Manchester City reaffirmed their position at the top of the Premier League table on Tuesday night, thumping a despondent Leeds side 7-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola’s men started brilliantly and found themselves two goals to the good within the opening 13 minutes. Phil Foden showed great composure to slot home a rebounded Illan Meslier save for City’s first, before Jack Grealish emphatically nodded home Riyad Mahrez’s cross to double his side’s lead.
The hosts then practically sealed the result just after the half-hour mark when Kevin De Bruyne lashed the ball home after latching onto Rodri’s through ball.
Marcelo Bielsa’s men enjoyed a promising beginning to the second period but were very soon brought back down to Earth as City notched their fourth before the five-minute mark. A sweeping move eventually led to Mahrez, whose deflected effort found the net off Junior Firpo.
The hosts prevailed in a period of minor pressure from Leeds – in which Stuart Dallas saw a piledriver hit the post – and thought they’d found a fifth through Foden, although the English star was denied a brace by an offside call in the 62nd minute. Not deterred, however, Manchester City did find the net seconds later, when De Bruyne notched his second with an absolute scorcher into the top corner that almost took the net off.
Any sign of City showing mercy? Nope. John Stones got in on the act with around 15 minutes remaining, following in on two good saves from Meslier to eventually thrash the ball into the roof of the net. And home fans were in seventh heaven just a couple of minutes later when Nathan Ake headed home from Foden’s corner kick.
The tempo seemed to decrease somewhat after seven – disappointing, eh? – eventually allowing the referee to put an end to Leeds’ misery and blow up on a 7-0 win for the Cityzens.
Here’s how the players rated on a night of two very different emotions for either side.
Ederson (GK) – 6/10 – Honestly could’ve pulled out a book and started reading for large parts.
John Stones (RB) – 7/10 – Fared very well in an unfamiliar position, hardly ever looking in too much trouble. Finished brilliantly to make it six in the second half, too.
Ruben Dias (CB) – 6/10 – Typically strong and unmoving at the heart of defence although wasn’t exactly forced to be all too often.
Aymeric Laporte (CB) – 6/10 – Stepped forward constantly, using the ball to great effect and looked sufficiently resolute in the face of very little danger.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (LB) – 7/10 – Such a reliable presence whenever called upon, this time proving solid to make five ball recoveries while also spreading the ball beautifully.
Rodri (DM) – 8/10 – So dominant at the heart of the pitch, spreading play effectively and effortlessly to register four key passes – including a beautiful assist for De Bruyne’s strike.
Bernardo Silva (CM) – 7/10 – Missed a sitter in the opening minutes but normal service resumed soon enough, displaying those quite brilliantly silky feet time and time again before surprisingly being replaced at the break.
Kevin De Bruyne (CM) – 10/10 – Fantastic energy and movement throughout, proving untameable and looking his usual self in advanced areas. Deservedly finished brilliantly for his first before finishing sensationally to grab a brace. A vintage performance.
Riyad Mahrez (RW) – 9/10 – Threatening and clinical in his play, delivering a perfect cross for Grealish’s strike before getting a goal of his own in the second half.
Phil Foden (CF) – 8/10 – Floated around nicely and was heavily involved in City’s smooth building of play, while also keeping his composure to open the scoring. Put in a good corner to assist his side’s seventh, as well.
Jack Grealish (LW) – 8/10 – Very direct from minute one, driving at his opposition with real intent. Got his reward for a punchy performance with a well-taken headed goal.
Ilkay Gundogan (CM) – 8/10 – Immediately displayed his elusiveness and even claimed a brace of assists for his side’s fourth and fifth goals.
Fernandinho (DM) – 7/10 – Characteristically composed.
Nathan Ake (CB) – 7/10 – Good header for his side’s seventh.
Illan Meslier (GK) – 4/10 – Might’ve done better with some of the goals but, to be honest, in the mood City were in, he was never going to keep a clean sheet.
Jamie Shackleton (RB) – 5/10 – The score was only 3-0 when an injury forced him off. Read into that what you will.
Luke Ayling (CB) – 4/10 – Read play nicely at times and did some good work on the cover, but couldn’t handle the devastating nature of his opposition.
Diego Llorente (CB) – 3/10 – Dragged out of position by City’s fluidity so easily and was really let down by some weak defending and shaky use of possession.
Junior Firpo (LB) – 2/10 – Made one brilliant dart into the final third but was otherwise completely and utterly woeful. When I say woeful, I mean woeful.
Stuart Dallas (CM) – 6/10 – Probably should have cleared Foden’s effort off the line to prevent the opposition’s opener but generally battled hard throughout – although so clearly in vain. Unlucky to see a stunning effort flick off the post in the second half.
Adam Forshaw (CM) – 4/10 – Failed to really ever get a footing in the match and felt pretty absent from proceedings.
Tyler Roberts (AM) – 3/10 – Pressed incessantly but was nowhere near inventive enough to create or dominate in the number ten role.
Raphinha (RW) – 3/10 – Worked diligently and proved a threat when Leeds got him involved in the game but, my goodness, was that rare.
Dan James (ST) – 3/10 – Showed his pace when running the channels to provide some sort of option as an outlet but was rarely even picked up by the cameraman, let alone involved in the action. Hooked off at half time.
Jack Harrison (LW) – 3/10 – Had an opportunity with Stones playing out of position, but just didn’t take it.
Mateusz Klich (CM) – 4/10 – Demonstrated some more dynamic movement in the Leeds midfield but, quite predictably, didn’t do all that much to change the balance of play.
Joe Gelhardt (ST) – 3/10 – Couldn’t make the same impact as he made at Chelsea.
Cody Drameh (LB) – N/A