From balletic to brutal but Manchester City clash is more than just a Leeds United 'free hit' - David Prutton

LEEDS United head to runway leaders Manchester City today but go into the game with a chance.

By David Prutton
Saturday, 10th April 2021, 5:45 am

The contest that we saw between the two sides at Elland Road back in October was a fantastic game of football and you can’t really think that Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa is going to change anything at all.

City have got it well within their capabilities to smash Leeds to pieces but Leeds have also got it well within their capabilities to go toe to toe with them and come out with something decent.

It will be a monumental task.

NO HYPERBOLE: About Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne, left, pictured as Leeds United duo Liam Cooper, centre, and Robin Koch, right, look to block his shot at Elland Road. Photo by JASON CAIRNDUFF/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

But as much as you can think of it as daunting, I think from Leeds’ point of view and the players’ point of view, it is one for them to go and enjoy given what they have done so far this season and how close we are to the end of the campaign.

If you are trying to pick out City’s key men then how long is your list?

What they have done is phenomenal and they are a ruthlessly brilliant football team.

They are getting through game after game though you look at the Borussia Dortmund game in mid week and in theory that should have been 2-2.

I can’t for the life of me see what the official saw and how he made that decision to disallow Jude Bellingham’s goal. Not a clue.

When you get into the minutiae and the tactics of it all we know exactly what Pep Guardiola has built and we thoroughly enjoy watching what Pep has built.

But Pep has said himself that City have got the money to buy the best players and he is getting the best out of those best players.

I’m not saying for one second that it makes anything that he has built there straightforward because it’s not.

To motivate superb footballers, very wealthy footballers and ones that have already won quite a fair bit is quite a skill.

But also to make sure that tactically they are set up in a way which can be as balletic but also brutal is a joy to behold.

Pep has mentioned Marcelo in the past and there is a nice bit of respect between the two coaches.

City are a team that can dominate physically as well as dominating with the ball and they have someone in Kevin De Bruyne with whom it is no hyperbole to say he is literally one of the world’s best.

Then there are players across the team that could do you some real damage, coupled with their defence that sometimes last season when you looked at it you thought there was a little bit of shakiness there.

But it’s a defence that even though it is made of world class players who can play, they absolutely love defending which will make it tougher for Leeds.

If you are talking about the game as a ‘free hit’ for Leeds then when somebody says a free hit it is sometimes seen as a passive comment where a lesser team takes on a bigger team in a cup competition or something of that ilk.

But the intensity that Leeds can play at when they are at their absolute best has got the potential to really make sure that Man City go through gears.

The cautionary opinion on it is that if any single one of those players of Leeds United is less than a nine out of ten then it could be brutal.

This could be a small game that plays its part in Man City creating history if they go on to win four trophies which would be absolutely phenomenal really.

But if you are a Leeds fan I think you have to be bolshy enough to think ‘I fancy us a little bit here.’

Whether you then turn around after 15 minutes gone and it’s 3-0 and you say ‘actually I think I went a bit early here’ remains to be seen.

If you had to guess which Leeds United was going to turn up then it’s whether it is the one that can create lots of chances and also score them or the one that creates a fair few chances, misses a few and then not covers themselves in glory at set pieces.

But this already been glorious return to the Premier League for Leeds because they will stay up and staying up is absolutely the right thing to be aiming for.

So why the hell not have a go at Manchester City because with the greatest respect they have dismantled far better teams than Leeds.

That’s not to say that you go there thinking that if we keep it to six then who cares as long as we do our bit.

You go in there and dare I say it go and enjoy yourselves.

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Thank you Laura Collins