Manchester City are on an incredible streak at the moment and will be looking for their seventh consecutive win when they welcome Leeds United to town. Marcelo Bielsa’s team, on the other hand, will look to recover from the last-gasp disappointment they had to face on their trip to London in the previous round.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City continue to be the dominant side in England. Having played 16 matches thus far, City have won 12 games already and have a single point lead over Liverpool at the top of the Premier League. Ever since the unexpected 0-2 loss at the hands of Crystal Palace in late October, City have won all of their Premier League games thus far.
Even in the Champions League, Manchester City have found it rather straightforward and easy. They finished on top of Group A beating the likes of PSG and RB Leipzig and have been drawn against Sporting Club de Portugal in the Round of 16 fixture.
Leeds United’s three-match unbeaten run would’ve stretched to four games had the referee’s whistle blown a few minutes earlier in the previous match against Chelsea. Jorginho’s late penalty sunk the hearts of their supporters in the dying moments of the game. The upcoming trip to Etihad Stadium will be a test of the character of the players against the defending Premier League champions.
Both Pep Guardiola and Marcelo Bielsa are visionaries who believe in the philosophy of playing free-flowing and attractive football with a lot of emphasis on building out from the back and passing. Bielsa had the better of Guardiola last season as they held City to a 1-1 draw at home and then defeated them 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium. With that being said, Leeds are a far cry from last season’s team and even a point against the table-toppers will do wonders for their morale.
Without further ado, let’s take a deep dive into what to expect from both the teams in this fixture:
MANCHESTER CITY IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE SO FAR THIS SEASON
Manchester City’s previous outing against Wolverhampton Wanderers had its fair share of controversies. From Raul Jimenez’s silly red card to the controversial penalty awarded against Joao Moutinho to Raheem Sterling scoring his 100th Premier League goal from the spot, there was plenty to talk about from City’s hard-fought win over Wolves.
City are a point clear of Liverpool and two points clear of Chelsea at the top of the table after 16 rounds of fixtures. Pep Guardiola would be wise to utilize the impressive squad depth of his side going into the tricky Christmas period of the season where fatigue and injuries often play an important role.
City’s resilient defence has stood out this season and they’ve conceded only nine goals in the Premier League. The reigning champions have conceded only thrice at the Etihad Stadium and have kept clean sheets on six occasions.
PREDICTED LINEUP AND TACTICS AGAINST LEEDS UNITED
Ferran Torres is expected to be unavailable for the remainder of the month while Ilkay Gundogan is also a major doubt for this clash. Joao Cancelo will not be able to take part in this fixture due to the accumulation of yellow cards and Kyle Walker should take his place instead.
Phil Foden is expected to play a False 9 role with Sterling and Mahrez on either wing. Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva are expected to pull the strings in midfield.
Probable Playing XI (3-4-1-2): Ederson; Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, Oleksandr Zinchenko; Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Bernardo Silva; Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden
LEEDS UNITED IN PREMIER LEAGUE SO FAR THIS SEASON
If defensive solidity has been the bright shining spot in Manchester City’s season so far, it has been a calamitous facet of Leeds United’s game. The Whites have conceded 25 goals this season and with an offence hamstrung by injuries, they’ve also lacked vital goals.
Three penalties proved to be decisive in the match against Chelsea recently. Raphinha opened the scoring from the spot while Mason Mount silenced the travelling supporters. Meanwhile, two Jorginho penalties on either side of Joe Gerhaldt’s 83rd minute leveller proved to be the final nail in the coffin of Leeds United.
The fact that they had to return home empty-handed might’ve been harsh but results at the bottom went their way and therefore, the Whites continue to occupy the 15th position in the league and are six points clear of the relegation zone.
Although the loss against Chelsea was their second in eight Premier League games, but they have only managed one win in their last eight matches away from home.
PREDICTED LINEUPS AND TACTICS AGAINST MANCHESTER CITY
Important players in Patrick Bamford, Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper continue to be unavailable for selection. To make matters worse, Rodrigo is struggling with heel pain and his participation here is doubtful.
Robin Koch is also dealing with illness according to reports while Pascal Strujik’s name was withdrawn from the squad list against Chelsea at the last minute.
Probable Playing XI (4-3-3): Illan Meslier; Diego Llorente, Stuart Dallas, Luke Ayling, Junior Firpo; Jamie Shackleton, Adam Forshaw; Raphinha, Jack Harrison, Daniel James; Tyler Roberts
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