Manchester City v Leeds United: YEP Jury give their big-match predictions
Our panel of fans look ahead to Leeds United’s trip to Premier League leaders Manchester City tomorrow lunchtime.
As we approach the business end of the season, the games continue to come thick and fast.
Seemingly just points from safety, Leeds United find themselves playing three of the Premier League’s big guns back to back.
First up is the small matter of a trip to the Etihad – easy.
Manchester City have the best home record in the division, winning 10 points more than West Ham United who have the second-best home statistic.
Similarly, City have won 27 of their last 28 games in all competitions.
I’ll reiterate – easy.
City have the power to devastate even the best teams so there should be no questions asking if Marcelo Bielsa will change his style.
United’s best chances should again come on the break, with Raphinha having the pace to really worry Pep Guardiola’s defence.
A win at Eastlands is a big ask for any side but three points tomorrow would almost rubber stamp United’s safety.
Prediction: Manchester City 3 Leeds United 0.
Tomorrow lunchtime’s kick off against the runaway league leaders will be another that goes down as a ‘free hit’, but should make for a fascinating encounter between two teams with similar styles managed by coaches who respect each other deeply.
It’s fair to say City will be crowned Premier League champions – holding a 14-point gap at the top – and most of their performances this season have justified the gulf in class between them and the rest. When the sides met at Elland Road in September, though, the Whites were the better side for two-thirds of the match and were full value for the 1-1 draw. However, it would be a huge ask for that feat to be repeated.
What may help Leeds is the fact that the contest lies between City’s two crucial Champions League quarter-final ties against Dortmund, meaning the Blues may choose the ‘less-significant’ match at the weekend to rotate their squad.
Saying this, City’s second-string side would probably still win the title comfortably.
It’s another chance for us to test ourselves against the very best and, with last weekend’s victory taking us beyond the 40-point mark, putting on a good show without any points might be the most realistic outcome.
Prediction: Manchester City 3 Leeds United 1,
City have Champions League games against Dortmund either side of Leeds and Pep Guardiola will give fringe players a chance as he did last week at Leicester City where they won 2-0 to go 14 points clear at the top of the Premier League.
Leeds have to make at least one change to the team that beat Sheffield United last Saturday; Jack Harrison cannot play against his parent club owing to the terms of his loan agreement between the two clubs.
Helder Costa can come in or Tyler Roberts could move to the wing and, if recovered, Mat Klich might move into midfield.
Apart from that I cannot see any changes with Marcelo Bielsa sticking with Diego Llorente and Liam Cooper at centre-back.
It would be absolutely superb to get something from the game, but it’s a tough test because, even if City played their entire second XI, they would still have a strongish side out.
A point is the best I can hope for but I see City being too strong. That said, I don’t see them beating Leeds by more than two and fancy United to get a goal at the Etihad.
Prediction: Manchester City 3 Leeds United 1,
Manchester City can win all four trophies this season; Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, and Champions League. Leeds visit the Etihad in the wake of their impressive win over Borussia Dortmund – Erling Haaland included – earlier this week.
City have so many top-class players it’s hard to know who will play but, to be honest, it makes little difference to the challenge we face.
We will be without City loanee, Jack Harrison, who has to sit this one out under the terms of his loan agreement and that is a big loss.
City have won 18 of their last 19 League games, 27 of their last 28 in all competitions and they’ve lost only three games all season.
They are, quite simply, a class apart. I remember only too vividly our most-recent trip to the Etihad, a 4-0 defeat in the FA Cup in 2013.
Initially full of hope, we conceded to a Yaya Toure goal inside five minutes.
Toure has gone but Sergio Aguero got two that day and he’s still there. Do I believe we can win? Of course I do! Do I think we will? You are joking!
Prediction: Manchester City 3 Leeds United 1.
The month of March was light on matches for Leeds United but good for results with seven points gained out of a possible nine.
The return of key players is giving them a more settled look in defence without taking anything away from their fast-flowing play going forward. Tomorrow will give the Whites an opportunity to pit their wits against the undisputed best team in England.
After a slow start to the Premier League campaign, City have shown a clean pair of heels to the rest of the contenders.
They still have an air of invincibility about them in both domestic cups and they showed their resilience on Tuesday evening as they regained their lead against Dortmund after being hit with a late equaliser.
Far from weakening them, their battles on all four fronts seem to be strengthening their resolve as they reach the conclusion of a fine season.
All of this leaves United with a steep hill to climb at the weekend but they will take on their task without any fear.
Prediction: Manchester City 2 Leeds United 2.
Our home fixture with Manchester City was almost a modern day classic with both teams going at each other full pelt in the gloom of an autumnal Saturday evening in Leeds.
The analogy of two heavyweight boxers going at each other is perhaps overused but the fact it was invoked at all that night shows just how far Leeds have come in a very short period of time.
But the truth is that both sides are giants of the English game with clear peaks and troughs in their histories and nobody would deny that Marcelo Bielsa and Pep Guardiola are heavyweights of the managerial world.
Their relationship will no doubt be subject of much discussion in the run up to and throughout tomorrow’s game.
I don’t think we have any right to expect that we will take more points from the champions elect and I can see another difficult 90 minutes ahead in Manchester albeit with a slightly more narrow margin of defeat.
Let’s hope I’m wrong, it won’t be the first time!
Prediction: Manchester City 4 Leeds United 2.
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