It will take a Herculean effort to stop the Manchester City juggernaut. Yet that is exactly what Leeds United must try to muster to keep their survival hopes alive.

Sam Allardyce, the newly installed Leeds United commander, takes his troops to the Etihad for a clash with implications for both the title race and the battle to avoid relegation.

Manchester City versus Leeds United is a meeting between two sides with sharply contrasting fortunes. Both teams go in search of crucial points to boost their respective bids; City to retain their Premier League title and Leeds United to retain their top-flight status.

With five games to play for City and four for Leeds, the margins for error for both sides are severed depleted, more so for Leeds United, who owe their position above the relegation zone to a marginally superior goal difference.

It should make for an exciting contest, although few expect it to be anything other than a routine victory for the hosts.

A mismatch? On paper and form, yes it is. Then again, part of the enduring romance of football derives from the beautiful game’s knack for serving up upsets and “bloody hell” moments.

Can Leeds United go to the Etihad and upset a rampant Man City side looking every inch like champions-elect?

Big Sam’s tactical conundrum

It will be interesting to see how Allardyce sets out his team. Surely Leeds United can’t go toe-to-toe with the best exponents of possession-based football and hope to beat them at their own attacking game?

Allarydce can’t just sit back and try to absorb the pressure either because City, with their quality, will keep knocking on the door until they find a way to prise it open.

So, to arrive at Etihad, park the bus and try to nick a goal on the break for a smash-and-grab job, or to be a little more adventurous? It’s a tactical conundrum Big Sam must solve.

What’s at stake?

Having stayed in Arsenal’s slipstream all season and finally overtaking the leaders, City will be loathe to cede pole position back to the Gunners. The tie is a huge opportunity for Pep Guardiola’s men to steal a march on their title rivals and open a four-point cushion at the top ahead of the Gunners’ tricky tie against Newcastle United on Sunday.

It is therefore clear to see why City’s motivation and title agenda is a big threat to Leeds United’s survival bid.

For Leeds United, it’s about staying above that dreaded drop zone and hoping results elsewhere go our way.

Pivotal Monday?

The bottom three relegation candidates are all in action on Monday, with the tie between Nottingham Forest and Southampton the pick of the fixtures. If Forest prevail then that would push Southampton ever closer to the Premier League exit door. Southampton must win if they want to remain in the race for survival.

Leeds United could emerge as the secondary beneficiaries of Monday’s results, especially if Southampton beat Forest and Brighton beat Everton. The status quo would be maintained with three matches to play.

If Leicester who are above us on goal difference come a cropper at Fulham, also on Monday, then they will remain within striking distance.

My nerves are jangling and all these possible permutations are making my head spin.

Here’s hoping the new manager bounce effect is more real than myth.

Leeds United, how do I love thee!

9 April – Leeds United 1-5 Crystal Palace
17 April – Leeds United 1-6 Liverpool 
22 April – Fulham 2-1 Leeds United
25 April – Leeds United 1-1 Leicester City
29 April – Bournemouth 4-1 Leeds United 

6 May – Manchester City v Leeds United 15:00
13 May – Leeds United v Newcastle 12:30
21 May – West Ham v Leeds United 13:30
28 May – Leeds United v Tottenham 16:00

Manchester City have been installed among the favourites to win the UEFA Champions League since hiring Pep Guardiola as manager nearly eight years ago. by profile_coward_lion

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Manchester City have been installed among the favourites to win the UEFA Champions League since hiring Pep Guardiola as manager nearly eight years ago.


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

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