Manchester City showed no mercy against a Leeds team troubled by injuries. From minute one to minute 90, the Blues launched a bombardment of assaults, with a total of 31 shots on the Leeds goal. Phil Foden scored the game’s first goal with a beautiful finish, while City’s second came from Jack Grealish, who finally got his goal after a lengthy wait. Just before halftime, Kevin De Bruyne came close to securing the three points, squeezing a finish past Illan Meslier’s near post.
The second half was an exact duplicate of the first, with City on the attack and Leeds camped in their box, trying to escape a worse scoreline. De Bruyne doubled his tally with a tremendous shot, Riyad Mahrez scored City’s fifth goal thanks to a deflection, John Stones hammered in the sixth, and Nathan Aké completed the sweep with a header.
Riyad Mahrez has been one player who has come on from the bench for City and given brilliant performances time and again. With his deflected strike in the 7-0 demolition of Leeds on Tuesday night, his record of scoring 10 or more in every season since moving to the Etihad remains intact. He is Manchester City’s top scorer in all competitions but has only started five of the 13 Premier League games he has featured in, but the Algerian has started all of City’s Champions League games. He has three goals and four assists so far in the Premier League and has scored five goals in the Champions League.
Mahrez has predominantly started on the right-hand side of the City front three in all of the games that he has played. The left wide forward has either been Jack Grealish or Raheem Sterling. Pep Guardiola usually plays his wide forwards in such a way that they can cut in to provide crosses into the box or even take a shot on goal. Mahrez has been doing exactly that for his team.
The above visual shows us the attacking and creativity metrics for Riyad Mahrez in the Premier League. Mahrez has generated an xG of 0.43 per 90 minutes and has 3.43 shots on average in a game. He has attempted 14.54 attacking actions per 90 minutes and has been able to complete 46.23% of these attacking actions. Mahrez is one of the best dribblers in the league and always finds a way to get past his marker with his quick feet. He has attempted 6.17 dribbles per 90 minutes and has a success rate of 77.78% with the dribbles he attempts.
Riyad Mahrez has not only been scoring goals for his team but also contributes to his team by providing assists as well as pre-assists when he gets into the final third from the right flank. His crosses always find the target man in the box. He attempted 3.98 crosses per 90 minutes and lies in the 97th percentile for the same. He has attempted 48.70 passes on average and has a pass accuracy rate of 89.01%.
Riyad Mahrez has attempted most of his shots from the right flank or the central part of the final third. He has attempted 3.43 shots per 90 minutes and has had 24% of his shots on target. This is despite him only coming on as a sub in most of his matches. If he is given more time on the field, these numbers will change and he can be more effective in the final third. He has started every match in the Champions League for City and has scored five goals in six matches. He boasts a better goalscoring record in the European tournament because he is getting more playing time and can dominate the game.
One of the major contributions Mahrez has been provided to his team is that he gets into great positions on the right flank to put the ball into the 18-yard box. As seen in the above visual, the passes he has played into the penalty area have generated a high xT as these passes are played into threatening areas from where their striker has a higher chance to score the goal.
In the City shirt, the former Leicester man has made several crucial contributions. Last season, Mahrez’s three goals in the Champions League semi-final match against Paris Saint-Germain proved vital as Guardiola’s side advanced to their first final in European club football’s elite league. The City manager understands he has a player in Mahrez who can come up when his club needs him the most. He has always been that player who comes off the bench to provide that extra threat from the wider areas when his team needs him, but the Algerian can have a greater impact on the game if he is present in the starting eleven.