Leeds United vs Manchester City: Premier League Preview and Prediction
Manchester City make their third league outing as they go head-to-head against the newly promoted Leeds United.
The hosts have commenced their top-flight campaign in a very impressive fashion and just four games into the league (fourth against City), a triumph here could make them a part of the top four depending on some other fixtures too.
For City, after a disappointing 19/20 season, on the basis of the standards Pep and Co. have set in the past two years, the Cityzens will try their best to get in control of the title race.
The opening two games have been quite opposite for them in terms of the result but with just two games in the tournament, there’s still a lot to fight for.
Head to Head stats:
Manchester City and Leeds United have only played each other seven times since the turn of the century. Out of those seven games, both sides have won three.
Marcelo Bielsa’s squad have already established a strong personality in the league.
Expressing themselves freely and attacking football is something they’ve always tried to execute irrespective of the match situation and until now, it has worked wonders for the team.
Their opening game of the season against Liverpool was a wonderful one although it ended in the Reds’ favor.
Since then they have grabbed the three points against Fulham and Sheffield United and their next game is surely going to be an interesting one, taking into consideration not just only the squads but a battle between two very good tacticians.
Till now, only the Foxes and Liverpool have managed to fire more than Leeds and for Leeds, everything has boiled down to the form of the forward Patrick Bamford.
The former Chelsea man has been in a league of his own. However, everyone needs to keep in mind that this was very much the story of Teemu Pukki at the beginning of the 19/20 season.
After that, Pukki could not do much for the team and due to lack of cohesion among the players, a run of poor performance saw Norwich City get relegated.
Pep must have felt exasperated after the last weekend as Brendan Rodgers’ man especially Jamie Vardy single-handedly destructed the City backline.
Considering how the teams have been recently performing, Leeds United have won three out of their last four fixtures, drawing and losing one each.
On the other hand, Manchester City have won thrice and lost two of their last five games in all competitions.
Leeds will be without the services of Jack Harrison, who assisted last week’s winner as he is ineligible to play against his parent club.
Pablo Hernandez is also unavailable. There is an opportunity for the newly signed Diego Llorente to make his debut but it is very unlikely as Bielsa would not modify his back line, which kept a cleansheet at Bramall Lane.
On the other side, Guardiola could start his new signing Ruben Dias who arrived from Benfica last Tuesday, considering City’s defensive struggles.
Joao Cancelo is still unfit due to injury and it is the same with Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Kalvin Phillips vs Kevin De Bruyne
Two highly-rated midfielders so far in the league are set to face each other and it only gets better.
De Bruyne already has a goal and an assist to his name and considering his form in the last season, Phillips will have a hard time stopping the Belgian.
Phillips has been very obedient with his role and has played a huge role in maintaining Leeds’ stability. Phillips has been very accurate with his tackling too and his physicality can become very important in terms of not allowing De Bruyne to supply freely.
Considering Bielsa’s knowledge about the game, he will surely have a plan to nullify De Bruyne. However, only time will tell if Phillips will have an important involvement in it.
Patrick Bamford vs Nathan Ake
Patrick Bamford has been in the headlines very often recently. It is justified as he has not scored thrice but also set up one goal in the three games he’s played.
He will be up against Nathan Ake who scored his debut goal for the Cityzens last weekend. Unfortunately, the goal couldn’t be appreciated more as City were already trailing heavily.
Both the players are strong aerially and use their bodies very well too. It will be an interesting battle as Ake will give his best to prove his worth while Bamford will be looking forward to keeping up his form.
There’s no doubt in guessing who are the favorites but what is interesting about the fixture is Leeds’ performance against Liverpool.
City have been poor compared to Liverpool while on the defensive side of things and that is something that killed the game against the Foxes too.
Bielsa will be hoping and plotting to set up his team in a way they make most of the vulnerabilities of the City backline while City will try to avoid any chance that can turn against them later in the game.
Score Prediction: Leeds United 2-3 Manchester City