Preview: Time to build something and destroy Leeds – top four this season is a must…

Attack, attack, attack - this is what United will need to do in order to win

Leeds United -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Elland Road, Leeds

Sunday 20 February 2022, KO 14:00 GMT

Referee: Paul TierneyAssistants: Lee Betts, Neil Davies

Fourth Official: Mike Dean

VAR: Chris Kavanagh – Assistant VAR: Adam Nunn

Manchester United travel to face Leeds United at Elland Road in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. Ralf Rangnick’s side returned to winning ways in a 2-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday evening at Old Trafford.

Leeds are not in great form with three defeats, one draw and two wins in their last six matches and at the time of writing, sit in 15th place in the Premier League table just five points above the relegation zone. United sit in fourth place a point ahead of West Ham United with a game in hand.

United will need to find a way to overcome the poor performances and results. Whilst it was a victory over Brighton, it was less than convincing with Brighton playing well against United and them only able to score after 51 minutes and not really able to take advantage over a ten-man team.

This match will need to show more from United. This fixture was a 0-0 draw last season and United should really have the firepower to take advantage of this Leeds side who are not really achieving much this season. Come on United!

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WDDLWW

Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 W, Southampton 1-1 D, Burnley 1-1 D, Middlesbrough 1-1 (8-7) L, West Ham United 1-0 W, Brentford 3-1 W

Goals: 15 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 8 – Bruno Fernandes, 6 – Mason Greenwood, 5 – Marcus Rashford, 4 – Jadon Sancho, 2 – Edinson Cavani, Fred, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay, 1 – Anthony Elanga, Own Goal, Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek

Assists: 12 – Bruno Fernandes, 8 – Paul Pogba, 4 – Fred, Luke Shaw, 3 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 2 – Mason Greenwood, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Marcus Rashford, 1 – Edison Cavani, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay, Alex Telles, Raphael Varane

Leeds – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: LDLWLW

Everton 3-0 L, Aston Villa 3-3 D, Newcastle United 1-0 L, West Ham United 3-2 W, West Ham United 2-0 L, Burnley 3-1 W

Goals: 8 – Raphinha, 6 – Jack Harrison, 4 – Daniel James, 2 – Patrick Bamford, Diego Llorente, Rodrigo Moreno, 1 – Luke Ayling, Stuart Dallas, Joe Gelhardt, Mateusz Klich, Kalvin Phillips, Tyler Roberts

Assists: 3 – Patrick Bamford, 2 – Luke Ayling, Jack Harrison, Mateusz Klich, Raphinha, 1 – Liam Cooper, Stuart Dallas, Adam Forshaw, Joe Gelhardt, Daniel James, Rodrigo Moreno, Kalvin Phillips, Tyler Roberts

Previous meetings with Leeds and their connections with United.

United and Leeds have met 27 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 15 times, drawing eight with Leeds winning four times. United have scored 46 goals, winning one penalty and scoring it. Leeds have scored 20 goals, winning no penalties.

United have kept 14 clean sheets in this fixture with Leeds keeping six. The disciplinary history is problematic with United players shown 36 yellow cards and no red cards and Leeds players being shown 52 yellow cards and two red cards.

Freddie Goodwin, Joe Jordan, Johnny Giles, Gordon McQueen, Brian Greenhoff, Gordon Strachan, Arthur Graham, Denis Irwin, Eric Cantona, Lee Sharpe, Rio Ferdinand, Danny Pugh, Alan Smith, Liam Miller, Scott Wootton, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Daniel James played for United and Leeds.

Eric Cantona and Rio Ferdinand are perhaps the best two players who have transferred from Leeds to United in the Premier League era with Leeds’ loss being United’s gain with the prolific Frenchman. Alan Smith was also a good player for United at the time he signed for the club.

Team News: One player ruled out for United, plus two doubts. Five players ruled out for Leeds with two players a doubt for this match. United should be stronger in this match.

Manchester United: Thomas Heaton (Groin) has been ruled out due to injury. Nemanja Matic (Shin) has a 50% chance of being involved whilst Edinson Cavani (Groin) has a 25% chance. Eric Bailly (Ankle) and Raphael Varane (Illness) are back to full fitness.

Leeds: Sam Greenwood (Knee), Patrick Bamford (Ankle/Foot), Leo Fuhr Hjelde (Knee), Kalvin Phillips (Thigh) and Liam Cooper (Thigh) have all been ruled out of the visit of United. Junior Firpo (Thigh) has a 75% chance of featuring and Stuart Dallas (Other) has a 25% chance.

Predicted Starting XI: Ronaldo, Rashford, Sancho, Fernandes and Pogba to start against Leeds? United need to get a victory in this match to stay on course for top four.

Rangnick will need to pick his strongest team to face Leeds on Sunday. It is a match that United needs to win in order to keep their top four finish on the cards with West Ham dropping points against Newcastle United on Saturday.

United’s attacking players will need to be at their best to take on Leeds, especially with supporters in the stadium as this will be a match with a heavy rivalry, even though Leeds are not really a successful club anymore, just a club likely to yoyo in the not too distant future.

David De Gea will keep his place in goal with his form rising this season compared to last season. He’s definitely the player to keep in this team, even though we know how good Dean Henderson could be. Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw will remain too.

Scott McTominay, Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba will complete the midfield in this match which them being the best options. Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford flanking Cristiano Ronaldo with Edinson Cavani still on the sidelines through a groin injury.

Match Prediction: There have been 110 matches between United and Leeds; United have won 48, drawn 36 and lost 26 – another victory incoming? I hope so.

Last season, United beat Leeds 6-2 at Old Trafford with braces from Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes plus goals from Victor Lindelof and Daniel James. Liam Cooper and Stuart Dallas scored for Leeds – it was a bad day for them at the Theatre of Dreams.

In the reverse fixture at Elland Road, it was a 0-0 draw – a rather lacklustre match with many expecting the same from United but neither team stood up and took the three points on offer. It seems that United this season seem to have similar problems as last season.

For United to take the points in this match, they will need to turn up at Elland Road and ensure a victory is the only thing on the agenda. A draw or a defeat will continue the stagnant run for United making their victory over Brighton worthless in the bigger picture.

Finishing in the top four this season is important for United to continue to build in the summer with a new manager and United tasked with getting themselves into a position whereby they can compete for titles and trophies, which seems a long way away at this point.

Leeds United 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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About editor 2143 Articles
I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.