By Michael Graham
Manchester City cut the lead of Premier League top Arsenal to five points by beating Leeds 3-1 at Elland Road.
City started early and Erling Haaland had a good early chance. However, he was unable to force the ball home.
Haaland had an even better chance shortly after when Kevin De Bruyne knocked him out but Illan Meslier was able to stifle his tame effort.
However, Haaland he was far from the most wasteful player in Man City’s lineup. Jack Grealish had three great chances in the first 45 minutes, but he managed to put them all together when he should have done better.
Just when the first half seemed to be heading towards a stalemate, the stalemate was broken. De Bruyne burst down the left and Rodri deflected into the net after another fine save from Meslier.
This opened things up for the second half and both Grealish and Haaland made it to the party.
They combined just six minutes after the restart to allow Haaland to double their lead, and repeated that trick 12 minutes later to put the match largely out of doubt.
To their credit, Leeds didn’t give up and kept looking for a way into the game. They got payback for that when Pascal Struijk headed in a fine Sam Greenwood corner, and kept pushing for more.
It wasn’t supposed to be, though, and City of man they were able to kill the game and pick up three valuable points which keep the pressure on Premier League leaders Arsenal.
Leeds player ratings (4-3-3)
GOALKEEPER: Illan Meslier – 7/10 – He held Leeds for most of the first half.
RB: Rasmus Kristensen – 5/10 – Sometimes tiring, especially in the second half.
CB: Robin Kock – 5/10 – It didn’t offer much resistance.
CB: Liam Cooper – 5/10 – I had trouble handling Haaland’s movement, but we can forgive him for that.
LB: Pascal Struijk – 5/10 – It’s not his most influential game, but he scored a good header.
CM: Marc Roca – 5/10 – Sometimes very wasteful with the ball.
CM: Adam Forshaw – 6/10 – It offered at least some resistance for a while.
CM: Sam Greenwood – 6/10 – Manly fought but sometimes overwhelmed. Nice assist on Leeds goal.
RF: Brenden Aaronson – 5/10 – Quality flashes but he saw little of the ball.
FC: Rodrigo – 4/10 – Totally ineffective although in fairness it was very isolated.
LF: Wilfried Gnonto – 6/10 – A rare bright spark in Leeds’ attack.
Luke Ayling (65′ for Kristensen) – N/A
Mateusz Klich (66′ for Forshaw) – N/A
Joe Gelhardt (72′ for Rodrigo) – N/A
Diego Llorente (72′ for Cooper) – N/A)
Darko Gyabi (83′ for Aaronson) – N/A
Coach: Jesse March – 5/10 – I’ve never been able to make a game out of it.
Manchester City player ratings (4-3-3)
PORT: Ederson – 6/10 – I really didn’t have much to do.
PR: Rico Lewis – 10/7 – A very dynamic performance from the youngster.
CB: John Stones – 6/10 – Not really tested.
BC: Manuel Akanji – 6/10 – Ditto Stones, really. Easy night for him.
LB: Nathan Ake – 6/10 – Not very offensively important, but very clean and tidy.
CM: Ilkay Gundogan – 7/10 – Quietly authoritative in midfield.
MC: Rodri – 7/10 – He broke the deadlock and was immensely insured throughout.
CM Kevin De Bruyne – 8/10 – Constant threat on the ball.
RF: Riyadh Mahrez – 6/10 – Not at his best, but he didn’t need to be.
FC: Erling Haaland – 9/10 – Unusually expensive in the first half, but brilliant overall. He could easily have had more goals. He probably should have.
LF: Jack Grealish – 10/7 – Scoring is not for him. However, he came to the party creatively after the break.
Joao Cancelo (’68 for Lewis) -N/A
Phil Foden (73′ for Grealish)
Cole Palmer (88′ for Mahrez)
Coach: Pep Guardiola – 7/10 – His team was at its best, but they were good enough.
Player of the match: Erling Haaland
This article was originally posted on 90min.com as Leeds 1-3 Man City: Player ratings as Citizens climb back into second place.