By George Overhill

12th Jan, 2023 | 10:30pm

Chris Sutton has predicted that Leeds United will lose their Premier League visit to Aston Villa on Friday night because they “can’t hurt teams”.

Both sides had poor efforts in the FA Cup last weekend, but while the Whites rescued a replay via a Sonny Perkins equaliser at the death in Cardiff on Sunday (8 January), Villa were stunned at home by two late goals from fourth-tier Stevenage to go out.

Despite that, Sutton believes that the home side will win 2-1 at Villa Park when the two teams face off looking to bounce back from their disappointing cup outings.

In his BBC Sport predictions column he said: “Aston Villa had an absolute shocker against Stevenage in the FA Cup. I know Unai Emery made lots of changes, but that defeat really takes the shine off what had been a decent start for him as manager.

“Leeds were lucky not to go the same way thanks to a late fightback against Cardiff and Jesse Marsch was very critical of his players afterwards.

“So, both teams will be looking for a reaction and I am very tempted to go with a draw. I am going to say Villa will edge it, though, because I am still not sure Leeds can hurt teams no matter how hard they try.”

Hardly

The Whites may be wildly inconsistent and nowhere near their best overall since the return from the World Cup, but they have proven they can in fact hurt sides.

Sutton and Leeds United fans have been going back and forth all season so there is every chance that this is the pundit attempting to get a reaction out of the supporters.

Beating Chelsea and Liverpool may not be the achievement it often is based on the struggles that both are having this season, but it can’t be dismissed.

And three goals at Tottenham before the World Cup would have been enough for a result there as well if the defence hadn’t been so accommodating.

However, there is no getting away from the fact that the Whites should have had enough to win the game in South Wales, without requiring Perkins to rescue them late on.

And, their own cup nightmare aside, Villa have looked much-improved since the arrival of Emery so Marsch is going to have to prepare his side for a test.

A return to the regular starting line-up after giving a run out to peripheral players should help, and although he won’t be in the squad the imminent arrival of Georginio Rutter might provide a psychological boost as well.

In other Leeds United news, a member of the club’s leadership council has posted a three-word response as a first-team player completes a permanent exit.