Pep Guardiola became the quickest manager to reach 500 Premier League goals as Manchester City thrashed Leeds United 7-0 to go four points clear at the top of the table.

The defending champions outclassed the visitors to secure our sixth consecutive league victory with a performance which is up there with the best we have produced this season.

Phil Foden volleyed in the opener from the edge of the area to bring up Guardiola’s latest milestone with an effort which skipped off Stuart Dallas’ shin on its way into the net as the Leeds man miscued with his attempted goal line clearance.

Our lead was doubled five minutes later when the impressive Jack Grealish rose highest to power a header past Illan Meslier from a teasing Riyad Mahrez delivery, before Kevin De Bruyne whipped a low drive across Meslier to ensure we went in three goals to the good at half-time.

City continued in a similar vein after the break, with Mahrez adding a fourth to effectively end the contest four minutes after the restart.

There was a slice of good fortunate about the Algerian’s effort from the edge of the area, which deflected off Junior Firpo and wrong footed Meslier on its way into the far corner.

Leeds tried to muster a response, with Dallas cracking the post from the edge of the area, whilst Ruben Dias stuck out a leg to divert Jack Harrison’s curling effort wide of Ederson’s goal, but it did little to halt a rampant City attack.

Foden had a second chalked off after a VAR check confirmed he had strayed marginally offside when converting Mahrez’s cross at the near post, but it was a momentary reprieve for Leeds, with De Bruyne firing into the roof of the net from 25-yards to add a fifth in sensational fashion a minute later.

With Leeds struggling to contain the hosts, John Stones made it 6-0 when he lashed home from close range after Meslier had superbly kept out Aymeric Laporte‘s header and Stones‘ follow up.

Substitute Nathan Ake completed a fantastic display when he headed home from Foden‘s corner to secure our 33rd win of 2021, which sees City equal Liverpool’s English football record for the most victories in a calendar year which they set in 1982.

A champion’s performance

It is impossible to overstate how one sided this game was.

In the end it was 7-0, but it could have easily been more as City took control from the first minute and never relinquished our grip on the contest.

Minutes before Foden‘s opener, Bernardo Silva looked certain to score after Diego Llorente gifted a pass straight to Rodrigo.

The in form midfielder dragged a golden opportunity wide from eight yards, but Llorente’s mistake set the tone for the evening and what followed was wave after wave of City attacks.

Time after time Marcelo Bielsa’s men were required to put bodies on the line to prevent the margin of victory being greater.

Luke Ayling made last ditch blocks to deny Foden and Mahrez, whilst Llorente did the same as De Bruyne threatened to net a second goal from distance.

This was City at their best and the visitors had no answer for it.

Foden twice dragged wide from promising positions on the edge of the area, whilst substitute Ilkay Gundogan was inches away from netting a superb goal as he ran 15-yards to latch onto Mahrez’s precise ball to the far post, only to see his deft stab at goal bounce the wrong side of the post.

Grealish shows his class

Keep doing what you’re doing and the goals will come was Guardiola’s message for Grealish at his pre-match press conference.

The manager had no doubt that the midfielder would reap his rewards in front of goal if he maintained his recent level of performance and it turned out to be quite the prophecy as the summer signing scored on an evening in which he was one of City’s brightest outlets.

A driving run and low 20-yard drive which forced Meslier into a smart stop signalled his intent as early as the second minute and, when he drifted inside again, Llorente was required to throw his body in the way to block another rasping effort.

Grealish continually tormented the Leeds’ defence, combing well with Foden and Bernardo and, whilst aerial ability is not something for which he is famed for, he showed great awareness and desire to finish like a target man for a goal which rewarded a fine performance.

PEP GUARDIOLA: fans made phenomenal atmosphere

“We played a really good game. We dropped five points against Leeds last season with the same Guys we had today, except Jack.

“It was a good game. The vibe at the stadium was phenomenal. It was sold out today and when this happens the players feel it.

“Thanks so much to the fans. It was a pleasure.”

Man of the Match: Kevin De Bruyne

At his best, De Bruyne is the beating heart of a brilliant City midfield and this was a performance which exemplified everything good about his game.

His first goal highlighted how deadly he is off either foot as latched onto Rodrigo’s slide rule pass and rifled a left footed drive beyond Meslier, whilst his second was the pick of the bunch, with the Leeds’ ‘keeper powerless to stop the unstoppable 25-yard drive.

Since his City debut, no player has scored more Premier League goals from outside the penalty area than De Bruyne (20).

Premier League
3 Aston Villa FC Aston Villa A Villa 17 12 2 3 37 21 16 38 WDWWW
4 Manchester City Manchester City Man City 17 10 4 3 40 20 20 34 DDLWD
5 Tottenham Hotspur Spurs 17 10 3 4 35 23 12 33 LDLWW
Last updated: 19 December 2023

Stat Zone

  • Guardiola reached 500 Premier League goals in just his 207th game, which is quicker than any other manager in the competition. Jurgen Klopp was the previous record holder having done so in 234 games.
  • Grealish scored his first headed goal in the Premier League and his 17th overall in the competition.
  • De Bruyne has been directly involved in 80 goals in just 83 Premier League starts at the Etihad Stadium, scoring 30 and assisting 50
  • Mahrez is the first player in Premier League history to score on his 100th appearance for two different sides in the competition, doing so with City and Leicester. 

What it means

Our sixth consecutive Premier League victory extends our lead at the top of the table to four points, though that will be reduced should Liverpool and Chelsea win their respective matches against Newcastle United and Everton on Thursday.

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CITY: Ederson, Stones, Dias (C) (Ake 65’), Laporte, Zinchenko, Rodrigo (Fernandinho 56’), De Bruyne, Bernardo (Gundogan 46’), Mahrez, Foden, Grealish.

SUBS: Steffen, Sterling, Jesus, Egan-Riley, Palmer, Wilson-Esbrand.

LEEDS: Meslier, Dallas, Ayling, Llorente, Firpo (Drameh 73’), Shackleton (Klich 38’), Forshaw, Harrison, Raphinha, Roberts, James.

SUBS: Klaesson, Gelhardt, Cresswell, Summerville, Greenwood, McCarron, Jenkins.

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