manchester city 2-1 leeds.

Guardiola says City were ‘exceptional’ but not ‘clinical’ enough in 2-1 win over Leeds

Manchester City took a step closer to the title as they earned a 2-1 win over Leeds United at the Etihad.

On the day of the King’s Coronation, Manchester City looked to take another step towards reclaiming their crown, coming up against a Leeds side mired in the relegation battle.


The reigning Kings of English football dominated from the off, with Sam Allardyce’s Leeds unsurprisingly looking to keep it tight at the back. Their resistance only lasted 18 minutes, however, Ilkay Gundogan stroking home a lovely first-time finish into the bottom right corner after receiving a well-weighted layoff from Riyad Mahrez.

The same duo combined nine minutes later to make it 2-0, the Algerian again picking out Gundogan on the edge of the box, though the Germany international had time and space to take a touch before steering his strike into the bottom left corner.

Erling Haaland has been the goalscoring King of the Premier League so far this season, though the Leeds-born striker squandered a number of opportunities to extend the league leaders’ advantage, twice hitting the post in the second half.

Gundogan had a chance to seal his first career hat-trick, Phil Foden being brought down by Pascal Struijk in the box, only for the midfielder to crash the resulting penalty off the post, much to the dismay of Pep Guardiola who had called for Haaland to take it.

Less than 60 seconds after that missed spot kick, Leeds set up a nervy finish, Rodrygo taking advantage of a Manuel Akanji mistake before firing home from the edge of the box.

The win moves City four points clear of Arsenal at the top of the table, and their vastly superior goal difference over the Gunners means they are likely to only need eight more points from their remaining four games to retain their place on the throne.

Speaking after the game, Pep Guardiola admitted his side weren’t as ‘clinical’ in front of goal, in what was otherwise an ‘exceptional’ performance.

“We played an exceptional game,” he told Match of the Day. “Our possession game was really good.

“First half was exceptional. We were maybe not as clinical as we should be. The second half, we cannot forget it is three games in six days with a lot of mental pressure. After Arsenal we were drained a bit and we kept going against Fulham and West Ham – tough opponents.

“At the end, the game could be over with the penalty. But they score and we have to suffer. But we played really, really good.

“I would say it was a comfortable game for him [Ilkay Gundogan] because he was not pressed much. But Gundo… what can I say? He can do everything. As a holding or attacking midfielder, he is so intelligent. We are delighted to have him.”

Asked about Erling Haaland’s decision to allow Gundogan the opportunity to seal his hat-trick from the spot, Guardiola said: “The game is not over. It shows how nice and generous Erling is. If it is 4-0 with 10 minutes left, OK. But at 2-0? Erling is the best penalty-taker right now so he has to take it.

“Today Erling could have scored two or three goals. He played incredibly well, in his movement and everything… how he fought for us. I like to praise Erling when he does not score. If Gundo scores everyone is ‘OK, hat-trick, well done’. But a taker is a taker. At 2-0, this is a business, not a situation where we cannot forget it.”

Read – Rising Stars: The best breakthrough player from each of Europe’s top 5 leagues this season

Read Also – Five Serie A strikers on the radar of Premier League clubs

Subscribe to our social channels:

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments