Preview: United to keep the Theatre of Dreams a fortress against Leeds; Sabitzer to make full debut? Leeds to drop into relegation places?

United's form is much better than that of Leeds

Manchester United -v- Leeds United

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Wednesday 8 February 2023, KO 20:00 GMT

Manchester United welcome Leeds United to the Theatre of Dreams on Wednesday evening in the Premier League; the first of two meetings between the two clubs this week with United travelling to Elland Road to face them, once again in the Premier League on Sunday. United are in great form this season – winning their last 13 matches in all competitions at Old Trafford, undefeated in the last 15 at home in total. Leeds have not won in the Premier League for two months.

Erik ten Hag has rejuvenated United this season, despite the opening two matches of the Premier League season which saw United beaten by both Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford. United’s fortunes then turned with the club rising into the top four of the Premier League, reaching the Carabao Cup final – facing Newcastle United, the fifth round in the Emirates FA Cup, facing West Ham United and the play off stage of the UEFA Europa League, facing Barcelona.

Leeds have just sacked manager Jesse Marsch and will be seeking to hire a manager that will give longevity to the club rather than a stop gap for the remainder of the season. The new manager bounce could rejuvenate Leeds but that is not going to stop United from showing their current form. Yes, Casemiro’s suspension for the next three domestic fixtures will be a big blow but Ten Hag will have in mind a way to overcome that. United will rise against Leeds.

Manchester United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

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

Goals: 19 – Marcus Rashford, 7 – Bruno Fernandes, 6 – Anthony Martial, 5 – Antony, 4 – Casemiro, Fred, 3 – Own Goal, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, 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 – Anthony Elanga, Anthony Martial, Cristiano Ronaldo, 1 – Antony, Diogo Dalot, Fred, Scott McTominay, Facundo Pellistri, Jadon Sancho, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Leeds United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

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

Goals: 12 – Rodrigo Moreno, 4 – Luis Sinisterra, Crysencio Summerville, 3 – Patrick Bamford, Wilfried Gnonto, 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, Wilfried Gnonto, Rasmus Kristensen, Marc Roca, Pascal Struijk, Crysencio Summerville

Previous Meetings & Connections

United and Leeds have met 28 times in the Premier League with United winning 16 matches, drawing eight matches and Leeds winning four. United have scored 50 goals, winning one penalty, scoring it. Leeds have scored 22 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 39 yellow cards and no red cards and Leeds players shown 58 yellow cards and two red cards. noted are in great form at Old Trafford, winning their last 13 matches in all competitions in a row at the Theatre of Dreams but their undefeated record at home extends a further two to 15. Erik ten Hag has helped United achieve something so far this season.

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

Anthony Martial, Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek have all been ruled out for the foreseeable future. Van de Beek will sit out the remainder of the season, Eriksen will be out until late April or early May. Martial withdrew from the Crystal Palace match and looks set to continue his poor season, in terms of being injured. It does not look good for the Frenchman, who needed his fitness and form this season to get back into contention – now he’s injury prone.

Scott McTominay also looks set to miss this match but has a 25% chance of being available, which seems unlikely. Jack Butland is eligible to feature for United, so could be set to appear in his first match day squad this season. Casemiro will miss the next three domestic fixtures for United; both Leeds matches and the visit of Leicester City on the 19 February. He will be eligible to face Barcelona in the UEFA Europa League play off and the Carabao Cup final.

Stuart Dallas, Adam Forshaw, Archie Gray and Rodrigo Moreno have all been ruled out due to injury so will not face United this week. Sonny Perkins has a 25% chance of featuring against United, which seems unlikely that he will play this week. Robin Koch will, however, return from suspension – he missed the last match due to receiving a fifth yellow card in the Premier League prior to the clubs 19th match of the season. Leeds are in dire form ahead of the double-header.

Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-3-3

De Gea;

Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw;

Fernandes, Sabitzer, Fred;

Antony, Weghorst, Rashford

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

Meslier;

Ayling, Cooper, Wöber, Struijk;

Adams, McKennie;

Sinisterra, Harrison, Gnonto;

Rutter

Match Prediction

United and Leeds have met 111 times competitively in all competitions – meeting for the first time back on the 20 January 1923, just over 100 years ago. It was a 0-0 draw with the two sides meeting a week later with United winning 1-0. United have won 49 times, drawn 36 times with Leeds winning 26 times. United last lost to Leeds on the 3 January 2010 in the FA Cup. Since then, five matches have been played with United undefeated – four wins and one draw.

In those five matches, United have scored 18 goals, conceding five and keeping two clean sheets. Ten Hag will be wanting similar from United on Wednesday evening, knowing that they will be facing Leeds again on Sunday, but at Elland Road. United are the in form team at this time with 13 straight victories at Old Trafford – 15 undefeated at home. This team has risen to third in the Premier League – two points clear of Newcastle United. United will need to keep winning.

Leeds have fallen to 17th in the Premier League – goal difference stopping them from slipping into the relegation zone. Sacking Marsch will not solve the problems as the players are more responsible for their current form but once again, it is the manager that takes the flack for that. Granted, Leeds may feel better not having Marsch at the helm for the double-header against United this week but it won’t stop United from being in the form they are at this time.

Manchester United 3-0 Leeds United

Written by John Walker


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About editor 2195 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.