Leeds United vs Manchester City
Leeds United have clearly been one of the most impressive teams in the young Premier League season. They’ve won two of their first three matches, and in the game they lost, they pushed reigning champions Liverpool to the limit at Anfield.
The Whites will now face another top title contender in Manchester City, who are coming off a demoralising 5-2 home defeat to Leicester City that the Premier League 2020 odds clearly didn’t see coming.
Can Bielsa’s side continue their strong early-season form and make life difficult for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City?
Leeds won’t be afraid to attack City
Although, there could very easily have been much more goals in that game. The two sides combined for 31 shots, and Leeds had nine shots on target. Meanwhile, Leeds keeper Ilan Meslier made some amazing saves to keep his first clean sheet of the season.
It seems clear that Leeds still have a lot of work to do to improve their defence, which has conceded at least 14 shots in all three of their matches. Based on their early-season performances, it’s hard to see them completely containing City’s prolific attack.
However, City have shown that they too have some major issues at the back that a team like Leeds could exploit.
As Leeds proved in their match against Liverpool, they are not afraid to press high against even the best teams in the Premier League. Marcelo Bielsa will look to put pressure on City, which could lead to good goalscoring opportunities. Leeds are also quite capable on the counter-attack, and they will look to capitalise on City’s high defensive line.
Patrick Bamford will continue to lead that Leeds attack and test City’s centre-backs. Bamford is one of the most in-form strikers in the league at the moment and has already produced a number of Premier League 2020 highlights with three goals in his first three games.
City still have defensive concerns
Manchester City are through to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup after a convincing 3-0 win over Burnley. Raheem Sterling starred with two goals and an assist to Ferran Torres, who got his first goal for his new club.
That City performance a major improvement from their disastrous showing in their 5-2 defeat to Leicester last weekend.
Pep Guardiola fielded a surprisingly strong side against Burnley, with the likes of Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, and Kevin De Bruyne, and Fernandinho all starting. It now remains to be seen whether the 35-year-old Fernandinho will start against Leeds after he played all 90 minutes in midweek.
Fernandinho’s absence in midfield could see even less solidity in a City defence which continues to show the problems they had last season.
They’ve brought in another new centre-back in Ruben Dias from Benfica, but Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake are likely to be City’s starting centre-back partnership at Elland Road.
Despite the question marks surrounding the City defence, their attack remains quite dangerous. Sterling has finally gotten off the mark this season and will like his chances to get more goals against a Leeds backline that has also looked shaky.
The return of Bernardo Silva, who came on as a substitute against Burnley, will also give Guardiola another capable attacking option.
With Leeds out of the top flight for so long, these two sides have squared off just 13 times since 1993. Leeds actually have a slight advantage in wins (5-4) while there have been four draws.
They have met just once in 16 years. Manchester City ran out 5-0 winners in their fifth-round FA Cup tie back in 2013. Their last Premier League meeting came in 2004, where Leeds picked up a 2-1 win at Elland Road.
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