Man City's Jack Grealish grins at pelters, bad day for Leeds United trio and off-camera moments

Burnley's dramatic comeback victory and the Elland Road atmosphere during Leeds United's heavy defeat to Manchester City made for a bewildering afternoon of Premier League football.

By Graham Smyth
Sunday, 1st May 2022, 11:40 am

At full-time you would have been forgiven for thinking Jesse Marsch's men had pulled off the most unlikely of results, such was the noise inside the ground.

Marsch felt it was a 'win in many ways' but the table took on a sinister look and with injuries mounting again, Leeds' season is going to have the nerviest of finishes.

Here's the YEP take on an eventful day at Elland Road.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

Good day

Jack Grealish

The former Aston Villa man isn't well liked by a large section of the Leeds fanbase, but he enjoys playing at Elland Road. Pelted for 90 minutes with the scrunched up paper that had earlier formed the East Stand's 'Yorkshire' tifo, Grealish responded with a massive smile. Others in the top flight would have made an issue of it. He wasn't at his absolute best for Manchester City - Stuart Dallas was giving as good as he got against the dribbler until injuring himself - but at times he was excellent. The number of free-kicks he wins might madden opposition supporters but the way he glides with the ball draws defenders into contact. A highly gifted individual.

Joe Gelhardt

TAKING PELTERS - Jack Grealish was pelted with the paper left over from Leeds United's East Stand tifo during Manchester City's 4-0 Elland Road win. Pic: Getty

Another cameo off the bench, another case of the youngster making things happen. His through ball for Daniel James was lovely and deserved to become an assist. Only a sublime Ederson save denied the teenager a goal. The evidence that Jesse Marsch needs to give Gelhardt more minutes is mounting all the time.

Bad day

Stuart Dallas

Dallas leaving the ground on a stretcher, in visible agony, was an incredibly distressing sight. This season, like last season, he has had to play through the pain barrier at times and put his body on the line for his club. His willingness to risk his own health in search of the ball cost him dearly against Manchester City. The support he received during a personal tragedy earlier this season further strengthened what was already a special bond between the player and the Leeds fans, and they will back him to the hilt through this as well.

Liam Cooper

The captain's afternoon didn't even get started before it was over. A 'weird sensation' in his knee forced him out of the warm-up and forced Marsch into a late, late change to the line-up. This season has been a frustrating one for Cooper and his loss was difficult for Leeds, as it has been so often.

Rodrigo

Couldn't offer solutions to the problem of keeping possession in the opposition half. Too many loose touches or giveaways.

Number of the day

17

Manchester City intercepted the ball 17 times, chiefly because Leeds passed the ball behind or ahead of intended targets far too often. Sloppiness in possession in City's half of the pitch ruined what could have key moments in the game for the hosts.

Turning point

The second

Once the first goal went in it became a different game and a different challenge for Leeds but they responded pretty well to it. The second goal was a killer, though, because there was no way the Whites were going to score twice playing the way they were on the ball in the opposition half.

Off-camera moments

Cooper leaving the warm-up with a physio and heading down the tunnel prompted Marsch to appear on the pitch to give Mateusz Klich the nod as Leeds reshuffled.

Kalvin Phillips complaining about a lack of a free-kick for a challenge on Raphinha, then turning to Paul Tierney in disgust as the referee blew almost immediately for a foul on a visiting player. Phillips did a fair bit of moaning at the official, whose performance didn't feel consistent throughout, and he wasn't the only one. The Leeds dugout had lots of back and forth with fourth official David Coote, which eventually brought a yellow card for Marsch, with Cameron Toshack on the scene as well. An incident that seemed to bring things to a head was when a ball was kicked into the stand, the Leeds bench produced another ball and the hosts tried to take a quick throw-in before the officials stopped them and demanded the original match ball. Marsch's other assistant, Franky Schiemer, was incredibly animated after that in his dialogue with Coote.

Players from both sides found themselves either showered with or distracted by the paper left behind from the East Stand tifo. Grealish had it worst but Raphinha didn't take kindly to a paper ball landing by his feet just as he prepared to take a second half corner. The Brazilian remonstrated with the crowd before a placatory gesture. At full-time he and his team-mates, along with Marsch, made it clear just how much they appreciated what was an incredible level of support from the home fans.