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Preview: United must beat Leeds, who will be a threat after 6-2 defeat in December

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Leeds United -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Elland Road, Leeds

Sunday 25 April 2021, KO 14:00 BST

Referee: Craig Pawson Assistants: Ian Hussin, Harry Lennard

Fourth Official: Lee Mason

VAR: Mike Dean Assistant VAR: Peter Kirkup

Manchester United return to Premier League action this weekend as they travel to Elland Road where they will face Leeds United. It has been a long week, which was going to be a break from football for the Red Devils but the European Super League debacle made it a long week, which started out with a lot of discontent about something which could damage the footballing word, not to mention the eradication of Manchester United’s history. The ESL has now been terminated with six Premier League clubs withdrawing from the competition but there is still a lot of fallout to come. Ed Woodward has resigned and will leave at the end of 2021.

Leeds drew 1-1 with Liverpool earlier in the week which shows that the club are in a much better position than they were back in December when United beat them 6-2. The Yorkshire club will be seeking revenge, which is exactly what I had hoped they would do. United need to be playing well at this stage of the season, with the UEFA Europa League still up for grabs with United facing AS Roma in the semi-final of the competition from Thursday when they play in the first leg. United will be seeking another three points from this match, keeping their push for second-place in the Premier League this season.

Manchester United: WWWWWL

Burnley 3-1 W, Granada 2-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 W, Granada CF 2-0 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 W, Leicester City 3-1 L

Leeds United: DWWWDL

Liverpool 1-1 D, Manchester City 2-1 W, Sheffield United 2-1 W, Fulham 2-1 W, Chelsea 0-0 D, West Ham United 2-0 L

Top Scorers: United have scored 103 goals this season with Leeds scoring just 51 but their form is better than it was back in December.

Manchester United Goals: 24 – Bruno Fernandes, 20 – Marcus Rashford, 10 – Edinson Cavani, 9 – Mason Greenwood, 7 – Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, 5 – Own Goal, Daniel James, Paul Pogba, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Amad Diallo, Fred, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Donny van de Beek

United have started to become that team that can win matches despite not playing well, which is something that happened time and time against under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson. There is still discontent from some sections of supporters who want Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to be sacked, but at this time, focusing on the improvement of the club, you have to wonder where the common sense is in those circles. United have won their last five matches, having one defeat – the exit in the FA Cup to Leicester City. United have scored 13 goals, conceding six and keeping two clean sheets.

Leeds United Goals: 14 – Patrick Bamford, 7 – Stuart Dallas, Jack Harrison, 6 – Raphinha, 3 – Ezgjan Alioski, Hélder Costa, Mateusz Klich, Rodrigo Moreno, 2 – Own Goal, 1 – Liam Cooper, Diego Llorente, Pascal Struijk

Leeds have turned around their form from earlier in the season and they find themselves in tenth place going into this weekend’s match, which will probably change with five matches being played before the two teams kick off at Elland Road. Leeds have won three, drawn two and lost one of their last six matches, which shows consistency – which is much different from the time they arrived at Old Trafford and were defeated 6-2. Leeds will want revenge and the ESL debacle will be something that inspires the club to deal United a blow. This means that Solskjaer’s side will need to be at their best for this match.

Team News: Leeds to have four players out of action this weekend with United having two out of the match; one could return though.

Phil Jones (knee) despite returning to training in some aspect and Anthony Martial (knee) have both been ruled out of the trip to face Leeds United this weekend. Eric Bailly (coronavirus) has been back in training but last weekend’s visit of Burnley came too soon for him. It is considered to be 75% fit and could be back in contention for the match this weekend but might only feature on the bench. United will be boosted by the rest this week with no mid-week fixtures for the first time in what seems like months. Hannibal Mejbri and Anthony Elanga were both training with the first team this week, which could see their involvement in this match.

Adam Forshaw (muscular) and Liam Cooper (suspension) are the only players to have been ruled out of the visit of United to Elland Road this weekend. Raphinha (thigh) has a 25% chance of being available for this match, so will likely miss it with a return next month more favourable. Rodrigo Moreno (other) is in the final stages of his recovery and has a 75% chance of featuring, but it looks like this match will be too soon for him to return, unless the management team are trying to give the wrong impression, therefore mind games. It could be worse for Leeds at this time but they will be up for the challenge of United.

Predicted Starting XI: Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood to lead the line against Leeds at Elland Road?

After the best part of a week of rest after their 3-1 victory over Burnley last Sunday, United should be significantly rested for the final run of the season which will see them play a minimum of eight matches over the next month – which will require a significant rotation throughout the remainder of the season, especially if United reach the UEFA Europa League final on Wednesday 26 May 2021, which is also Sir Matt Busby’s birthday and the day United completed their unprecedented treble during the 1998/99 season. I expect Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood to lead the line for United, supported by Bruno Fernandes.

Match Prediction: United have beaten Leeds 14 times in 25 Premier League matches. Leeds will be out for revenge after their 6-2 defeat back in December.

United and Leeds have played just 25 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 14 times. There have been seven draws and Leeds have won just four times. United have scored 41 goals with Leeds scoring 19. United have been awarded one penalty, scoring it with Leeds yet to be awarded one. United have kept 13 clean sheets with Leeds keeping just five. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown 34 yellow cards and no red cards with Leeds players being shown 46 yellow cards and two red cards. The rivalry between the two clubs is fierce despite the lack of competitive matches between them recently.

Back in December, the two clubs met at Old Trafford with United winning 6-2. Scott Mctominay and Bruno Fernandes both scored a brace with Victor Lindelof and Daniel James scoring the other goals. Liam Cooper and Stuart Dallas scored for Leeds. The last time the two clubs met at Elland Road in the Premier League was back in October 2003 which was a 1-0 victory for United with Roy Keane, assisted by Gary Neville, scoring the only goal of the match. That season, United finished third with Arsenal winning the Premier League. Leeds were relegated. Neither scenario will happen this season though.

Leeds United 1-3 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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copyright: JW