Marsch's approach to surrender attack is working
While Leeds are not mathematically safe from the drop into the Championship, they are in with more than a "fighting chance", a punchers' chance, with their position of staying up with a current trading price of 5.04/1 in the Relegation market.
The equation is simple; five points ahead of the third-from-bottom with five games to go, and with this being the late kick-off, the importance of Burnley's basement level match in the early afternoon cannot be stressed enough.
Usually there are dead rubbers at this stage of the season, but this is anything but.
Jesse Marsch has adopted a very-much needed pragmatic approach since the chaotic but much-missed football of Marcelo Bielsa, and they are unbeaten in five and have conceded just once in their last three - although those games were against Watford, Southampton and Crystal Palace. They are undoubtedly harder to beat, but attack has been sacrificed; which has got a heavy indicator from their attacking processes on the xG. Just 0.37xG was recorded against Crystal Palace last week, and before that, it was 0.90 against Watford.
The performance against the Eagles on Monday was about as turgid as you will ever see with just two shots on target. One can imagine Bielsa seething at the compromise, or indeed abandonment of any kind of attack. But these are different times, and it's what's needed. They are close to moving from the twilight zone to the comfort zone.
Crysencio Summerville (ankle) misses the rest of the season following a recent injury while Patrick Bamford (foot) is a possible for a return against Arsenal, but Kalvin Phillips started last weekend and has come back just in time for Marsch.
City still on the double course
Manchester City's head-to-head with Liverpool is much like Studio 54, a club that everyone wants to be in. Those two are the best two in the world at the moment, and it's City that still hold their position as favourites to win the Premier League title at 1.4740/85, with Liverpool at 3.185/40, and there still could be a few twists and turns.
Pep Guardiola is still chasing the double, Liverpool are still on the for the quadruple, and there is no let-up in the quality as the 4-3 against Real Madrid, a game in which the Citizens squandered a host of chances. Bizarre to think one can be critical considering they've just hit Madrid for four.
The defending of their own box is still a worry, but City will be swapping facing Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior for Dan James - a Pheidippides instead of a Euphrosyne and an altogether more agreeable opponent.
Man City are looking to complete their first league double over Leeds since 1981-82, a season that saw the Whites relegated from the top-flight, and remain unbeaten away from home in the Premier League since a 1-0 loss at Tottenham on the opening weekend (W12 D3 since).
Boost the odds in match market with a go at the handicap
With my League One hat on, there have been plenty of slip ups recently with title-chasing duo Wigan and Rotherham both messing up when trading at 1.331/3 for a win. Guardiola's men are that sort of price at 1.321/3, and if they play at a rate of anything on the lines of the reverse fixture when they won 7-0, using the hindsight method, they should be priced up at about 1.051/20!
Coming just a handful of days before the Champions League second-leg in Madrid on Wednesday, it would be easy to think the away side will rest a few, but it's impossible to try and second guess, and anyway, it will hardly make City drift out to 1.51/2 will it?
Leeds have lost just two of their last nine home league games against Manchester City (W6 D1), so historically it gives hope for those backing the Whites at 11.521/2, but Marsch will be facing a "Big Six" team for the first time, and considering he has drawn back the attacking principles, he could try to be even more defensive. If Bielsa was still in charge, we could be looking at the Over 21.5 Goals market.
I think shunning the 1/3 price in favour of a go at the Handicap is where the popular deviation lies. In the Leeds +2 market, you can back City at around 3.259/4. That seems fair enough given that Guardiola's men have scored 16 in their last six - with Liverpool and Real Madrid amongst their opponents.
Five games without defeat for the first time in exactly a year for Leeds is a good return, a great return considering their position. The fans won't accept the kind of dull football that played out in the 0-0 with Palace, as it was a most difficult watch. But the points are needed, and Raphinha is the one that has the quality to potentially make a difference.
I have the feeling the hosts will be even more defensive than normal, and for that reason I like the Both Teams To Score 'No' bet at 2.01/1 on the Sportsbook.
They only had three shots on target against a freefalling Southampton team recently, and they only managed a second at home to Norwich in the 90th minute to scrape a win. It's a fairly confident bet this one, and offers far more value than taking anything around 1.331/3.
The Sportsbook's Bet Builder proved a happy hunting ground for me last weekend in League One with a 13/1 success in the Wigan and Plymouth tie, and it's glamour again for me.
Man City's Kevin De Bruyne has been involved in eight goals in his last six Premier League appearances, scoring four and assisting four, while teammate Riyad Mahrez has been involved in 12 goals in his last nine starts in the competition (8 goals, 4 assists).
Playing these two with multiples looks a cute play, if they start of course. The "To Score Or Assist" option with the Belgian looks a good one, priced at 8/13. Backing that with the BTTS 'No' bet gives a nice multiple of 3.66.
Gabriel Jesus' four goals and one assist against Watford last time out saw the Man City forward overtake Philippe Coutinho into second place (behind only Roberto Firmino) as the Brazilian with the most Premier League goal involvements, with the Brazilian 5/1 to Score First. That gives a 10.41 Bet Builder. Again, if he starts.