Sam Allardyce has returned to the Premier League with the goal of sparking an instant improvement in Leeds’ fortunes, but surely that cannot begin with his new club failing to win against the reigning champions, can it? Manchester City won all but one of their nine matches last month and seem to be set for an insurmountable lead at the top of the league. Allardyce’s new team surrendered more goals in April (23) than any Premier League club has ever conceded in one month.
At the very least, Leeds’ season cannot be as awful as it was last year, when they were defeated 7-0 at the Etihad Stadium. Can it? Here’s how to watch the game and everything you should know:
• Saturday, May 6 | 10 a.m. ET • Venue: Etihad Stadium, London • TV: USA | Live stream: fuboTV (free trial)Manchester City is -800, the draw is +800, and Leeds is +1600 (via Caesars Sportsbook).
City of Manchester: What new worlds await Erling Haaland now that he has broken the Premier League scoring record (previously held by Andrew Cole and Alan Shearer in 42-game seasons) with five games remaining? The esoteric remain within grasp – Haaland needs four goals on Saturdays to match Mohamed Salah’s return from 2017-18 – but so do the seemingly insurmountable. Dixie Dean got 63 points in all competitions in 1927-28; Haaland needs 12 in what may be 10 games to equal that.
Haaland maintains he isn’t thinking about Dean’s mark, but he will undoubtedly have something special in mind when he faces his local team. He may be a Norwegian international, but Haaland is a Yorkshire local, having been born while his father, Alfe Inge, was a Leeds player. The last thing the Whites need is to come up against a fired-up Haaland.
Leeds: Allardyce finds himself in an unusual circumstance. With just four games remaining, all of which are different degrees of very tough, the 68-year-old may believe that he cannot afford to lose much ground in terms of his status. If Leeds went down, he simply did not have the time to make changes. If they endure, which may be due to the failures of others as much as his own accomplishments, Allardyce’s fame will rise.
He certainly didn’t show any lack of confidence in his ability when he was introduced on Wednesday. “Far too many people believe I am old and antiquated, which is far from the case.” In football terms, I may be 68 years old, but there is no one ahead of me. “Not Pep, Klopp, or Arteta,” Allardyce said. Pep Guardiola agreed with that assessment, and Leeds supporters may as well in a few weeks if he transforms one of the league’s poorest defences into something capable of surviving.
Allardyce would simply not have had the time to do anything that may even slow City down. This may be a gruelling start to life as Leeds manager. Manchester City 4, Leeds 0.