By opening Tuesday’s meeting at Etihad with a chance to briefly extend their buffer to the top of the Premier League standings, Manchester City certainly didn’t miss out on a golden opportunity.
Finding a way to take advantage of last weekend’s controversial 1-0 win over Wolves, the reigning English champions scored a stunning result by scoring seven wins against Leeds at home.
By briefly extending the lead over the four-point chasing group, City could not have asked for a better night’s work at the Etihad on Tuesday.
Handing over their Yorkshire rivals their worst Premier League defeat, we took a look at the main talking points as the Sky Blues ramp up midweek.
City has established the most clinical of the markers
While there may have been a lot of controversy over Manchester City’s 1-0 victory over Wolves on Saturday afternoon, this time at Etihad there was no such repeat.
Although Pep Guardiola could have made the decision to rest a fit Raheem Sterling on Tuesday night, the Sky Blues didn’t miss a beat when Phil Foden opened the scoring with just eight minutes on the clock.
Domination from the opening whistle, it quickly transformed into another Manchester challenge when Jack Grealish scored his second Premier League goal just five minutes after Foden’s first goal.
With their Belgian talisman scoring three points before City even made it through the tunnel for half-time, Tuesday’s match quickly turned into a golden opportunity to cash in on the goal difference.
Looking at how the likes of Riyad Mahrez, John Stones and Nathan Ake all scored after half-time, it’s no wonder Guardiola was full of praise for his team’s outstanding performance on home turf.
Setting the most clinical of scorers for both Liverpool and Chelsea, the high-flying England champions will be desperate to maintain that momentum when they make the trip to St. James’ Park this weekend.
Injured Leeds suffer an Etihad nightmare
Marcelo Bielsa’s side, who suffered last breath away at Chelsea last weekend, would be desperate to rebuild their good points at Stamford Bridge when they made the trip to Manchester on Tuesday night.
However, despite their largely harsh performance in the 3-2 defeat to reigning European champions, Leeds struggled drastically to fill the void left by some of their key stars.
With the likes of English duo Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford once again suffering from injury problems, the former Napoli manager will be more than aware that his struggling side are at the center of a relegation clash.
After suffering their worst Premier League defeat ever at the hands of the reigning champions in the middle of the week, Tuesday’s guests have only recorded one top-flight victory since late October.
In the face of what has become an injury crisis in his court, Bielsa’s mood would not be helped by the sight of 22-year-old Jamie Shackleton limping with another jab towards halftime.
Likewise, with the arrival of summer Junior Firpo having garnered an expensive fifth booking, the Leeds team will face another tough test on their trip to the Emirates this weekend.
The return of KDB
While the entire Manchester City squad could have been in contention for Tuesday’s Man of the Match award, returning Kevin De Bruyne has certainly stolen the Etihad show.
Though Guardiola’s midfield talisman may have suffered another setback last month, the 30-year-old came back here roaring as he bagged a wonderfully-taken brace in front of a sold-out home support.
Making his first Premier League appearance since returning a positive COVID-19 test on November 19, De Bruyne found the net on both sides of the half, including lightning in the second half to grab City’s fifth.
Again pointing out why many consider the former Chelsea starlet to be one of the best midfielders in European football, Guardiola would also have been thrilled to see his key man get his fill on Tuesday night.
Hoping that De Bruyne has now passed what has been a stop-start campaign at Etihad since the opening of the 2021/22 season, the former PFA Player of the Year could prove vital in the charge of City to secure consecutive national crowns.
Manchester City: Ederson, Stones, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko, De Bruyne, Rodri, B. Silva, Mahrez, Grealish, Foden
Subtitles: Gundogan, Ake, Fernandinho
London: Meslier, Shackleton, Ayling, Llorente, Firpo, Dallas, Forshaw, Harrison, Roberts, Rafinha, James
Subtitles: Klich, Drameh, Gelhardt
Aims: Foden 8 ′, Grealish 13, De Bruyne 32 ′, 62 ′, Mahrez 49 ′, Stones 74 ′, Ake 78 ′
yellow cards: Manchester City: Dias – Leeds: Firpo
red cards: N / A
Referee: Paul Tierney