By George Overhill

19th Nov, 2022 | 8:10am

Leeds United in perfect position to use World Cup break and upset Manchester City analysis shows

Leeds United are perfectly placed to spring a major upset against Manchester City after the World Cup break, based on new analysis.

There are now six weeks with no Premier League football as international sides descend on Qatar for the first midseason tournament for English sides.

And the Whites have delivered strong performances in all of their games against the so called ‘big six’ teams they’ve faced so far, winning twice, and losing two tight ones they could have easily taken points from.

Danny Murphy had argued on talkSPORT on Thursday (17 November) that teams with more players in Qatar would have an advantage over those that have fewer, such as the Whites who have just three at the tournament, not including Dan James who is at Fulham.

He said (1min): “I think you’re at an advantage the more players you have at the World Cup playing regular competitive football.

“If you’ve got nearly all of your squad sitting at home, six weeks without playing competitive football, you have to manage their training and build them back up to an intensity level that’s very difficult, let me tell you, to try and find again.”

But new analysis from The Times on Friday (18 November) brings a counter-argument, based on how fatigued players from each team will be when they are thrown back into Premier League football in late December.

Using the number of club minutes players have played, the number of international minutes they’ve had over the past two years, and the expectation of how far they will go in the tournament – and therefore how many extra games they will play – they calculated a “fatigue score” for each team.

Leeds United came out with the fourth-lowest number of 117, while the most affected team is expected to be Pep Guardiola’s, who have 16 players in Qatar, with their score far higher at 758.

As luck would have it the Whites’ first game back on 28 December is at Elland Road against Manchester City, providing an immediate chance to take advantage of any such fatigue.

Clearly, there is some merit to what Murphy argued, and City have a squad of enough quality that they could still win the game with ease, especially since Erling Haaland hasn’t been at the World Cup.

But given the extra games, the travel, and the heat in Qatar, coupled with the fact that Jesse Marsch has got the best from his team in the biggest games, as well as Leeds already experiencing a long lay-off once this season when they went a month without a game following the death of the Queen, the door is certainly open for an upset.

In other Leeds United news, BBC journalists were in stitches as a Cristiano Ronaldo-style Piers Morgan interview was suggested to get one unfortunate Whites player out of Elland Road.