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Winners & Losers

Haaland's happy homecoming! Man City winners, losers and ratings as Guardiola's side down Leeds

00:20 SAST 2022/12/29
Erling Haaland 2022-23
The Premier League's top scorer was on target yet again as the Citizens beat Leeds 3-1 at Elland Road and moved back to within five points of Arsenal.

Erling Haaland enjoyed a happy homecoming as he returned to the city of his birth on Wednesday in the Premier League and scored twice in a 3-1 win for Manchester City against Leeds United.

The striker's brace took his tally for the season to 26 already and ensures the Premier League champions leapfrog Newcastle in the table and cut the gap to leaders Arsenal back to just five points.

It wasn't quite as easy as all that, though.

Haaland had missed two good chances in the first half, and City had needed Rodri to fire them ahead against Jesse Marsch’s side in stoppage time at the end of the opening 45 minutes.

City then doubled their lead five minutes after the restart. A quick break saw Jack Grealish square the ball to Haaland to prod the ball into an empty net.

The two combined again just after the hour to make it 3-0 and seal the three points. Pascal Struijk did pull one back for Leeds but it was just a consolation as the night belonged to Haaland. Again.

  • Jack Grealish 2022-23

    The Winners

    Erling Haaland:

    The striker was back in Premier League action against his dad's old team and back in the goals, netting his 19th and 20th in just 14 league outings for Guardiola's men. In truth he probably should have had a few more. Meslier denied the Norway international twice in the first half but could do absolutely nothing when City sprung forward after a mix up between Liam Cooper and Robin Koch gifted possession to Grealish. The England international unselfishly found Haaland to all but end the game as a contest. Haaland then added City's third just after the hour after more good link-up play with Grealish.

    Rodri:

    Haaland will inevitably steal all the headlines but Rodri deserves huge credit for City's win. The midfielder was key in the first half, winning possession and building the play in midfield, and topping off his performance by scoring the opening goal. Rodri doesn't score many, indeed this was his first of the season, but this was an important goal that helped send his team on the way to victory.

    Jack Grealish:

    The England international had a pretty poor first half, wasting several good chances to score, but turned things around after the break. Grealish was gifted the ball just after half-time but did well to tee up Haaland to make it 2-0. The former Villa man then grabbed his second assist with more good link-up play with Haaland to effectively put the game out of Leeds' reach.

  • Manuel Akanji 2022-23

    The Losers

    Manuel Akanji:

    Leeds barely troubled Man City but did manage to get one back in the second half and ruin the visitors' hopes of a clean sheet. Sam Greenwood's cross found Pascal Struijk rising above Akanji to head past Ederson. It wasn't the best piece of defending by City and offered Leeds a little bit of hope in the game when Guardiola's side should have been home and dry. The Whites then almost added a second when Joe Gelhardt nipped in front of Akanji but saw his shot just drift past the post.

    Kalvin Phillips:

    The midfielder returned to his former club after his big-money summer move but did not manage a single minute despite being named on the bench. The England international also had to put up with chants from the Leeds faithful of 'you're too fat to play for Leeds' and 'Kalvin Phillips, he eats what he wants' throughout the game after Pep Guardiola revealed he had returned to the club overweight after the World Cup.

    Arsenal:

    The Gunners had extended their lead at the top of the Premier League after victory over West Ham earlier in the week but saw City move to within five points once again. The sight of Haaland scoring twice will also be ominous for Arsenal as they bid to win the Premier League title for the first time since 2004.

  • Nathan Ake 2022-23

    Man City Ratings: Defence

    Ederson (6/10): Had very little to do apart from pick the ball out of his own net in the second half.

    Rico Lewis (7/10): Made his first Premier League start and put in a composed showing. The 18-year-old should have had an assist after teeing up Grealish but saw his team-mate sky a good chance.

    John Stones (7/10): Enjoyed a good night in the City backline, although a loose back-pass late on almost put Ederson in trouble.

    Manuel Akanji (5/10): Not his greatest performance and looked the weak link in the City defence.

    Nathan Ake (6/10): Coped with everything Leeds threw at him.

  • Kevin De Bruyne 2022-23

    Midfield

    Ilkay Gundogan (6/10): Started slowly but grew into the game and played a part in the opening goal.

    Rodri (8/10): Impressed in midfield by winning the ball and building play. Also broke the deadlock just before half-time for his first goal of the season.

    Kevin De Bruyne (8/10): City’s creator-in-chief was at the heart of everything good about City’s performance. Created a host of chances for his team-mates, particularly in the first half.

  • Haaland 2022-23

    Attack

    Jack Grealish (7/10): Woeful in the first half but effective in the second. Grabbed two assists for Haaland but should have scored at least once.

    Riyad Mahrez (6/10): A decent performance from the Algerian but will want to be more involved.

    Erling Haaland (8/10): Missed two good chances before the break but rediscovered his shooting boots in the second period. Scored two simple goals but could have had a hat-trick.

  • Pep Guardiola 2022-23

    Subs & Manager

    Pep Guardiola (7/10): Admitted before the game he would preferred not to have played Leeds this week so will surely be thrillled to see his team secure a comfortable win. City were wasteful in the first half but far more effective after the break to run out winners.

    Joao Cancelo (6/10): Came on for Rico Lewis for the last 20 minutes.

    Phil Foden (6/10): Gave Grealish a breather but didn't make much of an impact.

    Cole Palmer (N/A): Only given the last few minutes.