Patrick Bamford scored his first ever Premier League hat-trick as Leeds United became the first team to beat Aston Villa in the Premier League this season with a 3-0 win.
Villa went into the game with a 100 per cent record in the league so far in 2020-21, and Dean Smith refused to change a winning formula. The manager made no changes from their most recent win over Leicester.
Leeds had to make some enforced changes due to injuries to Kalvin Phillips, Liam Cooper and Diego Llorente. A reshuffle at the back saw Luke Ayling move inside to partner Robin Koch in the centre of defence.
Stuart Dallas and Ezgjan Alioski covered at full-back, while Pascal Struijk stepped forward into defensive midfield to replace Phillips.
Leeds had the first big chance of the match when Bamford headed Alioski’s cross just wide.
There was a wake-up call for Struijk within the first 10 minutes, when the stand-in Leeds midfielder was booked for a foul on Jack Grealish.
The Dutch youth international did not last much longer. Marcelo Bielsa took him off with just 21 minutes played, replacing him with Jamie Shackleton.
Villa went closest to scoring next, when Leeds captain Ayling cleared a shot from Grealish off the line.
Grealish was appealing for a penalty just before half-time when going down under a challenge from Helder Costa. However, after a VAR check, nothing was awarded.
Bamford had another chance for Leeds as the whistle approached – his fifth shot of the half – but the two sides went in at the break all square.
Persistence pays off for Bamford
Once again, Grealish was the biggest threat for Villa early in the second half. The England international weaved his way through the Leeds defence before being thwarted by Illan Meslier at close range.
But it was Leeds who took the lead soon after in the 55th minute, as Bamford’s persistence paid off. The striker reacted after Emiliano Martinez parried Rodrigo’s shot into his path, leaving him with a comfortable finish for his fourth goal of the season.
It brought about the first time Villa have found themselves in a losing position during this Premier League season. But rather than responding with a goal of their own, they quickly conceded another.
Bamford was the scorer again, this time firing home a left-footed effort from outside the box in the 67th minute.
And seven minutes later, Bamford completed his first ever Premier League hat-trick. Martinez could not reach his curled effort, and so he completed his treble in the space of 19 minutes.
3 – Patrick Bamford is the fifth away player to score a Premier League hat-trick at Villa Park after Chris Sutton (1997-98), Robbie Fowler (1998-99), Gareth Bale (2012-13) and Sergio Agüero (2019-20). Wand. pic.twitter.com/PUWojOJjli
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 23, 2020
By getting a hat-trick, Bamford has doubled his tally for the season to six goals. It brings him level with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in third place in the race for the golden boot; only Tottenham’s Son Heung-min and Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin have scored more in the English top flight at this stage.
With the game winding down, Bielsa sent on Pablo Hernandez and summer signing Raphinha as substitutes.
Five minutes of stoppage time were played with no change to the score, meaning Leeds’ positive start to the season since their promotion continues.
At the end of the game, they found themselves rising to third in the table, just two points behind the team they had just beaten. They will likely drop out of the top four after the rest of this weekend’s games, but that won’t take away from the positive mood around the club at present.