Leeds United can’t find the right Elland Road combination to unlock the defences of the leading Premiership clubs.

Aston Villa added their name to the growing list of sides to leave LS11 with all three points after a drab 1-0 victory on Saturday.

The only Elland Road points Leeds have managed against sides in the current top ten were against champions-elect Manchester City and Arsenal, the Gunners playing with ten men for the vast majority of the second half.

This was United’s sixth home loss of the season and with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham still to visit there could be more defeats on the cards.

Leicester, West Ham, Everton, Wolves, Brighton and now Dean Smith’s side have all won on Leeds’ own patch. The Whites have managed only three goals in those matches and rarely looked like netting against a defensively well-drilled Villa.

Apart from the Brighton game, United have generally done well at home against teams lower in the table and went into the Villa match on the back of successive wins against Crystal Palace and Southampton aiming to move above the visitors. Instead they have slipped down to 11th.

Villa made a positive start with Anwar El Ghazi linking up well with striker Ollie Watkins as Leeds struggled against the visitors’ early press. The pair combined for the goal which settled the contest after five minutes although there was an element of fortune about it.

El Ghazi’s deep corner found Jacob Ramsey who knocked the ball on to Watkins on the edge of the box. The former Brentford man slipped on the unreliable Elland Road surface and his shot turned into a pass which El Ghazi controlled well before slotting past Illan Meslier.

Leeds came back into the game after a shaky start and the first half was not without its bright moments, generally provided by Raphinha, but very little of note happened in the second period.

Villa opted to preserve their lead with midfielders Ramsey and Marvelous Nakamba sitting deep in front of a solid back four superbly marshalled by Tyrone Mings. Frustrated Leeds simply lacked the imagination to find a breakthrough.

Top scorer Patrick Bamford, whose stunning hat-trick gained Leeds victory at Villa Park in October, was nullified. Helder Costa, a surprise starter ahead of Jack Harrison, made little impact, and Tyler Roberts could not find the right pass from the No 10 position. When Harrison replaced Costa, he too could not deliver the required penetration.

Leeds didn’t have an effort on target in the second half, the nearest being a Raphinha header near the end which bounced over the bar.

Villa’s sporadic counter-attacks in the second half came to nothing as Liam Cooper and Diego Llorente were a solid partnership but it was further up the pitch where the main problems lay.

Despite the below-par team performance, Leeds coach Marcelo Bielsa felt his side were unfortunate to lose.

“In the second half, we defended very well. We had the ball almost the whole of the second half, but we created little danger.

“We lost the ball in the final third. All the crosses, passes from out wide, into the centre, were imprecise. In the set-pieces, which we had plenty of, we also didn’t manage to unbalance in this way. To summarise, I think it was a game we did not deserve to lose. I think the draw would have been something more logical.”

Leeds’ next two games are also against sides with reputations of being hard to beat, West Ham at the London Stadium a week today and Chelsea at Elland Road on Saturday, 13 March.

Leeds United: Meslier, Ayling, Llorente, Cooper, Dallas, Struijk (Alioski 53), Klich, Roberts (Hernandez 71), Costa (Harrison 64), Raphinha, Bamford. Subs (not used): Casilla, Davis, Geldhardt, Cresswell, Jenkins, Huggins. Cautions: Roberts, Klich, Hernandez

Aston Villa: Martinez, El Mohamady, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Nakamba, Ramsey (Sanson 79), McGinn, Traore, El Ghazi (Trezeguet 88), Watkins. Subs (not used): Heaton, Taylor, Douglas, Barkley, Engels, Davis, Hayden. Cautions: Targett, El Mohamady

Ref: Peter Bankes Att: Behind closed doors