The prospect of facing Leeds United on 28 December, as well as Elland Road’s raucous atmosphere, were key topics of discussion for Manchester City’s Phil Foden in a recent interview with Amazon Prime.
Asked what it is like to play at Elland Road, Foden admitted that it can be a “scary” place for opposition players to visit.
Despite stating that he and his teammates had items thrown at them in their 0-4 win at the venue last season, the England international was still full of praise for the Whites’ home stadium.
“It can be scary. Definitely. They feel so on top of you, always shouting, throwing paper at me last time, but I enjoy those occasions, playing against big teams like Leeds, and the atmosphere they create. It’s good for the Premier League as well to have atmospheres like this,” he said.
“The fans make it such a special stadium. You definitely have to be on your best game to play there and get a result.”
The importance of atmosphere
Ask any football supporter, Leeds fan or not, for their list of the most atmospheric English football stadiums and Elland Road should always rank near the top.
And rightfully so, as the vociferousness of the Elland Road faithful impresses every single match day.
Time and time again, teams have traveled to Yorkshire and capitulated under the pressure of the crowd, whose ferocity is enough to rattle even the best teams.
Take, for example, the Whites 3-0 home demolition of top six side Chelsea in August which saw a team of superior quality effectively collapse in front of a baying crowd of dedicated support.
The inspired 4-3 comeback against Bournemouth in November marks yet another instance of this. When Sam Greenwood turned the tide with a beautifully taken long-range finish to make the game 2-3, Leeds’ fightback seemed almost inevitable as the Cherries succumbed to the same support which had made Chelsea crumble months earlier.
Foden and the rest of the City squad will be more than accustomed to playing in hostile atmospheres, however, so Leeds boss Jesse Marsch will need to rely on more than just fervent support to get a result when the league champions come calling.