Manchester City vs Leeds United: Pep set to get one over his idol as City stay top

Manchester City vs Leeds United: Pep set to get one over his idol as City stay top

Champions shouldn’t struggle against injury hit Leeds

Since his arrival in England much has been made of Marcelo Bielsa’s impact on a number of big name coaches around the world. Pep Guardiola is one of those impacted coaches, travelling to Argentina to seek out Bielsa before he embarked on his astronomically successful coaching career. On Tuesday night the pair will go head to head once again with the student, Guardiola, looking to get one over on his teacher for the first time on English soil.

Unfortunately for Bielsa, he is heading into the game somewhat under resourced. Patrick Bamford, who returned from a long spell on the sidelines last week, is still working towards full fitness while Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper are both out long term. All three are key members of Bielsa’s squad and Saturday’s loss to Chelsea saw the wonderfully talented Raphinha subbed off with an apparent injury that will leave his manager sweating.

In the other dugout it is not secret that Pep Guardiola has an embarrassment of riches but arguably the crown jewel of the City side, Kevin De Bruyne, is also working his way back to full fitness. The Belgian has played 20 minutes in each of City’s last two Premier League games, and started last week’s dead rubber Champions League game against RB Leipzig, so could well be in with a shot at a start on Tuesday night.

With City close to full strength and victorious in their last six league games its no wonder they sit at @ 1.182/11 to beat Leeds at home. Games involving Leeds in December have been fairly lively (2-2 vs Brentford and 3-2 vs Chelsea) so a Bet Builder of Manchester City to win and both teams to score @ 2.33 is a good way to add value onto a City win.

The only real blemish on City’s Saturday afternoon victory over Wolves came in the last 10 minutes when full back Joao Cancelo picked up his fifth booking of the season, a caution which sees him suspended for this game. Such are the riches available to Guardiola he will no doubt ask Kyle Walker, rested on Saturday, to return to the side at right back.

However, despite having the England international available, the loss of Cancelo is certainly a blow for his side. Oleksandr Zinchenko will be asked to play at left back again and, if the Brazilian is passed fit, that will leave him up against Raphinha which certainly plays to Leeds advantage. If Raphinha isn’t available then Jack Harrison, who was on Manchester City’s books for three years but never played for the side, and former Manchester United man Dan James will be providing the biggest threat.

Patrick Bamford friendly -1280.JPG

In the absence of Bamford in recent weeks, James has lined up centrally although I’d expect him to return to a wide role at the Etihad. Leeds had success against City last season with their pressing game and their ability to hit opponents on the counter attack. James’ electric pace will give him a chance of having an impact on the match and at 6/1 to score anytime he could well be worth a look.

Cancelo has been key to City’s build up in attack this season and Zinchenko, who plays in midfield at international level, will likely be asked to fulfill a similar role leaving him open to being out of position as Leeds counter. If the visitors are going to score I fancy at least one of their wingers to find the net. Raphinha, if fit, is certainly the best bet at 5/1 particularly given he is on penalty taking duty for Bielsa’s boys.

Jesus creating City goals from midfield

Manchester City spent most of the summer in a very public pursuit of Tottenham’s Harry Kane and are now being heavily linked with Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund. It’s no surprise really; City are one of the richest teams in the world and after the departure of Sergio Aguero the glaring hole in their squad depth is up front.

Gabriel Jesus is the only recognised striker available and even he has said publicly he sees himself playing wide, fortunately the league leaders are getting a lot of goals from midfield. Bernardo Silva is one of the best players in the league right now and has scored five goals in City’s last six games, including a couple of spectacular efforts, Raheem Sterling scored his 100th Premier League goal on Saturday with a confident penalty and is enjoying a strong run in the starting XI.

Silva and Sterling will probably lineup either side of Jesus to form a mobile front three that will provide a challenge to the United defence. Jesus certainly isn’t a prolific goalscorer but he is still an integral part of the City lineup and, particularly with De Bruyne out injured, this year he has been very useful as a playmaker.

The Brazilian has six assists this term, the most of any City player, and is 13/8 to create his seventh goal on Tuesday night which is well worth a look.