Manchester City cruised to their biggest win of the season as they put seven past a hapless Leeds United. Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Kevin de Bruyne gave the blues a 3-0 half time lead, while Riyad Mahrez, John Stones and Nathan Ake all added to the scoreline, with a thunderbolt from de Bruyne somewhere in between.
Following Saturday’s narrow yet frustrating 1-0 win over Wolves, the faithful would have expected the Yorkshire side to set up in a similar fashion. But the visitors were a shadow of the team that grabbed a 2-1 in Manchester last season, and were under the cosh for the majority of the match as City put on an attacking display that showed why they are the current league leaders.
In fairness, it could have been much more than the seven City put away, with Bernardo Silva missing a sitter and Foden denied a second half goal for offside as the blues racked up their goal difference. The blues were twelve goals behind Liverpool before Tuesday’s match, although a solid defence is yet to see City concede double figures in the Premier League.
The blues made four changes from the team that beat Wolves, with Joao Cancelo, Ilkay Gundogan, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling all making way for Stones, Mahrez, Foden and de Bruyne.
City quickly got into their stride and could have been in front before Foden fired them ahead in the 8th minute. Leeds gave the ball away in their own half and City pounced on the mistake. De Bruyne was released inside the penalty area, and he squared to Bernardo Silva, but City’s man of the moment skewed his first time shot wide when it looked easier to score.
It was a let-off for the visitors that wouldn’t last long. Rodri’s charge into the box was cleared, but the ball fell to Foden on the edge of the penalty area, and he fired home to put City in front. It was only fitting that the Stockport Iniesta, a through and through blue, would score City’s 500th Premier League goal of Pep Guardiola’s 207 game reign.
And when Grealish made it 501 goals five minutes later, the omens of doom for Leeds were there for all to see. City were again allowed time on the right and the cross by Mahrez was met by the head of Grealish to guide the ball past the keeper to make it 2-0 and put City already out of sight.
The £100m man has come under scrutiny since his move north, but that will go some way to repaying the faith Guardiola has sown in him.
The blues were finding gaps all over the pitch as Leeds were unable to deal with the relentless attacks, and when Rodri released de Bruyne in the 32nd minute, there was only going to be one outcome.
The Belgian raced into the area and fired home left-footed from a difficult angle to put the blues 3-0 up by half-time and well on their way to the next 500.
It was more of the same in the second half as City looked to make up the goal difference, and the half had barely begun when Mahrez made it 4-0. The Algerian received the ball on the City right and curled a shot beyond the keeper and into the bottom corner.
Foden thought he’d made it 5-0 on 60 minutes, but a VAR check showed he was just ahead of the ball as he slotted home, but there was no disallowing the 5th when it came – and de Bruyne threatened to rip the net apart.
The blues once again won the ball back in the Leeds half and Gundogan found de Bruyne in acres of space once more. The Belgian moved forward, but fancied his chances from distance and unleased a shot from outside the penalty area that flew into the top corner.
The poor visiting keeper, who was not at fault for any of the previous goals, must have wondered where his defence was as he picked the ball out of the net for a fifth time. And if he was wondering then, he would have been forgiven for thinking the defenders had gone home when the 6th went in.
With 16 minutes remaining, John Stones was allowed the freedom of the six-yard box to find the back of the goal. Leeds thought they’d dealt with a Mahrez free-kick, but City played keep-ball down the right. Fernandinho’s eventual cross into the box found the head of Aymeric Laporte, who was still up from the free kick. His header was saved, but the rebound fell to an unmarked Stones. His first attempt hit the keeper, however his second saw the ball rifled into the roof of the goal with defenders just watching.
And just to hit home how bad Leeds were, City scored from a corner. Foden’s ball in from the right was met by the head of Ake, who had the simple job of guiding it past the keeper for 7-0. The Dutch international lost his marker well and met Foden’s precise cross for his second goal of the season.
Still, City pressed for more, but the blues will have been delighted by the result, while Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa cut a miserable figure on the sidelines.
City now travel to Newcastle on Sunday in a rich vein of form, while their opponents will be recovering from their trip to Anfield on Thursday.
Final Score: Manchester City 7-0 Leeds United