Preview and Prediction
Manchester City’s early campaign this season does not seem to go as planned. It might be only two games but the latest result already raises doubts on Guardiola’s future in Etihad. This weekend the former Barcelona and Bayern boss need to go through his analysis again and return to their winning ways while taking on Leeds United on the road. The burden to win will definitely give more pressure to Raheem Sterling and Co than the host under Marcelo Bielsa, the figure Guardiola admires. The Premier League winner in 1991/92 season has been quite impressive so far despite their unfortunate loss in Anfield on matchweek 1.
The teams’ previous games
Leeds continued picking up three points last weekend while visiting Sheffield. They thumped the Blades 1-0 with Patrick Bamford scored the only goal of the match through his bouncing header. However, the real decisive figure of their victory was not the striker but Illian Meslier who made a number of vital save between the sticks.
Meanwhile, The Citizens were stunned while playing host against Leicester City. They were hammered 2-5 at their own home turf. They took an early lead by Riyad Mahrez’s strike on the 4th minute. However, the black clouds shrouded their face as Jamie Vardy responded by his hattrick. Afterwards, James Maddison’s long striker gave The Foxes a rare three-goal cushion against Guardiola’s men. Nathan Ake managed to score a lifeline not long after but Youri Tielemans’ successful penalty restored their three-goal lead again
Marcelo Bielsa normally is in favour of 4-1-4-1 formation but he could simply transform it to 3-1-4-2 like he did in Bramall Lane last week or the regular 4-3-3. Patrick Bamford is certainly the key man upfront. On both flanks, Helder Acosta and Jack Harrison will be delivering crosses or taking long shots whenever possible to bring more threats to the opponent’s defence. There are several senior names on the injury table such as Kiko Casilla, Pablo Hernandez and Gaetano Berardi who have to miss out this exciting clash.
Pep Guardiola, on the other hand, needs to be cautious in deploying his tactics. His concerns at the moment is surely the crisis on the forward since Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva are all ruled out alongside Ilkay Gundogan, Joao Cancelo and John Stones. Perhaps employing Phil Foden as false nine could work in 4-6-0. Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling will be operating on both wings.
Players to watch
Leeds’s forward Patrick Bamford is the main scorer of the team. He has bagged three goals and provided one assist so far. In the midfield, Kalvin Phillips is the key figure to hold the defensive line before penalty box as well as initiate the attack. Another notable name to watch is the winger Jack Harrison.
Meanwhile, Kevin de Bruyne is still the anchor of The Citizens’ attack while Phil Foden will be pushed forward as the false nine to create space for others. Some other key men to watch are the Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte.
Leeds United vs Manchester City Prediction
This fixture might be seen more as the battle between Bielsa and Guardiola, two respected figures in tactical development. It will be a real test for Guardiola who is going through a tough start in his fifth season. The home side might have less pressure to secure a win than Kevin de Bruyne and Co who are expected to gain maximum points here. Yet, considering Bielsa’s men’s positive form lately, with only one unfortunate loss against Liverpool, the game might end in tie, or even a narrow win for them.
Although the game might be even, the punters seem to still put Manchester City as the favourite. They are backed to win at 1.32, which is much higher than Luke Ayling and Co’s odds to win, which are at 8.90. The odds for a draw result are at 5.50.