This fascinating battle will see two managers with huge respect for one another go head-to-head for the three points for the first time since 2012. After Marcelo Bielsa guided Leeds to promotion to the Premier League in July, Pep Guardiola described the Argentine as “absolutely at the top of the list” of managers in world football.
Bielsa is certainly doing an excellent job as he adapts to life in the English top-flight, with his side gaining six points from three matches after last weekend’s late winner in the 1-0 win at Bramall Lane.
Guardiola, however, was humbled by a shocking 5-2 home defeat to Leicester City. Jamie Vardy’s second hat-trick against Guardiola’s City contributed to the Spaniard witnessing his side concede five goals in a match for the first time in his managerial career.
Despite their defensive vulnerabilities, the Citizens are odds-on at 1/3 to win this match. The draw is 9/2, with a home win a massive 15/2.
We saw on the opening day that this Leeds side are capable of giving any side a scare in their thrilling 4-3 defeat at Anfield.
However, Bielsa’s side generally defend with an unorthodox man-to-man strategy, which may allow the likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling plenty of space to move into off the ball.
With the ball, meanwhile, Leeds look to play out from the back and push midfielders into offensive areas.
While this will undoubtedly stretch City in a defensive sense, offensively it could play into their hands somewhat.
With Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus both injured until at least the international break, Raheem Sterling is likely to lead the line again.
He’s 10/11 (Sky Bet) to get off the mark in this season’s Premier League, having scored twice at Burnley in the EFL Cup in midweek.
Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring with a scorcher against his former club last weekend before things went wrong for his side, and the winger is 6/4 (Betfair) to score again. Kevin De Bruyne will be on penalty-taking duty and is 17/10 (Sky Bet) to put an uncharacteristically poor performance against Leicester quickly behind him.
Patrick Bamford has three goals in three league games and is 3/1 to become the first player in Premier League history to score in the first four games of a promoted side’s campaign.
Mateusz Klich also has three goals to his name and, like De Bruyne, will be hoping for a penalty to be awarded. He’s 11/2 (Betfred) to notch again.
There may be value on De Bruyne or Klich scoring with Mike Dean officiating this match. The 52-year-old has awarded a penalty every three games on average across his Premier League career (the highest of any active top-flight referee), and in the current climate of stricter handball laws there’s always a good chance one will be awarded.
Admittedly, Dean has been a bit more lenient in the absence of fans in the ground, but given the high-tempo, attacking inclinations of both sides I’d still expect them to pick up at least a card each.
My bet365 free Bet Builder, then, will be Over 1 Goals for Both Teams Combined, Over 0 Cards for each team, and Over 3 Corners for Manchester City at odds of 4/5.
12 of City’s last 13 league games have seen over one goal scored and neither side are watertight defensively, while City averaged 7.42 corners on the road last season.
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