LEEDS (A); THE REVIEW

03/02/19

One reviewed it from their sofa, another made the trip north, for this top of the table clash that left City at the summit - even after a horror run of fixtures. Here's Jon Punt and Andy Lawn to talk you through a statement win.

Random star performer

You could literally, literally, pick any of them. This was as complete a team performance as they come but the stand out was possibly Steipermann. Everything offensively went via the big German and he was a mountain of a man in holding the ball up, denying Leeds the opportunity to build up a concerted head of steam. His tendency to nick the ball at just the right time started many an attack and his purposeful yet unorthodox running is beautiful. Outstanding Marco, well played sir.

Equally outstanding, in the first half especially, was the imposing figure of Christoph Zimmermann. In an opening 45 where Leeds bettered City in possession and tested their fledgling backline, Captain Zimbo was imperious.

And for all the (often deserved) criticism officials received, Stuart Attwell was a welcome break from the usual fodder that are regularly and wildly inconsistent in their decision making. The top flight experience shone through. All the big calls were correct, and he even saw through some of Kemar Roofe's more theatrical antics. 9/10 - spotting the hands on Pukki's face would have been a perfect 10.

Moment of the match

This was not an enjoyable match to watch, yet it was glorious all at the same time. As such, the cool soothing nerve balm of Mario's second and City's third cannot be beaten. Both of Vrancic's strikes may have had shades of fortune tinging them, but it's just reward for his contribution to this side in Leitner's absence.

Shins were being shredded on seats when Max Aarons came screaming over in celebration as three goals conclusively clinched the three points. Elland Road was finally silenced as a little green and yellow corner of Norfolk exploded.

Farke watch

The team picked itself, so the focus usually turns to how Farke used his bench. As with last week there was a feeling we were starting to look a little weary as the hour mark passed, so given Bielsa had thrown all three of his subs on, fresh legs looked essential. Then we scored and none of that mattered a jot.

However. Farke's tactical game plan was a masterclass. Bielsa sides generally like a high tempo press and to play through the thirds quickly. Much of that play is high risk if not executed correctly, and as defenders started to shape to make those passes, City's frontline swarmed all over them. It was key, and set up numerous Norwich attacks, culminating in those sexual three goals.

Biggest positive to take

Leeds enjoying the lion's share of the ball, yet not really testing Tim Krul properly until the latter stages of the game is testament to the work of the defensive four. A defensive four short on experience but high on Farkelife.

That Aarons, Lewis and Godfrey continued to show the kind of composure we know they're capable of in front of a hostile Elland Road crowd says more about them as men than players. They are three barely polished gems that we have to cherish while they're here, which will in all probability be long into a Champions League campaign in 2020/21, before they seal their switches to Barca, PSG and Bayern Munich respectively.

Coupled with the fine defensive work, City have shown they have a new string to their bow, and one that could well prove key in the promotion run in. Game management. First it was on display at home to Birmingham, now at Elland Road in a much more pressurised scenario.

It would have been easy to assume a Leeds onslaught was incoming after the break, yet Norwich remained cool in possession, bought fouls to eat up time and found a way to slow proceedings up when the hosts were building up a head of steam. This level of professionalism allied to our attacking prowess and youthful exuberance could take us a long way.

Weekend whinge

Don't let Patrick Bamford score. That's not cool.

Speaking of things that aren't cool, half and half scarves. They've clearly become commonplace in the Premier League, but for a top of the table Championship clash? It's rampant and blatant opportunism gone mad.

Let us place this on record now, half and half scarves are only acceptable for cup finals involving teams that sort of like each other a fair amount. Even then it's borderline. Down with this sort of thing.

Atmosphere rating

There are few places better to watch football than a floodlit and full Elland Road. Visually complemented by their twirling scarves, Leeds fans made an early racket. Once City edged ahead though, our pocket responded with an impressively persistent vocal backing that matched the commitment the players were putting in. Walking back to the car most of us were too breathless and gasping to refill empty lungs.

Summary

Games like this, dominant and thoroughly professional, don't come around every week, but this season and this team continue to produce performances to be utterly proud of. Every yellow shirt stood up to a physical and football test posed by the next best team in this division. Our vocabulary is too limited to do justice to how special this is, but it was a statement victory. Drink it in. Savour every second. See you all Sunday.

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