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Hot shot... Manchester City's Erling Haaland has 18 league goals this season and he will be looking forward to facing struggling Leeds in their Premier League clash at Elland Road. Image Credit: Action Images via Reuters

Dubai: English Premier League champions Manchester City are on a mission to dethrone current table toppers Arsenal and collecting three points against Leeds United at Elland Road should be child’s play for them.

The reason I say this is because in their last two matches against them, Pep Guardiola’s side smashed in 11 goals without reply. They thrashed Leeds 7-0 at the Etihad Stadium last season and also blew them away 4-0 away.

City know they cannot afford any slip ups as they are eight points adrift of Mikel Arteta’s Gunners and I think we will see a polished performance from them.

Licking his lips

The Whites entered the FIFA World Cup break in 15th place with 15 points and adding to that tally will be difficult against Erling Haaland and co. The Norway striker will be licking his lips considering Leeds have not kept a clean sheet in 11 successive matches. The 23-year-old, who has had a month off as his country were not in Qatar, is fresh and raring to go. He has already scored for City in their Caraboa Cup win against Liverpool but coach Guardiola will be keen for his talisman to keep his incredible scoring run going in the league as City aim to catch Arsenal.

I think Haaland can grab a hatful. He already has 18 goals in his first 14 games in English football and can add to that at Elland Road against a stuttering Leeds side. England international Phil Foden has 10 goal contributions in the league and with Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez both on hot form Leeds could be on the end of another heavy loss.

City have serious work to do if they are to catch Arsenal who extended their lead at the top with a 3-1 win over West Ham on Boxing Day. City’s away form has been good – they have conceded just one goal in their last six away from the Etihad in all competitions.

Injury list

Yes, they lost their last match before the World Cup break against Brentford, but should have no trouble against Leeds who will be without a host of players including the suspended Tyler Adams as well as long-term injury victims Stuart Dallas and Archie Gray. Illan Meslier is recovering from fever and is doubt as is Crysencio Summerville, Rodrigo, Liam Cooper, Jack Harrison and Mateusz Klich. They will be desperate for striker Patrick Bamford to be passed fit to give them any sort of chance at all but with so many injuries to contend with I fear another pasting for Jesse March’s side who will face a City team full of refreshed international stalwarts. But, Julian Alvarez - the only City player to make it beyond the World Cup quarter-finals - likely won’t return until the new year as he celebrates Argentina’s triumph.

Still, surely there can be only one result here, and a big one at that. City were at their relentless best against Jurgen Klopp’s Reds in the cup and will have no trouble getting a few goals against a weak Leeds side.