Leeds United succumb to Phil Foden and champions Manchester City

Of the myriad ways to lose a game to champions Manchester City, conceding twice from set-pieces is probably the most maddening.

Yet that is what Leeds United contrived to manage on Saturday evening as Jesse Marsch’s side - for all their blood and thunder - failed to slow City down in their nip and tuck Premier League title race with Liverpool.

City edged back ahead of their Merseyside rivals with a 4-0 win, while at the bottom, a first defeat in six games for Marsch’s men coupled with another gutsy win from Burnley over Watford, means Leeds are still nervously looking over the shoulders at relegation.

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If Everton were to win their two games in hand - starting tomorrow at home to Chelsea - Leeds would find themselves in the bottom three with four games to play.

Manchester City's Nathan Ake celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Leeds United and Manchester City at Elland Road. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Harsh on the evidence of the last month, even on Saturday when they fought gamely to the very end, but old habits die hard, like that susceptibility from set-pieces.

City have enough weapons to cause problems on the ground in Raheem Sterling. Gabriel Jesus, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden, before demonstrating how they can win games from dead-ball situations.

Foden was the architect with his wand of a left foot, first with a 12th-minute outswinging free-kick that Rodri glanced home after darting in front of Kalvin Phillips.

And then with a right-wing corner that Ruben Dias headed down into the path of Nathan Ake to poke home on 54 minutes.

Leeds United's Stuart Dallas is stretchered off after picking an injury during the Premier League match at Elland Road, (Picture: PA)

By the time Foden had created a third goal, playing in Jesus to take a touch and fire home on 78 minutes, the game was up.

There were other periods of alarm, Pascal Struijk doing brilliantly to throw himself in from of a goalbound Sterling shot, but otherwise Leeds were not victims of a relentless wave of dark blue shirts.

If anything they had good chances themselves, not least Rodrigo as early as the third minute when Joao Cancelo fell and he had the freedom of Elland Road to run into but chose to pass to the quicker Raphinha too late.

Raphinha himself cut in menacingly from the right and had a shot deflected over in the second half.

In the dying embers Dan James went through, rounded Ederson but saw his effort cleared off the line by Cancelo.

Joe Gelhardt forced a fine save from Ederson as Leeds continued to push for a consolation to reward the unwavering support from the terraces.

By then the crowd were on their feet chanting ‘We all love Leeds’ so vociferously that the Manchester City’s fans celebrations when Fernandinho drove home a fourth in stoppage time were barely audible.

A real worry - other than the predicament at the foot of the table - was the nasty looking injury sustained by Stuart Dallas at the end of the first half when he tore into a challenge on Grealish and had to be stretchered off.