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28-year-old not good enough: Three things we learned about Aston Villa in defeat against Leeds

COMMENT By Harvey Byrne

Football Insider analyses three talking points from Aston Villa’s 2-0 defeat against Leeds in the Championship on Saturday.

Rudy Gestede is not good enough for the club

Benin international Rudy Gestede was given a start upfront for Villa on Saturday, possibly with the African Cup of Nations in the back of Steve Bruce’s mind. However, the 28-year-old did nothing to convince that he could step in for departing attackers Albert Adomah, Jonathan Kodjia and Jordan Ayew when needed to. Saturday’s performance showed that Gestede is well below the quality of replacing the African trio and the club may need to delve into the forward market in January in order to maintain their high qualities.

Lack of killer instinct in midfield

A midfield trio of Ashley Westwood, Mile Jedinak and Gary Gardner is solid, but unspectacular. The midfield area was in desperate need of some drive and a creative spark against Leeds, but the three central midfielders lacked these qualities. The club has been missing a quality box-to-box player since Fabian Delph quit the club for Manchester City in 2015 and it is now time they fixed the missing piece from their team if they are serious about promotion. Jack Grealish will provide more attacking flair in the centre, while 21-year-old Aaron Tshibola is another possibility.

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Play-offs is best Villa can hope for

The defeat has left Aston Villa someway down the league table in 15th place. They are now 14 points from the automatic promotion spots with Newcastle and Brighton five points clear at the top. They are unlikely to drop too many more points and if they do the gap is too much for Villa to make up. Bruce has started well as manager of the club, but Robert di Matteo’s poor start has left the club with too much ground to make up on their competitors. The Midlands giants are now six points behind the play-offs too, but with 27 matches left there is still enough time for them to secure a position between sixth and third.

In other Aston Villa news, here are how the players were rated against Leeds.