Leeds United v Manchester City Cheat Sheet
Leeds United v Manchester City
The final game of the midweek Premier League action sees the reigning champions Manchester City travel to Elland Road to face Leeds United.
Jesse Marsch’s hosts have been up and down this season, completing statement wins over Liverpool and Chelsea, but also falling to defeats against Crystal Palace, Fulham and Brentford. They look likely to be if not in a relegation fight, at least close enough to it to make the remainder of the season uncomfortable.
Leeds have massive injury concerns at the minute, with almost a full starting XI on the sidelines. They are desperately short of options in attack, with Bamford, Rodrigo, Sinisterra, Summerville and Harrison all likely to miss out. Things don’t get much better further back, with Tyler Adams, Stuart Dallas, Klich, Llorente and Illan Meslier also unlikely to feature.
Visitors City meanwhile arrive knowing that they are now eight points behind league leaders Arsenal and have been leapfrogged by Newcastle. They have been in similar positions before and recovered to win titles, so the squad will not be phased, and it is around this time of year where many of Pep’s teams have built up a winning run to take themselves beyond the reach of the competition.
With so many players out injured for the opposition and a near full-strength squad to choose from, Pep Guardiola must be extremely confident heading into this one and bearing in mind how dominant City’s last two games against the Yorkshire outfit have been, this game could get ugly.
With many of the City squad bowing out of the World Cup in disappointing fashion, there were whispers of a hangover perhaps affecting the squad, but a blistering showing against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup put those fears to rest. The team look fired up and I fully expect them to take a comfortable three points here today.
Though Marcelo Bielsa’s side gave City some trouble in their first season back, last season saw City run out 11-0 aggregate winners across their two Premier League games, with a 4-0 win at Elland Road following a 7-0 drubbing at the Etihad. Leeds’ defensive issues have continued to this season, with the side now failing to keep a clean sheet in 11 games.
With City’s performance midweek, and Leeds having conceded seven goals in their last two Premier League games, I am confident that City can overcome the handicap and win by two clear goals at least.
With the visitors looking so likely to dominate, this line may look high but actually may provide some value.
Of the six Premier League games in which Pep Guardiola’s side have managed 7 or more shots on target, they have all come in extremely dominant victories, with the results reading 3-0, 4-0, 4-0, 6-0, 6-3, and the one exception being the 3-3 draw with Newcastle where some great goalkeeping from Nick Pope allowed the Magpies to hold on for a point.
I would not be at all surprised to see a similar scoreline here, and with Leeds having this as their first game back, whilst many of City’s squad seem match-sharp after a tough encounter with Liverpool, they can easily climb towards the 7 shots on target mark if they take control of the game in the way we know they can.
A disjointed Leeds team at home will of course fight hard but City’s quality should shine through, and with goalscoring threat all over the pitch there is every chance that this one will land, and it may even land quite comfortably early in the second half if the game goes as you would expect.
De Bruyne may have failed to impress amidst a tumultuous Belgian World Cup campaign, but he has been having an exceptional year in Blue, and two assists in the 3-2 Carabao Cup win over Liverpool last week show that he is back to his best.
It could and probably should have been three or four assists had his teammates been more clinical as the Belgian whipped in beautiful crosses just beyond the reach of the defence time and time again, leaving some of the best defenders in the world to stand and watch as they could do nothing about them.
He is creating one big chance per game in the Premier League this season, the most of any player, and with Erling Haaland in the box, an assist always looks likely. As seen on the Cheat Sheet above, he tops City’s assist charts with nine in the league alone this season. City look near certain to score goals, and De Bruyne will be at the heart of any move, and though he is a solid bet in any game for an assist, a makeshift Leeds defence could be the perfect opponent for a man with something to prove, like De Bruyne, to make his point.
Koch started the season with 5 consecutive Premier League games without a single foul, yet since then he has made at least one foul in 8 of his last 10 league appearances for Leeds. In five of these eight games Koch has made at least two fouls.
All but two of the games in which Koch has failed to foul any opposition players have been games that Leeds have won, which is unlikely to occur here today. He is only on three yellow cards for the season, so there are no suspension concerns to play on his mind, his only task is to stop possibly the best striker in world football right now, and I am confident that will involve making at least a couple of fouls throughout the 90 minutes.
Koch will also likely be up against Phil Foden and one of Bernardo Silva or Ilkay Gundogan, all players with excellent close control that draw lots of fouls. With some young players around him, Koch could easily be left exposed and with only the suspended Tyler Adams committing more fouls for Leeds this season, this looks like excellent value.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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