Man City resolute to maintain lead …as they take on Leeds United

Manchester City will attempt to increase their lead at the top of the Premier League table when they welcome Sam Allardyce’s Leeds United to the Etihad Stadium this afternoon.

The Premier League have confirmed that the 3pm contest will be televised with the usual 12:30pm slot avoided to work around the Coronation of King Charles.

Those who questioned whether Man. City were a better team without ErlingBrautHaaland must surely have had a change of heart by now, as the Norwegian striker continues to write his name in the history books courtesy of a truly remarkable debut season in front of goal.

At just 22 years of age, Haaland now holds the record for the most goals scored in a single Premier League season after netting his 35th of the campaign in City’s 3-0 win at home against West Ham United on Wednesday night, increasing his overall goal tally in all competitions to a mind-boggling 51 in just 44 games.

Nathan Ake and Phil Foden were also on the scoresheet against the Hammers – the latter netting the 1000th City goal since the arrival of Pep Guardiola – to help the Citizens extend their impressive winning league run to nine matches and return to the summit at the expense of title rivals, Arsenal, with a game in hand.

Fixtures continue to come thick and fast for treble-chasing Man. City, who on average have just over three days to prepare for each of their next seven games this month, including Saturday’s meeting with Leeds and next Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg with Real Madrid in Spain.

Guardiola has previously played down suggestions that his players are tired and he is confident that they will continue their strong run of form, particularly against a Leeds outfit whom they have beaten by an aggregate score of 14-1 in their last three league meetings, including a 7-0 demolition on home soil last season.

After losing seven games out of 12 in just two-and-a-half months in charge, JaviGracia’s brief stint as Leeds head coach has come to an end, along with the reign of sporting director, Victor Orta, with the Spanish duo leaving the Whites in serious risk of suffering relegation from the Premier League.

A 4-1 loss at Bournemouth last weekend leaves Leeds sitting 17th in the table and precariously placed just above the bottom three on goal difference, and with just four games remaining, the West Yorkshire outfit have turned to an experienced head – one who rates himself “just as good” as Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta – to steer them away from danger.

Sam Allardyce is taking on the ninth Premier League club of his 29-year coaching career, stepping into management for the first time in two years since suffering a 3-1 defeat as West Bromwich Albion boss against none other than Leeds at Elland Road at the end of the 2020-21 season – with the 68-year-old condemned to his first-ever top-flight relegation in the process.

One of the first big tasks for Big Sam is to tighten up a leaky Leeds backline that have conceded more goals (67) than any other top-flight team so far this season, including 20 goals shipped in seven matches in April – a Premier League record in a single month.

Allardyce, who has won just six of his 34 meetings with Man. City as a manager, believes that his new side require at least six points to potentially avoid the drop and he has not ruled out the prospect of pulling off a seismic shock on Saturday against the Citizens side who lost 2-1 against Leeds at the Etihad in April 2021, and against Brentford by the same scoreline earlier this season.

Man. City playmaker, Kevin De Bruyne, has missed the last two games with an unspecified injury and remains a doubt for Saturday, but otherwise, Guardiola has a fully-fit squad at his disposal. – SportsMole

Today’s fixtures

Bournemouth v Chelsea

Man City v Leeds Utd

Wolves v Aston Villa

Tottenham v Crystal

Liverpool v Brentford


Newcastle v Arsenal

West Ham v Man.Utd

Fulham v Leicester


Brighton v Everton

Nottm Forest v Southampton

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