Manchester City surged four points clear at the top of the Premier League with a thumping 7-0 victory over a demoralised Leeds United at the Eithad Stadium.
Phil Foden got the ball rolling when he chalked up City’s 500th league goal under Pep Guardiola on eight minutes before Jack Grealish netted his first league goal since August with a fine header.
Leeds struggled for an outlet throughout and City all-but sealed the points just past the half hour when Kevin De Bruyne marked his first league start since early November with a clinical finish from Rodri’s pass.
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The hosts did not let up following the interval and Riyad Mahrez made it four when his shot took a wicked deflection off Junior Firpo.
Leeds showed some belated signs of resistance but De Bruyne hammered in a scorching fifth just past the hour to leave the visitors fearing the worst.
John Stones then lashed home a sixth and substitute Nathan Ake nodded in a corner as the champions ran riot.
The result sees City equal Liverpool’s top-flight record of 33 wins (set in 1982) in a calendar year and most significantly, moves them four points ahead of the Merseysiders at the summit having played a game more.
Next up, 16th-placed Leeds host Arsenal on Saturday while City visit Newcastle on Sunday.
City gear up for busy schedule in style. This was vintage City and a real advert for the attacking talent they have at their disposal. Was it a statement of title intent as we head towards an onslaught of festive fixtures? Perhaps, but maybe it was more about enjoying some revenge.
Leeds frustrated Pep and his players in the two league games last season, but that was never on the cards here and the fact they never let up even when the match was won said much about the desire in this group. City continue to look strong and once again belied talk about the lack of a recognised, world class striker to give their goal difference a very healthy bump in the right direction.
As for Leeds, they need to get Kalvin Phillips back ASAP and put this painful defeat to one side. They are missing some key players at present and will be nervously looking over their shoulders as some of their rivals in the bottom half have played fewer games.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City). The Belgian returned to PL action with a bang. Took his first goal with a burst of speed and clinical finish before lashing in a trademark second. In truth, any number of City players could have got the nod with Rodri particularly impressive prior to being given an early rest.
MAN CITY: Ederson 7, Dias 8, Stones 8, Laporte 8, Rodri 9, Zinchenko 8, De Bruyne 9, Bernardo 7, Mahrez 9, Foden 8, Grealish 8. Subs: Gundogan 7, Fernandinho 7, Ake 7.
LEEDS UNITED: Meslier 7, Ayling 5, Llorente 5, Dallas 6, Shackleton 5, Forshaw 5, Firpo 5, Raphinha 5, James 5, Harrison 6, Roberts 5. Subs: Klich 6, Gelhardt 5, Drameh 5.
8’ - GOAL! – Man City 1-0 Leeds United. A Rodri charge ends with the ball falling kindly for Foden who easily beats Meslier but is fortunate to see his shot from just outside the area beat Dallas on the line.
13’ - GOAL! – Man City 2-0 Leeds United. Too easy. Grealish heads home Mahrez's delicious right-wing cross.
32’ - GOAL! – Man City 3-0 Leeds United. De Bruyne charges after Rodri's through ball and places the ball beyond the advancing Meslier.
49’ - GOAL! – Man City 4-0 Leeds United. Mahrez is given too much space to drop a shoulder and unleash an 18-yard strike that takes a wicked deflection off Firpo and flies into the other corner.
62’ - GOAL! – Man City 5-0 Leeds United. Wow. De Bruyne absolutely thunders a 20-yard strike beyond Meslier. He really is back with a bang.
74’ - GOAL! – Man City 6-0 Leeds United. Ridiculous. Stones hammers high into the back of the net after Meslier's heroics had twice denied City.
78’ - GOAL! – Man City 7-0 Leeds United. Seventh heaven. Ake heads home a left-wing corner.
Foden scored Man City's 500th PL goal under Pep Guardiola, in just his 207th game in charge, the fastest any manager has seen their sides reach 500 goals in the competition (previously Jürgen Klopp, 234).
Grealish scored his first ever headed goal in the Premier League and his 17th overall in the competition (second for Man City & 15 for Aston Villa).
Mahrez is the first player in Premier League history to score on his 100th appearance for two different sides in the competition (Man City & Leicester).
City’s 7-0 victory against Leeds was their joint-second largest ever top-flight league win, behind only their 8-0 thrashing of Watford in September 2019.
In the 568th game of his club managerial career, Marcelo Bielsa has seen his side concede seven goals for the very first time.
Leeds United have suffered their joint-heaviest defeat in their history as a Football League/Premier League club in all competitions, alongside seven-goal defeats to Stoke (1-8 in Aug 1934), West Ham (0-7 in Nov 1966) and Arsenal (0-7 in Sep 1979).
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