Leeds United vs Manchester City: Gaffers battle as friends Bielsa and Guardiola turn rivals at Elland Road
It will be teacher vs student when Leeds United host Manchester City at Elland Road on Saturday (October 3). Marcelo Bielsa and Pep Guardiola may be good friends off the field but will be on the opposite sides. The story of their friendship is well-known in football circles and dates back to 2009 when Bielsa and Guardiola met at the former's ranch to discuss a career in coaching. It has been mutual respect, admiration, and love between the two gaffers since then
This will be the first time the two teams meet face-off in eight years. Leeds are coming off wins against Fulham and Sheffield United while City suffered a 5-2 thwacking at the hands of Leicester City. Leeds are currently perched seventh while City are placed 13th having placed three and two games respectively. At the moment, it all smiles as both managers have been very cordial with Guardiola congratulating Leeds on their promotion t the top-tier division.
Ahead of the game against City, Bielsa, as per Goal spoke about Guardiola's passion for the game. "We spoke about football and what we spoke about made me think it was someone who really thought about football," he said, while Guardiola dubbed the veteran manager as 'Special'. Having lost a close game to Liverpool in their season opener, Leeds will be keen on making a mark against City and pushing their chances of progressing further.
Knowing Bielsa's style of coaching, they will look to breach City's defense. "I never find it comfortable to talk about an opponent’s weaknesses,” he opined. "The season is very short and it’s hard to make conclusions as to whether they are weaker than before. To talk about an opponent’s weakness in public is never a comfortable thing." That said, there is no doubt Bielsa and his men will be looking to walk away with three points and make sure they give it all on the field.
Guardiola and Bielsa were managers of Barcelona and Athletic Club when Barca defeated the latter. In the three times the two managers faced off a few years back, Guardiola's team has not been beaten by Bielsa, but this time, there might be a twist in the tale as Leeds have looked fit and promising. Leeds will be without the services of Pablo Hernandez, Gaetano Berardi, Kiko Casilla, Adam Forshaw, while City will miss Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Joao Cancelo, and John Stones.
However, both teams will surely have solid gameplans and only time will tell if Bielsa can snatch a win on Saturday.
Manchester City vs Leeds United' starts 12:30 PM ET on October 3 and can be watched live on NBC.