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When Jesse Marsch took the reins from Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road in February, Leeds were positioned in the relegation zone and hopes of clambering their way to safety seemed slim.

While demotion to the Championship still remains a possibility, fears of the drop have eased since Marsch’s arrival. The American started out with back-to-back league defeats against Leicester City and Aston Villa, but he has since made his mark with the Whites, accumulating 11 points during a five-game unbeaten run.

Leeds remain 16th in the Premier League table and five points clear of the bottom three, though Everton in 18th place still have one game in hand.

Marsch has notably tightened up what once was a leaky defence, with Leeds conceding only four goals in their last five games and keeping successive clean sheets in their last two matches against Watford and Crystal Palace, just their fourth and fifth shutouts in 2021-22.

Considering that they shipped 21 goals in their previous six matches, Leeds have made vast improvements defensively, but their backline will now face the “ultimate test” according to Marsch, when they come up against league leaders Man City, who thumped the Whites 7-0 earlier this season.

With Leeds to face the Citizens, Arsenal and Chelsea in their next three league games, this challenging run could be a defining moment in their season and any points picked up will be invaluable in their bid to avoid the drop.

The Whites are unbeaten in their last three home meetings against City, including a 1-1 draw last season, and a surprise victory on Saturday would see them move eight points clear of the relegation zone before Everton face Chelsea on Sunday.

Leeds will be without Adam ForshawTyler RobertsCrysencio Summerville and Patrick Bamford due to injury, though the latter is closing in on a return to training and hopes to feature before the end of the season.

Marsch revealed that Mateusz Klich was replaced by Robin Koch at half time against Crystal Palace for tactical reasons, but the Poland international is expected to start in midfield on Saturday alongside star man Kalvin Phillips.

Jack Harrison, who was once on the books at Man City despite failing to make a single appearance, has scored three goals in his last four appearances and is set to keep his place on the left flank, joining RaphinhaRodrigo and Daniel James in attack.

As for Man City, defensive duo John Stones and Kyle Walker remain sidelined with respective muscle and ankle injuries; the former came off in the first half against Real Madrid, while the latter has missed the last four matches across all competitions.

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Joao Cancelo missed the midweek win due to a one-match European suspension, but the 27-year-old is set to return to the starting lineup on Saturday and play at right-back, potentially joining Ruben DiasAymeric Laporte and Oleksandr Zinchenko in the back four.

Guardiola may decide to rotate his side in both midfield and attack, with FernandinhoIlkay GundoganRaheem Sterling and Jack Grealish all pushing to start after beginning on the bench in midweek.

Leeds United possible starting lineup:
Meslier; Ayling, Llorente, Cooper, Dallas; Klich, Phillips; Raphinha, Rodrigo, Harrison; James

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko; Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne; Jesus, Sterling, Grealish

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