coutinho’s low shot following Cash’s cross took a faint touch off Pascal Struijk to wrong-foot Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier.

It was Coutinho’s fourth goal since joining Villa in January and was the visitors’ first meaningful effort on goal.

It also took the sting out of the home crowd, for a short while at least, as Villa looked more assured and took control.

Leeds United v Aston Villa – Premier League – Elland Road

Matty Cash (right) doubled Villa’s advantage (PA)

Indecisiveness had not been apparent in Leeds’ first game under Marsch but too many of their players appeared unsure on the ball against Villa and passes went astray.

Villa looked the more threatening side until half-time and were only denied a second goal when impressive midfielder John McGinn’s low curling effort was brilliantly saved by Meslier.

Marsch sent on teenage striker Joe Gelhardt for the ineffective Rodrigo at the start of the second half and Leeds went on to the offensive.

Raphinha’s cross was cleared by Cash and Koch blazed his shot over the crossbar.

Leeds were much improved and the home faithful responded before rising to their feet in the 59th minute when Patrick Bamford ended his three-month injury lay-off by stepping into the fray as a replacement for Jack Harrison.

Leeds United v Aston Villa – Premier League – Elland Road

Calum Chambers (right) put the game beyond doubt (Tim Goode/PA)

But the home cheers turned to jeers soon after when Cash fired Villa into a 2-0 lead after finding himself in plenty of space on the right edge of the area following Danny Ings’ cross-field pass.

The defender cut inside Junior Firpo and beat Meslier with a fierce low drive inside the near post in the 65th minute.

It got worse for Leeds as their brittle confidence evaporated. Villa broke forward and when Tyrone Mings laid the ball back on the edge of the area, Chambers swept home a superb third goal into the top corner.

Leeds’ misery was complete in the closing stages when Firpo was stretchered off following a touchline challenge.

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