Sunday’s slate in the world of English soccer featured a match that had major title implications in the Premier League — Manchester City knocking off Burnley, 1-0, to go to the top of the table — and a pair of matches which could go a long way in determining how the top-6 shakes out, with Leicester City throttling Arsenal, and Manchester United and Chelsea playing one another to a draw. However, none of those are nearly as important as the English League Championship match between Leeds United and Aston Villa, because neither of those involved a gigantic brawl and a squad allowing an uncontested goal.
Here’s what happened: In the 72nd minute of a 0-0 draw, Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodjia went down after a challenge. Since it wasn’t a head injury or something that appeared to be serious, the official didn’t have to stop play, but usually, the opposing team will kick the ball out of play as a show of good sportsmanship. Aston Villa’s players appeared to think Tyler Roberts of Leeds was going to do this, so they took their foot off the gas momentarily.
Roberts, however, played a ball through to one of his teammates, Mateusz Klich, who continued towards goal and slotted a ball in the bottom corner. Just about everyone in a Villa shirt lost their minds over this, and in response, we got a kerfuffle.
We even got a world class flop out of Patrick Bamford of Leeds, which led to Aston Villa’s Anwar El Ghazi getting a red card and sent off.
Every single thing that could have went wrong for Villa in this fracas occurred, but fortunately for them, Leeds United is managed by a wonderfully crazy person named Marcelo Bielsa. While Bielsa legitimately may be the best and most innovative manager in the world (don’t take my word for it), he’s also as unconventional of a person to ever step on the pitch. This is why he told his team to let Aston Villa score, and while some of his players didn’t seem too stoked about it, Albert Adomah drew his side level.
“We just gave the goal back,” Bielsa said after the match, per Deadspin. “The facts are what everyone saw, and we express our interpretation of the facts by doing what we did.