Anwar El Ghazi goal secures all three points as Aston Villa beat Leeds

As they picked up yet another crucial away victory, Dean Smith's side frustrated Leeds United to continue their quest for European qualification this season.

Leeds United 0-1 Aston Villa

Despite the absence of their captain Jack Grealish to a leg injury, Dean Smith's side were hardly troubled by Marcelo Bielsa's men as Anwar El Ghazi's first-half strike proved to be the difference maker.

Gifting the visitors a dream start, El Ghazi put Villa ahead within the opening five minutes, having been played onside by Leeds captain Liam Cooper.

READ MORE: Head over to TeamTalk to get a full match recap and post-game reaction.

He ran onto a misplaced Ollie Watkins shot to slot the ball past Illan Meslier at the far post.

In their only clear chance of the first half, Leeds were provided with a golden opportunity to draw level through Tyler Roberts, but the Welshman's effort was denied by a strong save from Emiliano Martinez.

The goalscorer Anwar El Ghazi battles for the ball with Diego Llorente
The goalscorer Anwar El Ghazi battles for the ball with Diego Llorente

As Villa continued to put the home side under pressure, El Ghazi came close to grabbing a second goal on three separate occasions but the Dutchman was unable to replicate his earlier heroics.

Chances were few and far between in the second-half as Leeds were prevented from executing their free-flowing football successfully by Villa,lacking the creative spark to provide chances for lone striker Patrick Bamford.

READ MORE: Breaking down the stats behind Manchester United's matches against Chelsea plus our tip for the game...

In the home side's frustrating pursuit for an equaliser, tempers flared on the hour-mark following an altercation between Roberts and Matt Targett - who both received bookings towards the latter stages of the game.

Aside from a mistimed header from Raphina in the game's final minutes, Villa were unphased by Leeds' large spells of possession to enjoy another victory on the road. 

Fantasy football hero

Despite El Ghazi's goal, another clean sheet for Emiliano Martinez makes him the fixture's fantasy football hero, with three additional bonus points taking the Argentine's return to seven.

html) */?>

The managers

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa, speaking to BBC Match of the Day: "We dominated 80% of game and defended well - the goal they scored was opportunism and the number 11 had a shot at goal and slipped and [Anwar] El Ghazi was coming from having struck the corner and he found the ball.

"In the first half we created enough chances to score a goal and they missed some chances and in the second half we defended better than in the first. But we attacked worse - we couldn't finalise the attacks."

Bielsa was disappointed with Leeds' missed chances.
Bielsa was disappointed with Leeds' missed chances.

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith, speaking to Match of the Day: "You have to try and match what they do - they're a good team and play with lots of energy and we had to let them know we were in the game which we did. Tactically we were good - second half I was so pleased and we were always a threat on the counter.

"I needed to freshen it up, there's a few players that have played a lot of minutes this season so we wanted to change it up. The pitch was cutting up a lot and people were slipping so we changed tactics a bit and it paid dividends."

Smith felt that his side executed his tactics well.
Smith felt that his side executed his tactics well.

Social Zone

html) */?>

html) */?>

What's next?

Another victory for Villa means Dean Smith's sides have taken ten points from their last six Premier League games. They remain in eighth position and can go ahead of defending champions Liverpool should they defeat Sheffield United on Wednesday.

html) */?>

Having all but secured safety, Leeds remain in 10th spot despite suffering their fourth loss in February alone. Bielsa's side have taken six points from as many games.

Another tough fixture awaits the Yorkshire outfit in nine days, when they travel to London for a clash with an in-form West Ham side, they'll be hoping to finally put an end to their dreadful record in the capital.

Odds check

Ahead of kick-off, Leeds were the bookies favourites at 1/1. Villa, on the other hand, won the game having been priced at 12/5.

Anyone who backed the final result will have enjoyed great odds as the visitors were priced at around 14/1 to win by a goal to nil.

The victory takes Dean Smith's men to eighth in the table - just six points off the top four. Villa are currently priced at 7/2 to finish the season in the top six.

READ MORE: What we learned as Manchester City win 20th game in a row against tricky West Ham Utd...

Latest Soccer Videos