Leeds United vs Manchester City news: Attention turns back to title push for Citizens

A huge game of high stakes between two in-form teams awaits as Leeds United welcome Manchester City to Elland Road in the Premier League.

City could be two points behind closest rivals Liverpool by the time they play relegation-threatened Leeds on Saturday, and will know there is no margin for error as they bid to successfully defend their Premier League title. 

Pep Guardiola's defending champions lead the Reds by only one point at the top of the table, but Jurgen Klopp's quadruple-chasers are in imperious form and could go back to the top if they beat Newcastle United earlier on Saturday.

City must quickly refocus on defending their domestic crown off the back of a pulsating 4-3 Champions League semi-final first-leg win over Real Madrid. Guardiola's men will be champions for the fourth time in five seasons if they win all their remaining games.

City are unbeaten in seven in the top flight and have gone 15 without defeat on their travels.

Leeds are on a five-game unbeaten run in the Premier League and have moved five points clear of the relegation zone - but a win for Burnley in a huge clash at Watford earlier on Saturday could see the in-form Clarets go level on 34 points with the West Yorkshire club.

When: Saturday 30 April, 2022 (17:30 BST)

Where: Elland Road

How to watch: Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Main Event

Follow this game via our score centre

Who is the referee for Leeds United vs Manchester City

Pep Guardiola is spoken to by Paul Tierney

Paul Tierney will be the man in the middle at Elland Road.

His most recent game was to oversee the 1-1 draw between West Ham and Burnley at the London Stadium on April 17, while his last red card was shown to Burnley's Nathan Collins in the Clarets' 2-0 defeat at Brentford on March 12.

Games refereed by Paul Tierney in season 2021/22: Games 30, yellow cards 106, red cards 2.

Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, Neil Davies.

Fourth official: Robert Jones.

VAR: Darren England.

Assistant VAR: Gary Beswick.

Recent form

Kevin de Bruyne on target against Real Madrid

Leeds have given themselves a fighting chance of preserving their Premier League status thanks to a five-game unbeaten run but have Burnley and Everton breathing down their necks.

A goalless draw with Crystal Palace last time out made it back-to-back games without conceding and there can be no doubt that they have picked up under new manager Jessie Marsch.

Marsch has picked up 11 points in his seven Premier League games (W3 D2 L2) - seven more than in Marcelo Bielsa's last seven in charge (W1 D1 L5).

Manchester City's thrilling 4-3 win against Real Madrid was the joint highest-scoring Champions League semi-final but a frustrated Pep Guardiola admitted "the result could have been better".

City were 2-0 up and flying but a combination of missed chances and the brilliance of red-hot striker Karim Benzema resulted in a 4-3 first-leg win and left the door open for Carlo Ancelotti;s men to salvage the tie.

It's been a week full of goals so far for Guardiola's men - with the midweek win coming off the back of a 5-1 thumping of Watford in the Premier League.

Recent players in form

Kalvin Phillips back from injury for Leeds United

Dan James has led the line admirably in the absence of Patrick Bamford but he has now gone 11 games without scoring, prompting calls for either Joe Gelhardt or Sam Greenwood to start.

The return from injury of Kalvin Phillips could be timely given his influence in the Leeds engine room and the Monday night blank at Selhurst Park was the 26-year-old's first 90-minute appearance since the same opposition visited Elland Road back in November.

Kevin de Bruyne's goal after 93 seconds on Tuesday was the fastest scored in a Champions League semi-final and the influential Belgium playmaker is the club's joint-top goalscorer with Riyad Mahrez in the Premier League on 11.

Gabriel Jesus hit four goals in City's 5-1 win over Watford and was also on target against Real Madrid, while Phil Foden became the third-youngest English player to score in a European Cup / Champions League semi-final - aged 21 and 333 days - behind Bobby Charlton and Wayne Rooney.

The England schemer has scored eight goals in 21 starts in the Premier League so far this season.

Past meetings

Riyad Mahriez on target in 7-0 victory

Rewind to December 14 last year and Leeds United will not have fond memories of the last time these two sides met.

City had embarked on a sensational run of home form and ran out 7-0 winners at the Etihad Stadium.

Phil Foden, Kevin de Bruyne (2), Jack Grealish, Riyad Mahrez, John Stones and Nathan Ake got on the scoresheet on an afternoon to forget for Marcelo Bielsa's side.

Managers' thoughts

Jesse Marsch relishing Manchester City challenge

On the challenge of facing the defending champions, Leeds United manager Jessie Marsch told reporters: "It is an ultimate test, maybe the ultimate test. I'm very honest when I say I think they're the best team in the world. The talent they have speaks for itself.

"Their manager does an incredible job of creating a tactical model that is very complex and one that the players understand very, very well and are able to execute very well. It's one that's incredibly difficult to defend against."

Ahead of a tough trip to take on relegation-threatened Leeds United, City manager Pep Guardiola told reporters: “It’s tougher because Leeds is tough. The crowd, they are fighting for points.

“We need points. We know it. The people feel it. The players trained today with incredible focused I think everybody at the club knows what we’re playing for and what they have to do.”

Predicted teams

Patrick Bamford still out for Leeds United

Long-term injury-victims Patrick Bamford, Adam Forshaw and Tyler Roberts are all ruled out for Leeds United, while Junior Firpo is pushing for a start at left-back and Jesse March must decide whether Robin Koch or Mateusz Klich starts alongside Kalvin Phillips.

England defender Kyle Walker missed Manchester City's midweek win against Real Madrid and John Stones was also taken off in the first leg at the Etihad.

Joao Cancelo, suspended for the visit of the La Liga giants, will be available for selection.

Leeds United possible line-up: Meslier; Ayling, Llorente, Cooper, Dallas; Phillips, Klich; Raphinha, Rodrigo, Harrison; James.

Manchester City possible line-up: Ederson; Cancelo, Laporte, Ake, Zinchenko; Gundogan, Fernandinho, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Foden, Grealish.

Leeds vs Manchester City prediction

Gabriel Jesus in goalscoring form for Manchester City

Monday's goalless draw with Crystal Palace provided more evidence that Leeds will take substance over style in their bid to stave off the threat of relegation.

Without Patrick Bamford, they are missing their principal goal threat, and, while Dan James works tirelessly, he is not the solution.

The Whites face Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea in their next three fixtures before games against Brighton and then Brentford on the final day.

There is little doubt they have tightened up but how can they possibly hope to keep free-scoring City at bay?

City cannot afford any slip-ups because of the form of nearest challengers Liverpool and are full of goals.

Of concern to Pep Guardiola will be how Real Madrid were allowed back into Tuesday's first-leg tie but the Spaniard will be confident he has enough players in form and game-changers to eek out a job-done 2-0 victory at Elland Road.

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