When roles were reversed in four-star Leeds United's last win at Manchester City
LEEDS United remain very much the new boys in town ahead of today’s clash at runaway leaders Manchester City.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side might well be riding high in 11th and quite clearly here to stay but the Whites are ultimately still a newly-promoted side.
A newly-promoted side who are seeking their first league win at City since January 2001 - a clash which proved the penultimate fixture between the two at City’s old Maine Road ground.
Times have definitely changed as back then City were the newly-promoted side as David O’Leary’s more established Whites romped to a 4-0 triumph.
Leeds, after all, had been back in the country’s top division since 1990 and then won the thing two years later.
After a dip to mid table in the middle of the decade, Leeds then ended the millennium as one of the country’s most potent forces under David O’Leary and the 1999-2000 season finished with the Whites qualifying for the Champions League in finishing third.
City, meanwhile, were a completely different breed to the superstar outfit of today and had been down in English football’s third tier as recently as the 1998-99 campaign.
Back to back promotions then followed, meaning the 2000-01 campaign was the Manchester side’s first season back in the top flight after a five-year absence.
Their return would prove short lived as Joe Royle’s side were immediately sent back down and Leeds helped put a nail in the coffin with their romp at Maine Road on Saturday, January 3, 2001 in a game featuring seven bookings.
The Whites had not won on the road since August yet City had won just one of their last 13 league games and taken just three points via three draws from their last five and Leeds soon addressed their away day woes.
The opening goal came in the 31st minute as Jason Wilcox was afforded far too much space and burst clear from the left before squaring the ball to Erik Bakke who was also in acres of room.
Bakke then slid a neat low finish past ‘keeper Nicky Weaver and Leeds were on their way to victory, even if a second goal did not arrive until the 80th minute.
A City side that featured former Whites favourite Alf-Inge Haaland failed to muster a single shot on target in the first half but Danny Tiatto went close after the break when storming into the box and unleashing a fierce rising shot that Paul Robinson tipped wide.
The Whites ‘keeper was gaining admiring glances from England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson and his save proved a big one as Leeds then went up the other end and slammed in three goals without reply.
The first of those came from Lee Bowyer who controlled a bouncing ball and powered home a low deflected drive from inside the box after City failed to properly clear a Mark Viduka cross from the right flank.
Ten minutes later, the final stages of the game proved the Robbie Keane show as the recent recruit and still Inter Milan loanee came off the bench for Alan Smith to bag a late brace.
Keane’s first came after a lovely flick from Viduka and through ball from Bowyer which sent the Irishman away and Keane then produced a brilliant deft flick to lob Weaver and put Leeds 3-0 up.
But there was still time for one more as further shoddy City defending but this time to a Bowyer corner led to Keane netting at the second attempt whilst down on the floor at the far post.
A first away win since August was in the bag and also a first league victory in four as O’Leary’s side looked to make a late charge up the table towards the Champions League spots.
"We've lost a lot of ground but if you put a string of results together you can move up the table very quickly," said O'Leary.
Twelve more wins then followed.
Yet Leeds ultimately had to settle for finishing fourth, a point and a place behind Liverpool back when only the top three qualified for the Champions League, of which United made the semi-finals later that same season.
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Thank you Laura Collins