Under normal circumstances, pre-season-friendly games are really timid affairs. It’s’friendly’ after all. Teams take time to test the waters before the start of the domestic campaign.
Mostly it is a means for players to improve their fitness levels and adapt to the manager’s playing style demands.
But Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford and Aston Villa’s newest centre-back Diego Carlos clearly didn’t get the memo. During a pre-season-friendly game between the two Premier League rivals, things got a little too heated.
If we rewind a few years, then recent history implies that these two teams aren’t on the ‘friendliest’ of terms.
It all kick-started in the controversial Championship game in 2019 when Leeds scored a goal with a Villa player down injured, thus infuriating fans. This caused then-Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa to order his players to let the opposition players score into an open net. Since that incident, the games between these sides have been tense.
Back then, they were fighting to get promoted into England’s top flight. Nowadays, they’re fighting either to stay up or for a place in the top half of the Premier League table. Their recent-most game wasn’t a league encounter, but one with both sets of players determined to oust one another.
Leeds and Villa were playing out a relatively cagey game that lacked goals, frustrating players and fans alike. Then, things started to boil over in the second half around the hour-mark during an incident between Bamford and Carlos.
Around the 55th minute, both players went to challenge for the ball at the halfway line. But Bamford painfully landed on his back after Carlos bodychecked him to win the ball. The Englishman clearly didn’t like it and was now gunning for some revenge.
Just a minute later when Carlos had the ball in his half, Bamford pressed him down before clattering him with a reckless foul. The Villa defender was infuriated by this and got back up immediately before getting all over Bamford’s face.
The two weren’t shy from voicing their grievances with each other at all. They shared some war of words before furiously pointing fingers at one another’s faces to make their points clear. Bamford was referring to the fact that Carlos recklessly fouled him earlier and that’s why the aggressive challenge came up from him.
Eventually, the Leeds and Villa players would come in to calm the situation and stop things from getting out of hand. There were even some heated words shared between some other players, but things were ultimately cleared up after the intervention of the referee.
The official forced the players to somewhat make up and carry on with the game without wasting much time. But just as they were getting back into their positions, Bamford was still annoyed with Carlos and could be heard telling him something all the while.
Villa might’ve won the friendly by the margin of 1-0, but this war is far from done. One can expect a lot of fireworks to blow over when these two teams meet in the Premier League in October.