Player ratings as Guardiola gets the better of Allardyce

FROM THE ETIHAD STADIUM – Manchester City moved four points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 win over relegation threatened Leeds United.

The visitors were under the stewardship of Sam Allardyce for the first time after he replaced Javi Gracia as manager earlier in the week, and they almost grabbed the unlikeliest of points despite City dominating throughout.

A first half brace from Ilkay Gundogan had set City on their way to victory and he should have completed his hat-trick on 84 minutes when Erling Haaland handed him the ball to take a penalty conceded by Pascal Struijk – the German instead struck the post

Leeds then went straight down the other end to reduce the arrears; Rodrigo capitalising on Manuel Akanji’s error to sent up a tense finish.

Allardyce’s system frustrated City in the opening 15 minutes – debutant Joel Robles going untested – as Julian Alvarez fired over the bar after good work from Riyad Mahrez, but it didn’t take long for the Algerian to create the opener.

The former Leicester man stepped inside Junior Firpo and found Gundogan who swept the ball home from the edge of the box with a precise finish.

Robles then denied Erling Haaland from close range, but there was nothing he could do as Mahrez and Gundogan instigated a rinse and repeat just before the half-hour mark – this time the latter firing into the opposite corner.

City camped in Leeds’ half for the remainder of the opening period, with Ederson a genuine spectator other than making a smart stop from Weston McKennie’s header soon after Gundogan’s second strike, and Phil Foden almost celebrated his return to the starting line-up with a goal of the season contender.

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The second half saw more City domination as Haaland hit the bar and had a header saved by Robles, before Nathan Ake was forced off through injury – a real concern ahead of the Champions League semi-final tie with Real Madrid.

Haaland then saw a deflected effort hit the post – summing his afternoon up – while Mahrez had a whipped free-kick kept out by Robles.

Gundogan should have put the game to bed from 12 yards after Struijk upended Foden, but his sidefoot penalty hit the upright and ricocheted away. Leeds broke away immediately and made it 2-1 as Rodrigo punished Akanji’s indecision with a smart finish into the bottom corner.

City held on for the win – their fans chanting ‘champions’ on the day of King Charles III’s coronation – and it’s a question of when they will be crowned Premier League champions rather than if should they keep winning.

Phil Foden

Phil Foden looked bright for City / Gareth Copley/GettyImages

GK: Ederson – 7/10 – Made one good save from McKennie but he will likely not have an easier afternoon.

RWB: Rico Lewis – 7/10 – Pushed forward whenever possible and got involved, but sloppy in possession at times.

CB: Manuel Akanji – 5/10 – Strong and composed and actually spent a lot of time in midfield, but his error for the Leeds goal could have cost his team.

CB: Aymeric Laporte – 7/10 – Did what he had to and coped with Bamford pretty well – like Ederson often a spectator as the one man left in defence.

CB: Nathan Ake – 7/10 – Didn’t put a foot wrong and looked good going forward before succumbing to injury.

DM Rico Lewis – 7/10 – Pushed forward whenever possible and got involved, but sloppy in possession at times.

DM: Ilkay Gundogan (c) – 9/10 – Outstanding from City’s captain – helped dominate the midfield and also helped himself to two goals, both great finishes.

AM: Kevin De Bruyne – 9/10 – Superb as ever – Leeds couldn’t get near him as he buzzed around always wanting the ball.

AM: Julian Alvarez – 5/10 – Busy enough and had his chances but finishing was poor.

RW: Riyad Mahrez – 9/10 – Junior Firpo will need medical attention to stop his head spinning – Mahrez dominated him from the first whistle and helped himself to two assists.

CF: Erling Haaland – 5/10 – The Leeds-born striker clearly just didn’t want to score against his hometown club – could and should have bagged a couple at least. Turned down penalty.

LW: Phil Foden – 8/10 – Gave Luke Ayling a torrid time and almost scored a worldie of a volley just before half-time.


Kyle Walker (50′ for Ake) – 6/10

Bernardo Silva (87′ for Ake) – N/A

Rodri (90′ for Gundogan) – N/A

Subs not used: Ortega, Phillips, Stones, Grealish, Ruben Dias, Gomez


Pep Guardiola – 9/10 – His energy on the touchline is amazing – rubbed off on his time throughout, didn’t want to settle for just beating Leeds. A born winner. Not happy with Haaland not taking penalty summed him up.


Bamford was isolated up front / LINDSEY PARNABY/GettyImages

GK: Joel Robles – 6/10 – Tough debut but not a lot he could do about the goals and made a couple of very good saves.

RB: Luke Ayling (C) – 5/10 – Given a torrid time by Foden, barely got near him.

CB: Max Wober – 6/10 – One of Leeds’ better players and never gave up, some big clearances.

CB: Rasmus Kristensen – 6/10 – Put a good shift in and considering he isn’t a centre-back, not bad.

LB: Junior Firpo – 2/10 – Just couldn’t handle Mahrez. Complete mismatch in terms of ability.

DM: Adam Forshaw – 4/10 – Worked hard but could not get into the game, which was spent chasing the shadows of De Bruyne and Gundogan.

CM: Marc Roca – 4/10 – Showed some brightness in the first half, leading a few counter attacks, but struggled to see much of the ball.

CM: Weston McKennie – 5/10 – Like his midfield colleagues, just didn’t see enough of the ball.

RW: Wilfried Gnonto – 3/10 – Barely touched the ball, taken off on the hour. Not a good day.

CF: Patrick Bamford – 5/10 – Battled away against Akanji and Laporte and tried to hold the ball up. A couple of half chances, but spent most of the game in his own half.

LW: Jack Harrison – 4/10 – Not a good return to his former club, though the second half was better than the first.


Sam Greenwood (58′ for Roca) – 5/10 – Not able to impact the game enough.

Rodrigo (58′ for Gnonto) – 6/10 – Took his opportunity really well, giving Leeds half a chance they didn’t really deserve.

Crysencio Summerville (65′ for Harrison) – 5/10 – N/A

Pascal Struijk (80′ for Forshaw) – N/A

Brenden Aaronson (80′ for Bamford) – N/A

Subs not used: Meslier, Koch, Rutter, Gray


Sam Allardyce

Manchester City v Leeds United – Premier League / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Sam Allardyce – 6/10 – His changes to the side made no difference, but his subs did well when they came and gave his side some hope.

Player of the Match – Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)