Preview: United must do better against Leeds; Rashford, Sancho & Fernandes need to inspire United; injuries costly

Three points from this game a must; Ten Hag will be up for this match

Leeds United -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Elland Road, Leeds

Sunday 12 February 2023, KO 14:00 GMT

Manchester United travel to Yorkshire to face Leeds United at Elland Road in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. On Wednesday evening at Old Trafford, United managed a second half comeback after conceding two goals to Leeds, one of them an own goal by Raphael Varane at the start of the second half. Marcus Rashford scored his 20th goal of the season in the 62nd minute and Jadon Sancho getting United’s equaliser eight minutes later.

It was two points dropped for United, which was a shame but it did not feel the same as the recent 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace, which felt like a defeat. United will need to play a lot better at Elland Road that they did at the Theatre of Dreams, which will be tough for United. Leeds did get the better of them for a large part of the last match but Erik ten Hag will be seeking to get more for United in this match and three points are a must – United need to stay in the top four.

United are three points clear of Newcastle United in third place in the Premier League ahead of the earlier matches this weekend. The Magpies have a game in hand over United though. Tottenham Hotspur sit in fifth place, four points adrift of United, so there is little chance of United dropping out of the top four prior to their match kicking off on Sunday. The Magpies will need to beat Bournemouth to rise above United on Saturday evening. United need to prevail.

Manchester United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Leeds United 2-2 D, Crystal Palace 2-1 W, Nottingham Forest 2-0 W, Reading 3-1 W, Nottingham Forest 3-0 W, Arsenal 3-2 L

Goals: 20 – Marcus Rashford, 7 – Bruno Fernandes, 6 – Anthony Martial, 5 – Antony, 4 – Casemiro, Fred, Jadon Sancho, 3 – Own Goal, Cristiano Ronaldo, 2 – Christian Eriksen, Alejandro Garnacho, Scott McTominay, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw, Wout Weghorst

Assists: 9 – Christian Eriksen, 7 – Marcus Rashford, 6 – Bruno Fernandes, 5 – Casemiro, 4 – Alejandro Garnacho, 3 – Luke Shaw, 2 – Diogo Dalot, Anthony Elanga, Anthony Martial, Cristiano Ronaldo, 1 – Antony, Fred, Scott McTominay, Facundo Pellistri, Jadon Sancho, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Leeds United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Manchester United 2-2 D, Nottingham Forest 1-0 L, Accrington Stanley 3-1 W, Brentford 0-0 D, Cardiff City 5-2 W, Aston Villa 2-1 L

Goals: 12 – Rodrigo Moreno, 4 – Wilfried Gnonto, Luis Sinisterra, Crysencio Summerville, 3 – Patrick Bamford, 2 – Jack Harrison, Mateusz Klich, Pascal Struijk, 1 – Brenden Aaronson, Liam Cooper, Junior Firpo, Sam Greenwood, Sonny Perkins, Marc Roca

Assists: 7 – Jack Harrison, 3 – Patrick Bamford, Joe Gelhardt, Sam Greenwood, 2 – Brenden Aaronson, Luke Ayling, Rodrigo Moreno, 1 – Junior Firpo, Own Goal, Wilfried Gnonto, Rasmus Kristensen, Marc Roca, Pascal Struijk, Crysencio Summerville

Previous Meetings & Connections

United and Leeds have met 29 times in the Premier League with United winning 16 matches, drawing nine matches and Leeds winning four. United have scored 52 goals, winning one penalty, scoring it. Leeds have scored 24 goals, winning no penalties. Last season United beat Leeds 5-1 at Old Trafford with Bruno Fernandes scoring a hat-trick, also winning 4-2 at Elland Road. Those matches were played five months apart – this season, they will be played four days apart.

United have kept 14 clean sheets with Leeds keeping six. Discipline has been an issue in this fixture with United players shown 40 yellow cards and no red cards and Leeds players shown 61 yellow cards and two red cards. United were in great form at Old Trafford before Wednesday’s draw – seeing a 13-match winning run at home turn into a 16-match unbeaten run at home. United need to beat Leeds at Elland Road this weekend or face problems in the top four.

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 have all played for United and Leeds. Cantona will be the one that jumps out here (no pun intended) but the likes of Greenhoff, Jordan, Giles, Strachan, Irwin, Sharpe, Ferdinand and Smith have all carried their own.

Team News

Donny van de Beek, Christian Eriksen, Scott McTominay, Anthony Martial and Antony have all been ruled out for United due to injury, so will miss the match against Leeds at Elland Road. Casemiro is still suspended for two more domestic matches but will be available to face Barcelona in the UEFA Europa League. Aaron Wan-Bissaka missed the last match against Leeds due to illness and currently has a 50% chance of recovering in time for this match, which seems unlikely.

Ten Hag will likely include the likes of Zidane Iqbal and Kobbie Mainoo to bulk up his bench for the visit to Leeds and we could well see Facundo Pellistri and Alejandro Garnacho get minutes once again – which would be good to see. I would expect both Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez to start in the centre of the defence with Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw in the fullback positions. Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford should both start as they are both crucial to United.

Stuart Dallas, Adam Forshaw, Archie Gray and Rodrigo Moreno have all been ruled out of the visit of United this weekend due to injury. It does not stop there for Leeds though. Pascal Struijk and Sonny Perkins both have 25% chances to feature this weekend, so are big doubts. Marc Roca and Liam Cooper have 50% chances with Luis Sinisterra having a 75% of being involved this weekend – all three players will be subject to a late fitness test prior to the match.

Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-3-3

De Gea;

Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw;

Fernandes, Sabitzer, Fred;

Sancho, Weghorst, Rashford

Predicted Leeds United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1

Meslier;

Ayling, Koch, Wober, Firpo;

McKennie, Adams;

Summerville, Harrison, Gnonto;

Bamford

Match Prediction

United need to get three points from this visit to Elland Road to strengthen their position in the top four of the Premier League. United also need to start scoring more goals to close down the chances of goal difference playing a part later in the season because the trio of Arsenal, Manchester City and Newcastle United all have better goal differences at this stage of the season. United have been in good form for much of the season so far but they do need to be better.

Leeds got the better of United at Old Trafford and that is something that Erik ten Hag and his side must overcome at Elland Road. United have a positive record at the Theatre of Dreams this season, unbeaten in their last 16 matches at the stadium. But United were on a 13-match winning run at home, which has now been ended. On the road this season, United have won nine times, drawn twice and have been defeated four times. The away form could be better.

This could start in this match with United also facing Barcelona in the UEFA Europe League play off first leg at the Spotify Camp Nou on Thursday next week, which is another match they will need to get a good result in. But first, three points against Leeds is the first hurdle that must be taken to strengthen their position in the top four of the Premier League this weekend, then next weekend, United will be back at Old Trafford against Leicester City in the Premier League.

Leeds United 1-3 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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About editor 2119 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.