Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

Player Ratings – Leeds Utd man endures latest nightmare; Man City ace unplayable in bruising win

Man City winger Raheem Sterling

Man City returned to the top of the table after sinking Leeds Utd 4-0 at Elland Road, with one City player earning a nine in our player ratings and his opposite number receiving a dismal three.

Man City took just 12 minutes to break the deadlock when clever movement from Rodri saw the Spaniard glance home Phil Foden’s whipped free kick.

Leeds ensured the floodgates did not open, however, and began to cause City problems as a fiery and frantic first half saw tensions threaten to boil over.

But Leeds’ weakness from set pieces was exposed for a second time eight minutes into the second half. Ruben Dias rose highest to knock down into the path of Nathan Ake who coolly swept home.

Leeds’ heads did not dip, though City did not relent either. The red-hot Gabriel Jesus made it 3-0 with 10 minutes remaining to eliminate any slim chance of a late fight-back. There was even time for 37-year-old Fernandinho to put the icing on the cake with a fourth.

Manchester City (4-3-3)

Ederson: Untroubled in the first half with the bulk of Leeds’ attacks breaking down before a shot came in. Made a smart stop in injury time to preserve the clean sheet. 6

Joao Cancelo: Heart in mouth early when slipping as the furthest man back. Rodrigo’s inability to pick out a pass spared his blushes. Surprisingly quiet going forward but did show a glimpse of his mercurial talents with a raking cross-field ball that teed up a Jesus chance. 7

Ruben Dias: Always on hand to snuff out any burgeoning Leeds attacks. Helped ensure Ederson did not have a save to make before the break. Rose highest to get the knock-down for Ake to notch City’s pressure-relieving second. 8

Aymeric Laporte: Put his head in where it hurts to prevent Leeds erasing City’s lead straight away. Soldiered on despite a lengthy stoppage in play after his head clash with Koch and quickly regained his cool. Vital block to deny Raphinha with 20 minutes remaining that would’ve teed up a nervy finish. 8

Nathan Ake: Given the difficult task of containing Raphinha but rarely put a foot wrong. His biggest plus point in the first half was maintaining City’s defensive line that ensured Raphinha was repeatedly caught offside.

Bagged City’s second when pinning Struijk and coolly sweeping home Dias’ knock-down like any centre-forward would. Replaced by Zinchenko on the hour mark after appearing to pick up an injury. 8

Phil Foden: Superb delivery for the opener when putting the ball in the sweet spot between goalkeeper and defence. A few neat flashes and touches in tight areas but wasn’t alone in enduring a largely frustrating first half from a City perspective.

Stuck to his task and kept probing after the break. Showed great composure and weight of pass when grabbing his second assist for Jesus’ goal late on. 8

Rodri: Ghosted through a scrum of players to glance home the opener with a deft headed finish. Typically imposing in the middle and stood up well to Leeds bringing the fight and energy we all expect. 8

Ilkay Gundogan: Typically calm and composed in what was a raucous Elland Road atmosphere at times. Vital interception prior to the break when Leeds’ tails were up. Didn’t provide the same level of control De Bruyne or Silva would, but did what was required on the night. 7

Raheem Sterling: Liveliest of City’s front three and had Firpo sweating bullets every time he was on the ball. Unstoppable at times with his dribbling and quick feet too hot to handle for the under-fire full-back. 9 (Man of the match)

Gabriel Jesus: Kept largely quiet barring one shooting opportunity late in the first half. Cut inside a pair of defenders nicely but his effort lacked both the power and placement to trouble Meslier.

Kept going in the second half and kept his scoring streak going when slotting home to settle the contest late on. 7

Jack Grealish: Little success early but soon found his groove. Frustrations were on show when twice the recipient of clear fouls but the referee saw nothing doing on each occasion. Continued to draw fouls and had to be calmed down by Guardiola with his temper flaring. Had Ayling on toast every time he got him one-v-one. 

Substitutes: 

Oleksandr Zinchenko (On for Ake, 60m): 6

Bernardo Silva (On for Foden, 80m): N/A

Fernandinho (On for Rodri, 83m): Bagged the fourth with the last kick. 7

Leeds United (5-4-1)

Illan Meslier: No blame attached for Rodri’s header and had very little to do in the remainder of the first half. Helpless to prevent City’s second and third, but might have done better with the fourth. 6

Stuart Dallas: Lung-busting effort throughout and gave it his all – though not always legally. Foul count stood at five before injuring his knee in a 50/50 with Grealish. 6

Luke Ayling: Breezed past by Grealish with only the referee swallowing his whistle saving him from conceding a free-kick in a dangerous area. Lucky to see the deficit not doubled when stumbling on the ball outside his own area. Struijk came to his rescue with a last-ditch block to deny Sterling.

Continued to labour in 1v1s against Grealish and will be glad to see the back of the £100m man until next season. 5

Robin Koch: Late positional change into the backline after Liam Cooper pulled up in the warm-up. Curious marking for Rodri’s goal when deciding to step up despite the bulk of his fellow defenders already several yards deeper. Suffered a brutal head clash with Laporte that saw both players receive treatment in a lengthy stoppage but braved the pain to carry on. 

Oblivious to Jesus’ positioning for City’s third. 5

Pascal Strujk: Would’ve expected a tougher test against the title chasers but produced a strong display in the first half to keep City within reach. Bailed Ayling out with a tremendous diving block to deny Sterling from just eight yards out.

Could’ve done more to prevent the second when pinned by Ake who coolly swept home from close range. The pick of the bunch from Leeds’ rearguard. 6

Junior Firpo: Booked inside six minutes when rolled by Foden. That yellow card brought his season tally to 10 in just 20 games. Looked vulnerable against Sterling and blazed over when unmarked and in acres of space prior to the break. Brought off for his own good on the hour mark with this just the latest in a string of dismal displays in his debut season at Leeds. 3

Kalvin Phillips: Got through a mountain of work in the engine room and helped to keep City largely frustrated in the first half. Crunching tackle on Sterling after he’d left two Leeds team-mates in his wake typified the manner of Phillips’ display. 8

Mateusz Klich: Little time to prepare after getting the nod when Cooper pulled out. That didn’t show, however, with the Poland international up to speed from minute one and doing his best to make City’s life difficult. 7

Raphinha: Always looked Leeds’ liveliest attacker and whipped in a wicked cross that would’ve been converted by Koch but for Laporte’s manful interception. His biggest enemy in the first half was the offside trap to which he had no answer.

Moved to right-wingback in the second half and continued to be Leeds’ most dangerous outlet. Came within a whisker of pulling one back but for a desperate Laporte block. 8

Jack Harrison: Virtually anonymous throughout. Try as he might he couldn’t get a foothold in the game. 4

Rodrigo: Wasted a golden opportunity inside three minutes when failing to slip Raphinha in for a certain goal. Too many Leeds attacks broke down at their own players’ feet and he was as guilty as any. 4

Substitutes: 

Daniel James (On for Dallas, 45+7): 6

Joe Gelhardt (On for Firpo, 62m): 6

Sam Greenwood (On for Rodrigo, 83m): N/A