Villa hands Leeds 6th straight league loss with 3-0 rout
LEEDS, England (AP) — Aston Villa handed Leeds a sixth straight Premier League loss as Steven Gerrard’s impressive side won 3-0 Thursday at Elland Road.
Philippe Coutinho’s deflected effort gave Villa a halftime lead and the visitors added further second-half goals through Matty Cash and Calum Chambers.
It was Villa’s third straight Premier League win, while American coach Jesse Marsch had a rough first home game in charge .
It’s the first time since February 2004 that Leeds has lost six consecutive league games, and that year ended with relegation from the Premier League.
This was their seventh defeat in their last eight matches and has left them two points above the relegation zone.
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.
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 Countinho’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.
Villa looked the more threatening side until halftime and was 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 was much improved and the home fans rose to their feet in the 59th minute when Patrick Bamford ended his three-month injury layoff by replacing Jack Harrison.
But Cash doubled Villa’s lead soon after 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 Tyrone Mings laid the ball back on the edge of the area, and Chambers swept home a superb third goal into the top corner.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports