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Leeds v Manchester City
Pep Guardiola would have been relieved to see his side register a clean sheet at Burnley in the League Cup, though while the show of character gives cause for optimism, Burnley are unlikely to repeat a top-half finish this term and neither that result nor the signing of Ruben Dias can gloss over last weekend’s horror show.
Even more disconcerting was that the defeat to Leicester came at the Etihad, which was just their fifth loss in the league from their last 70 home games.
However, they can certainly be gotten at on their travels where they lost seven matches last term. Although five of those defeats came against top-half finishers, Leeds look like good contenders to achieve a comfortable position this term, even if there remains a question mark as to whether they can implement the high-energy brand of football Marcelo Bielsa demands for the duration of an entire campaign.
The Argentine can be pleased with how his team has adapted to top-flight football, pushing Liverpool all the way on the opening day before delivering deserved wins over Fulham and Sheffield Utd.
With that in mind we wouldn’t want to go against them, especially with City’s away form and their current defensive problems, while it’s worth remembering that Liverpool have looked imperious against everyone they’ve played since that close shave on matchday one (prior to their League Cup clash with Arsenal on Thursday evening).
Over 3.5 Goals
One thing that appears to have near universal acceptance is that this game should entertain. Both teams to score and over 3.5 goals has landed in four of Leeds and Man City’s combined five league matches this term, with the exception when Marcelo Bielsa’s men travelled to low-scoring Sheffield Utd – whose matches have seen the lowest goals per game of any team this season, with the Blades also holding that title last term.
The same outcome also occurred in two of Man City’s trips to promoted teams last season, with the exception again coming versus Chris Wilder’s disciplined side.
Leeds +1.5 Asian Handicap
Both teams have scored in five of City’s last six matches in all competitions, and though these included tough fixtures with Real Madrid, Lyon, Wolves and Leicester, with the others against Bournemouth and Burnley, Leeds have shown plenty of attacking ambition already this season and so it’s no surprise to see both teams to score priced at short odds.
Leeds will be without winger Jack Harrison here as he cannot face his parent club, but Guardiola still has a number of absentees of his own.
Strikers Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are the most concerning, though Raheem Sterling did net a double against Burnley and City have plenty of goals from midfield as well.
However, given Man City have only won six of their last 15 road trips by more than a single strike, a Leeds side that have impressed this term should give them a run for their money.