Spotlight on Helder Costa as Leeds United winger tops defensive chart against Manchester City

HELDER Costa came into the Leeds United side for his first start in five games against Manchester City and produced a strong display in which he proved a nuisance for Pep Guardiola's hosts.

Sunday, 11th April 2021, 11:49 am
Updated Sunday, 11th April 2021, 11:50 am

Whites head coach Marcelo Bielsa was forced into making one change to his side due to Manchester City loanee Jack Harrison being ineligible to play against his parent club.

Costa was preferred out wide to other available options such as Ian Poveda or potentially Gjanni Alioski stepping forward into a wing spot.

But Costa got the nod and produced an energetic performance, playing a big part in setting up United's first goal as part of a superb 2-1 victory.

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NUISANCE: Helder Costa, right, proved a big problem for Manchester City in their attempts to break Leeds United down in Saturday's clash at the Etihad. Photo by RUI VIEIRA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

Costa had already been asking City questions down the left hand side and then managed to get goal side of Joao Cancelo before poking the ball to Patrick Bamford who squared to Stuart Dallas to fire home a 42nd-minute opener.

The contribution will not go down as an assist and Costa remains on three goals and three assists for the campaign but the 27-year-old had a strong game against the division's runaway leaders and proved particularly vital to United's defensive work.

Costa was unable to provide any attempts at goal as part of a game in which United scored with their only two shots at goal which were both on target and both hit the back of the net from Dallas.

The Whites winger only managed 33 touches of the ball for 1.9 per cent of the game's possession and of his 18 attempted passes, 11 were accurate for a success rate of 61 per cent.

Costa also attempted four dribbles, of which only one was successful and the former Portugal international was dribbled past three times.

But the winger impressed defensively which proved crucial as Leeds played over half of the game with ten men after captain Liam Cooper's dismissal.

Costa continually raced back to recover the ball and attempted seven tackles, of which four were successful - the joint best of any player from either side.

Only City's Joao Cancelo matched that as Costa and Cancelo finished one ahead of Whites pair Luke Ayling and Alioski who were next with three apiece.

The winger was also successful in one of his three attempted aerial battles and definitely showed a different side to his game which in tests such as these can be just as vital.

Harrison seems highly to still come back into the side for United's return to action against Liverpool but Costa did his own prospects to start no harm at all.

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Thank you Laura Collins