Leeds v Manchester City: Bielsa's boys can keep Citizens in-check

Manchester City were stunned last weekend and Leeds will be hoping to pile more misery on the Citizens on Saturday evening. Mark O'Haire oversees the encounter...

Leeds v Manchester City
Saturday October 3, 17:30
Sky Sports

Leeds earn derby success

Patrick Bamford's late header earned Leeds a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Sheffield United in last weekend's Yorkshire derby from Bramall Lane. Both goalkeepers had excelled and the contest appeared to be heading for a stalemate before Bamford rose at the back post to meet Jack Harrison's cross and head in his third goal of the season two minutes from time.

It was just reward for a second half in which the Whites continued to ask questions and looked the more likely to break the deadlock. Leeds showed that they were well capable of grinding out results, in part thanks to a superb save from Illan Meslier in the opening 45 minutes. And Marcelo Bielsa's men were particularly pleased to earn a first clean sheet.

Kalvin Phillips produced a tireless display across the middle of the park and Bielsa's side were thwarted throughout with Luke Ayling, Stuart Dallas, Helder Costa and Bamford all going close before the decisive late strike. Leeds were without key playmaker Pablo Hernandez, who will remain on the sidelines until after the international break.

Man City implode against Leicester

Pep Guardiola suffered his worst home defeat as Manchester City manager after seeing his Citizens' side hammered 5-2 by Leicester last weekend. The Blue Moon appeared in control of proceedings after Riyad Mahrez's superb fourth-minute strike but the ante-post favourites imploded after Leicester levelled from the penalty spot before half-time.

Guardiola said, "We are not strong enough to be stable and patient" but fingers are understandably pointing towards the Catalan coach after another defensive horror show. The Citizens chief shrugged off any unease over dropping points so early in the title race but concerns are being raised amongst Man City supporters over a lack of improvement.

The Blue Moon head to Elland Road this weekend with options again limited in attack. Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero are definitely missing, whilst Raheem Sterling failed to make much of an impact as a false nine with 17-year-old Liam Delap the only natural striker available. City's £65m new signing Ruben Dias could make a debut in central defence.

Whites can stay competitive

It's 16 years since Leeds and Manchester City locked horns in Premier League action. The Whites picked up four points in their relegation campaign over City, earning a 2-1 triumph at Elland Road. The hosts have earned top honours in two of the duos three head-to-head meetings here this century with the Citizens winning here just twice since 1991.

Leeds 9.00 should be licking their lips at the thought of facing Man City. The Whites equipped themselves very well against Liverpool, were quite comfortable against Fulham and edged out Sheffield United last time out. Marcelo Bielsa admits his side are scoring at an unsustainable rate, but the home side are well capable of staying competitive here.

Manchester City 1.37 have impressed in the opening 45 minutes against both Wolves and Leicester, although Pep Guardiola's group have been alarmingly weak out of possession. The visitors weren't regular winners by more than a one-goal margin at mid-table outfits and above last term and may struggle to put this Leeds side to bed with any sort of ease.

With that in mind, I like the idea of backing Leeds with a +1&+2 start - also described as a +1.75 - Asian Handicap at 1.78 knowing we'll earn a pay-out should the Whites win, draw or lose by a solitary strike. We'll also see half our stake returned should Man City prove victorious by two goals exactly at Elland Road.

Goals forecast for Elland Road

Leeds' opening three fixtures have featured plenty of goalmouth action - 15 goals and an average of 3.20 Expected Goals (xG) per-game have kept Whites' watchers well entertained. And so it's no surprise to see Over 2.5 Goals quotes as skinny as 1.40 ahead of Saturday evening's showdown.

Man City have beaten the Over 2.5 Goals line in 70% of their road trips in the Premier League since the start of last season with 12/20 (60%) also banking in the Over 3.5 Goals column and it's difficult to see this meeting failing to fire. However, there's little wriggleroom with prices tight and so I'm happy to swerve the goals markets here.

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