Match Report

City return to summit after stern Leeds test

City return to summit after stern Leeds test
Premier League
Premier League
Sat 30 Apr
0
4
Rodrigo 
(13'),  
Nathan Ake 
(54'),  
Gabriel Jesus 
(78'),  
Fernandinho 
(93')
View highlights
City ensured Liverpool’s stay at the Premier League summit was brief following a hard-earned but ultimately comfortable 4-0 victory over Leeds United.

The home side gave as good as they got in a physical, high-octane War of the Roses, but City gradually took control with goals from Rodrigo, Nathan Ake, Gabriel Jesus and Fernandinho sealing victory.

What happened?

In the tinderbox atmosphere of Elland Road, it was vital City got off to a solid start and quieten down the home support as quickly as possible.

Yet a slip by Joao Cancelo inside the Leeds half allowed Rodrigo (Leeds’ Rodrigo) to steal the ball and race clear towards goal – but with Raphinha racing into the box, the Spaniard held the ball too long and the chance was snuffed out.

However, City recovered well and were ahead on 12 minutes.

Raheem Sterling won a free-kick on the left of the Leeds box and Phil Foden’s superb free-kick was glanced home by Rodrigo.

Leeds began to cause one or two concerns, with a high energy press offering little space or time for the Blues to dominate possession.

The longer the half went on, the more important it became for the Blues to reach half-time with the clean sheet intact.

There were too many misplaced passes from City and the play was often uncharacteristically rushed and scrappy, though that was largely down to Leeds’ endeavours in the opening 45.

It was turning into a energy-sapping contest for both teams and the urgency for City to get a second goal and something of a cushion was growing by the minute – and nine minutes after the restart, Ake provided exactly that.

Again, it came from a Foden set-piece – this time a corner – knocked deep into the Leeds box for Ruben Dias to nod down and Ake to sweep home from a couple of yards out with 64 minutes on the clock.

It knocked the stuffing out of Leeds, but credit to the home side who rallied for a 10-minute spell that, had it resulted in a goal, might have made for an edgy last 15 minutes or so.

As it was, City instead caught Leeds on the counter, the outstanding Foden fed Gabriel Jesus and the in-form Brazilian thumped the ball home from eight yards to seal victory on 78.

And there was still time for a fourth goal as both sides missed chances in the time that remained as Fernandinho, on as a late sub, drilled home from 20 yards on the day he posted a new Premier League record for the most appearances by a Brazilian.

The perfect end to a fine day for the Blues.

Ake impresses again

He may have limped off shortly after his goal, but Nathan Ake gave another assured, powerful performance at left-back.

Whenever the Dutch defender is called upon, he never lets his team-mates or manager down.

It’s not hard to understand why Pep Guardiola continually sings his praises and his contribution this season has been that of a consummate, dedicated professional.

FORGET THE SCORELINE...

A four-goal winning margin looks - and is - impressive.

But this was a hard game and at times, a war of attrition.

The Leeds players pressed extremely well and were physical and determined - this was a stiff test and a fantastic victory for the Blues against a good Leeds United side.

Plus our goal difference is now just one inferior to Liverpool's - and that may yet have a part to play in the title race.

What it means...

City return to the top of the table, a point clear of Liverpool with four games remaining.

What's next?

City travel to Spain on Wednesday for the second eg of the Champions League against Real Madrid (kick-off  20:00 UK).

English Premier League
1 Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal 7 6 0 1 17 7 10 18 WWWLW
2 Manchester City Manchester City Man City 7 5 2 0 23 6 17 17 DWWDW
3 Tottenham Hotspur Spurs 7 5 2 0 18 7 11 17 WWDWW
Last updated: 21 September 2022

Star Man: Phil foden

Two assists, plus the corner that led to the second goal, it was a superb performance by Phil Foden.

Pep reaction

"We knew coming here the way they play, we suffered a lot in the first half. But in the end we had control and could have scored more. An incredible result for us.

"They are so fast up front. Today was so important to make our chances to be champions again.

"We defended well and sometimes these type of games set-pieces become so important. With Nathan Ake on the pitch, we are so strong.

"What a game Laporte played, he is doing an incredible season. We have five games to go, potentially six until the end of the season.

"I prefer to feel less pressure than I am feeling. It is a long season and this is the last effort."

Stat Zone

  • City have completed a first league double over Leeds since 1981-82, a season that saw the Whites relegated from the top-flight.
  • This is the fourth time City have scored 10+ goals against an opponent within a single Premier League season; Watford in 2019-20 (12), Norwich in 2011-12 (11), Tottenham in 2013-14 (11). And now Leeds this season (11).
  • City remain unbeaten away from home in the Premier League since a 1-0loss at Tottenham on the opening weekend (W13 D3 since). The Blues have kept a clean sheet in each of their last five games on the road - a new Club record.
  • Gabriel Jesus has been involved in 16 goals in 18 Premier League starts this season (8 goals, 8 assists).

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