- Goals: Rodrigo Moreno (£5.8m) | Raheem Sterling (£11.5m)
- Assists: Ferran Torres (£6.9m)
- Bonus points: Rodrigo M x3, Sterling x2, Liam Cooper x1 (£4.4m)
Owners of Kevin De Bruyne (£11.7m) can feel very unfortunate after he recorded a second blank of the season in Gameweek 4.
The Manchester City midfielder struck the post with a clever free-kick inside the opening exchanges, while some may feel that his penalty-taking should have been called into action late in the game.
Raheem Sterling (£11.5m) looked to have been brought down illegally in the box by Leif Davis (£4.0m) but neither Mike Dean nor VAR were convinced it was a foul.
On any other day, the typically brilliant De Bruyne might have come out of either situation with goals to his name but, on an evening where Leeds eventually stole the show, it was simply not his day.
DEFENSIVE DE BRUYNE
It was also clear that playing two games in three days had taken its toll on the Belgian who ended up tasked with more defensive duties at Elland Road than his 44.8% ownership would have liked.
Thanks to Leeds’ spirited and open play, they ended up with more possession than Manchester City’s men (52.8% to 47.2%), more big chances (five to zero) and more shots on target (seven to one).
As a result, De Bruyne was bogged down in a midfield battle for large spells of Saturday’s encounter, unable to operate in the exciting number 10 position that Guardiola had cast him in for City’s last away trip (at Wolves).
Reprising such a role was not possible for the Belgian at Elland Road. His freedom at Molineux had been unlocked by a defensive midfield double-up of Rodrigo (£5.5m) and Fernandinho (£5.5m), but the latter was named on the bench for Gameweek 4.
Contributing to defensive duties at Leeds was a job that De Bruyne performed, unsurprisingly, offering greater work rate than those around him and winning more tackles than any other colleague on Saturday.
But it probably goes without saying that finishing top of that metric for the evening is not something De Bruyne’s Fantasy owners were particularly enamoured by. It was only after Fernandinho came on for Mahrez in the 77th minute that the Belgian was freed up to make more significant contributions to attack, but it was a little too late.
“They make a good build-up with the goalkeeper and they put a lot of players behind our midfield line. After our attack, they are quick with their fast players outside. It is not easy to play against them. We were there and made a good defensive game but we had to do that more than usual because they are good in the transitions.” – Pep Guardiola
“If you watch when Guardiola makes a defensive change, when Fernandinho comes on, this is when they started to impose themselves on the game once more. It was a very intelligent substitution and it had a big influence on the game, which indicates a lot of the time that you have to defend better so you can attack well.” – Marcelo Bielsa
Meanwhile, as was the case against Leicester, De Bruyne was asked to split corner-taking duties with Riyad Mahrez (£8.4m), robbing him of a complete monopoly over set-play situations.
STRIKERLESS MAN CITY
This is now the first time since 2010 that Manchester City have failed to win more than one of their first three Premier League games of a season. The ongoing absence of a recognised striker for the Citizens was a key factor behind their draw at Leeds.
Guardiola handed Mahrez the central role on Saturday but he was largely ineffective during his time on the pitch.
The Algerian international struggled to cope with the physicality of centre-backs Liam Cooper (£4.4m) and Robin Koch (£4.5m), robbing Manchester City of something to aim at when pressing forward.
While Sterling finally found his first goal of the campaign, it was not from a centre-forward position. He received the ball from Ferran Torres (£6.9m) on the left-hand side, made a jinking run inside, past two defenders and guided the ball beyond Illan Meslier (£4.5m)
It was a passage of play that highlighted how much better Sterling is as a winger than as a striker – another dilemma facing Guardiola in the absence of Gabriel Jesus (£9.4m) and Sergio Aguero (£10.4m).
Even still, the Englishman’s evening was largely littered with some poor decisions and propensity to run down dead-ends in Leeds’ defence, although operating next to an ineffective centre-forward in Mahrez probably increased the pressure on him to fashion chances via take-ons.
Owners of Manchester City assets may take some comfort from the fact they host Arsenal in Gameweek 5, after the international break. Guardiola’s men beat the Gunners 3-0 in this fixture during Project Restart with goals from Sterling, De Bruyne and Phil Foden (£6.6m). However, they did so on that day with the help of Jesus leading the line, who currently has an estimated return date of Gameweek 6…
While Patrick Bamford (£5.8m) registered his first blank of the season, it was not for lack of trying against Manchester City.
The Leeds forward finished this match with more shots (four) and more shots in the box (four) than any other player on the pitch, an impressive achievement considering the opponents.
However, Fantasy managers should probably keep an eye on Rodrigo Moreno (£5.8m) following his impressive cameo appearance.
He came on for central midfielder Tyler Roberts (£5.0m) in the 56th minute and contributed to a change of shape for Leeds. Instead of a 4-1-4-1, they were able to operate with two forward men on the field – and it had the desired impact.
Rodrigo pounced in the box to equalise when Ederson‘s (£6.0m) failed clearance clattered into Benjamin Mendy (£6.0m) and saw an effort turned onto the crossbar minutes later.
It will be worth keeping an eye on how often Rodrigo features for Leeds based on his contribution to Saturday’s draw, although Jack Harrison (£5.5m) will be back in the picture for Gameweek 5 – he missed this match as he was ineligible to face his parent club, Manchester City.
“Progressively he will begin to show the great quality that he has. Today, he had a very good start and perhaps the pace of the game hindered him towards the end of the half. When he is able to play at a good physical level for us I think he will make a difference.” – Marcelo Bielsa
Leeds United XI (4-1-4-1): Meslier; Dallas, Cooper, Koch, Ayling; K Phillips; Alioski (Poveda-Ocampo 46′), Roberts (Rodrigo M 56′), Klich (L Davis 77′), Costa; Bamford.
Manchester City XI (4-3-3): Ederson; B Mendy (Aké 71′), Laporte, Dias, Walker; Foden, Rodrigo, De Bruyne; Mahrez (Fernandinho 77′), Sterling, Torres (B Silva 65′).
Lessons Learned from FPL Gameweek 4
- Chelsea 4-0 Crystal Palace
- Everton 4-2 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Leeds United 1-1 Manchester City
- Newcastle United 3-1 Burnley
- Leicester City 0-3 West Ham United
- Southampton 2-0 West Bromwich Albion
- Arsenal 2-1 Sheffield United
- Wolves 1-0 Fulham
- Manchester United 1-6 Tottenham Hotspur
- Aston Villa 7-2 Liverpool
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