Two home games in a row presented Leeds, under Jesse Marsch, with a perfect opportunity to resurrect their survival chances and to inject some positivity into their season.
However, the way they crumbled against Aston Villa demonstrated that Leeds’s survival chances are arguably at their slimmest and Marsch’s options at their thinnest.
They started the game in an energetic manner but when Phillipe Coutinho’s effort deflected off Pascal Strujik and into the net, the crumble that followed felt inevitable and routine.
Patrick Bamford and Joe Gelhardt were brought on for the second half to boost Leeds’s previously uninspiring attack, but this failed to create the requisite impact. Instead, their defence looked porous, attack toothless and midfield non-existent.
Aston Villa’s 2nd goal followed when Matty Cash was left unmarked and finished to essentially consign Leeds to yet another defeat. This also once again, cruelly demonstrated the terribleness of Leeds United’s defending. It was exposed time after time in the second half by Aston Villa especially Coutinho and John McGinn.
The 3rd, a wonderful goal by Callum Chambers, came on 73 minutes and prompted a mass exodus out of Elland Road. The fact that Aston Villa felt able to substitute Coutinho with Emiliano Buendia showed the nature of their comfort.
The rest of the second half was routine for Aston Villa but torture for Leeds, for whom the Championship is beckoning.
The decision not to strengthen or sign in January was made even more nonsenical. Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper watched on, pain etched upon their faces.
The final whistle sounded on the game and possibly Leeds’s season. A passionate and loyal fanbase let down by the owners.