Leeds United 1 Manchester city 3. A class apart. Leeds held Manchester City till almost half time. Then the class of Haaland and Peps’ devastating one touch attacking football took control. The two goal difference is a fair reflection of how City stopped Leeds from shooting.
Leeds were beaten heavily by Manchester CIty in both matches last season. The quality of City both on the pitch and on the bench is a lot to ask of a Leeds’ team that is newly built but still short of a striker and left back.
Within the first minute Haaland outpaced Cooper and tried to lob over Meslier,who managed to get just enough of a hand to deflect it for Struijk to kick away from goal. A sinister omen for what was to come over the next ninety minutes.
The game then settled down for City to patiently hold the ball until the opportunity to attack; Leeds were nervous passing the ball, generally losing it when moving forward with forwards not there.
Grealish’s antics soon started with the game having to stop while he rolled on the ground and then complained to the referee about no card brandished. He was booed for the rest of his time on the pitch.
In the first half Leeds managed one just shot off target from Gnoto. Gnonto was our main attacking force on the left. Leeds defence held firm until the end of the half. Kristensen was doing a number on Grealish. Greallish is having an awful night missing a number of opportunities.
After Leeds tried to fashion an opportunity to score De Bruyne launched a counter attack leaving Rodri to force Meslier to make a save and then score from the rebound. It is a cruel moment to score at the end of the first half. Leeds ended the first half with 1 shot versus City’s 16 shot. It’s a huge difference. City had 75% possession.
Second half – the match wakes up
Second half started exactly how City wanted it to with a second goal by Haaland. Cooper’s pass to Koch is a mess as Koch is unaware of it allowing Grealish to steal it. Awful defending. The class showed as City go 3-0 up counter attacking from a Leeds’ free kick. City’s one touch play in front of goal is frightening.
Marsch’s response is to shore up the defence and midfield with Klich and Ayling – two players looking to be on their way out of Leeds. Klich’s first contribution is to earn himself a yellow card by fouling Grealish.
Llorente and Gelhardt are on. Struijk gives Leeds some hope with a header in to the net from a Greenwood corner. 3-1. Final sub sees Gyabi come on for the last ten minutes. He makes an immediate and positive impression getting the ball forward.
The match ends with both teams looking for one more goal. Haaland had a one on one with Meslier blocking. Aaronson crossed into the penalty box to Gelhardt whose touch just goes inches wide. Rodri, who struggled with Gnonto all night eventually gets himself a yellow card.
Leeds showed enough spirit to show they can win other matches to stay up.
Man of the Match: Gnonto