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Confirmed XI: Greenwood, Pogba, Fernandes and James lead the attack against Leeds; Sancho on the bench

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Manchester United will start the 2021/22 Premier League season against Leeds United at Old Trafford this afternoon. It will be a big test for United, who did not start in the best possible way last season, falling to a 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at home. One thing to look at is that this fixture last season was a 6-2 victory for United with a great performance from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side. That said, the reverse fixture at Elland Road back in April was a stale 0-0 draw and a big miss for United. Last summer, the last of a pre-season was a big loss for United and the coronavirus pandemic delaying the Premier League season until the summer and both the UEFA Champions League and Europa League competitions were played in August, with the new season starting in September, a week later for United because of their participation in Europe.

The Theatre of Dreams will have a capacity around for the first time since the 8 March 2020 when United beat rivals Manchester City 2-0 through Anthony Martial and an injury time stunner from Scott McTominay which saw the Old Trafford faithful erupt as Solskjaer beat Pep Guardiola’s side once again. Leeds United will not be a pushover despite the last result between the two sides in the Premier League with United running riot over their bitter rivals and since that match, Leeds have been well drilled by manager Marcelo Bielsa, who has recently signed a new one-year contract at the club. The match will be broadcast like on BT Sport 1HD in the United Kingdom with coverage starting at 11:30 am on Saturday with the match kicking off an hour later. United may have summer signings Tom Heaton, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane involved in this match.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

McTominay, Fred;

James, Fernandes, Pogba;

Greenwood

Substitutes:

Heaton; Dalot, Williams; Mata, Pereira, Matic, Van de Beek; Martial, Sancho

Leeds United:

Meslier;

Ayling, Cooper, Koch, Dallas;

Raphina, Struik, Klich, Harrison;

Rodrigo, Bamford

Substitutes:

Klaesson, Firpo, Forshaw, Roberts, Costa, Phillips, Summerville, Greenwood, Shackleton

United and Leeds United have met 26 times in the Premier League alone. The Red Devils have won 14 times, drawing eight times with the Yorkshire club winning the remaining four matches. United have scored a total of 41 Premier League goals against Leeds, who have scored 19 goals against United – who won one penalty, scoring it with Leeds yet to win a penalty against United. The Red Devils have kept 14 clean sheets with Leeds keeping just six. With this fixture being a Derby match between two bitter rivals, there will always be discipline issues. United players have been booked 35 times with no red cards and Leeds players have earned 50 yellow cards, also being shown two red cards. This looks to become a good match this season, with Leeds into their second year back in the English top flight and United continuing their rebuild towards the future.

Over the course of history between both United and Leeds, there have been many players who have represented both teams. From Joe Jordan, Gordon McQueen, Arthur Graham ad Alan Smith. The main players though will be Rio Ferdinand, who signed for United from Leeds in the summer of 2002 for around £30 million. He instantly became the most expensive defender in the world, at the time. Serving United for around 12 years, making 455 appearances, scoring eight goals and nine assists. He’s not the biggest name though. There is one Eric Cantona. A steal at £1.6 million, but United got him so much cheaper. The Frenchman played 180 times for United, scoring 81 goals and 62 assists and was a massive mistake for Leeds, who at the time of his transfer commencing, wanted Denis Irwin from United. He will forever be known for a Kung-Fu kick.

Written by John Walker

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