Leeds United continue to light up the Premier League after dazzling show against Manchester City

Elland Road.Elland Road.
Elland Road.
IT was a game that thoroughly lived up to the pre-match hyoe and was a joy to watch on a wretched autumnal day.

Stylish, hugely entertaining, intense and thoroughly befitting of two titans of football management in Marcelo Bielsa and Pep Guardiola. A game that you could feast upon and not take your eyes off. The most compelling of draws..

A wonderful game of football ended - rightly - with the honours shared as Leeds continue to make themselves thoroughly at home back in the top flight and beguile not just their own supporters - but countless neutrals - with their play.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It could have yielded a famous victory, with Rodrigo firing an equaliser close to the hour just three minutes after coming on with the £26m striker later denied by a magnificent save by Ederson, who tipped his header onto the bar. He also struck the woodwork on a separate occasion.

City had drawn first blood through Raheem Sterling and threatened at a hatful early on. But Leeds showed they possess a strong jaw and rallied superbly.

The school of thought that it could be a decent time to face City - with questions asked of their defence after a 5-2 defeat against Leicester - was shredded on the evidence of the opening twenty minutes.

City's opening was relentless and ultra-intense and in the best traditions of a Guardiola-managed side.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It yielded one goal, but could have yielded a couple more as they gorged on 62 per cent of possession.

Leeds had no option but to hang in there. They did just that and regrouped well against a City side - featuring a new-look central defensive duo with record £65m signing Ruben Dias partnering Aymeric Laporte - who did not overly convince at the back.

Indicative of their hearty response was the fact that Leeds topped the possession count with over fifty per cent by the break.

Two good chances were also afforded them, but they found a resolute last line of defence in City keeper Ederson.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Brazilian made a key save to deny Stuart Dallas after nice play by Patrick Bamford, Mateusz Klich and Helder Costa and moments before the interval, he produced another smart block to thwart Luke Ayling.

Gjanni Alioski also should had done better, heading over following a succulent cross from Ayling - but at the other end, Leeds were indebted to the fact that City did not overly cash in on their early dominance.

It looked ominous after a brilliantly-disguised free-kick from Kevin De Bruyne caught Ilan Meslier napping in the fourth minute, with the effort smacking against the post.

City had joy - too much joy - from set-plays with Dias and Laporte planting good opportunities off target with Dallas saving the day on 15 minutes when he blocked Ferran Torres's effort on the goal after Sterling had too much sorcery for Ayling.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Sterling would fare better on 19 minutes when City seized upon loose play from the hosts.

Meslier's clearance was weak and it was compounded by the fact that Liam Cooper over-elaborated and lost possession with Sterling played in on the right before waltzing past a couple of challenges and clinically firing the ball home.

What he witnessed in the second half of the opening period would have been more to Bielsa's liking and moreso on the resumption.

An interval change saw him hand a chance to Ian Poveda against his old club and he was instantly into action with his cross finding Bamford, who was denied by an important challenge by Dias.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The intensity and conviction of Leeds - who switched Costa to the left - was much improved on their tough opening as they took the game to City with Bielsa's second change reaping a harvest.

Rodrigo fired a warning when he smacked a shot against woodwork from a narrow angle before paying back the first installment on his big fee by tucking away the rebound after Ederson punched the ball against team-mate Benjamin Mendy following Phillips's corner.

It was the sixth goal that Leeds have scored from set-pieces this term.

Leeds were taking the game to their feted hosts with Phillips firing at Ederson as the hosts scented blood and City looked more inhibited.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Rodrigo's immense introduction then saw him denied by a blinding save from Ederson, who redeemed himself from his faux pas to tip the substitute's header onto the crossbar.

Sterling almost nicked a goal at the other end as Meslier blocked at his feet as play swung from end to end.

It was Guardiola who had more concerns and that much was evident by the appearances of Nathan Ake and Fernandinho from the bench.

Sterling nearly won it late on, but a draw was about right.

Leeds United: Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Cooper, Dallas; Phillips, Costa, Klich (Davis 77), Roberts (Rodrigo 56), Alioski (Poveda 45); Bamford. Substitutes unused: Caprile, Llorente, Struijk, Shackleton.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Mendy (Ake 71); Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Foden; Mahrez (Fernandinho 77), Sterling, Torres (Bernardo 65). Substitutes unused: Steffen, Stones, Delap, Palmer.

Referee: M Dean (Wirral).

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.