Are you a child of the Seventies? The flashing blue diamonds on the BT Sport Box Office holding screen will give you one hell of a Proustian rush. Well worth £15 of anyone’s money.
Aston Villa are very much in If It Ain’t Broke mode. Having won their first four games of the season, they stick with the XI named for the win at Leicester last Sunday.
Leeds must make do without the injured Kalvin Phillips. Pascal Struijk moves up from defence to deputise; Ezgjan Alioski comes in as the only change to the XI sent out for the defeat by Wolves on Monday evening.
Aston Villa: Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Douglas Luiz, McGinn, Trezeguet, Barkley, Grealish, Watkins.
Subs: Steer, Hourihane, Traore, Nakamba, Engels, Elmohamady, Davis.
Leeds United: Meslier, Dallas, Ayling, Koch, Alioski, Struijk, Helder Costa, Klich, Rodrigo, Harrison, Bamford.
Subs: Poveda, Roberts, Casilla, Raphinha, Hernandez, Davis, Shackleton.
Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire).
Saturday 20 August 2011. Goals from Gabriel Agbonlahor, Emile Heskey and Darren Bent give Alex McLeish’s Aston Villa a tidy 3-1 win over Blackburn Rovers, and after two matches they find themselves top of the Premier League table. But the very next day, Manchester City win 3-2 at Bolton Wanderers, leapfrogging to the summit, and Villa have never been back there since.
They could end that long wait this evening. A draw tonight, at home to Leeds United, would be enough to send them to toppermost for the first time in nine years. However, brimful of confidence as the only team left in the Premier League with a 100 percent record, they’ll be looking for more than that. Having started with four successive wins for the first time since 1930-31, they could go one better than Pongo Waring’s old lot and make this the grand old club’s fastest start of all time.
Leeds will fancy their chances too. Not least because their last visit to Villa Park, in December 2018, saw them come from two goals down after 17 minutes to win 3-2, Kemar Roofe claiming the last-minute decider. The last meeting between the clubs was even more memorable, Marcelo Bielsa sportingly agreeing to let Albert Adomah score uncontested after Mateusz Klich put Leeds ahead when Villa had a man down injured. The resulting 1-1 draw confirmed Sheffield United’s promotion, but let’s not get bogged down in detail.
So while Villa can go top, Leeds will rise to third if they win, for a day at least. There’s plenty on the line for both of these impressive sides, then. It should be a cracker. It shouldn’t cost £14.95 on top of your already pricy subscription. It’s on!
Kick off: 8pm.