Manchester United drew 2-2 with Leeds United at Old Trafford in the Premier League. Wilfried Gnonto opened the scoring in the first minute of the match with Raphael Varane’s own goal at the start of the second giving Leeds a two-goal lead that they were unable to retain. Marcus Rashford got his 20th goal of the season before Jadon Sancho got the equaliser with his first since his return to action this season.
Leeds started well at Old Trafford with Wilfried Gnonto opening the scoring in the first minute of the match with Patrick Bamford getting the assist. There was a VAR review of the goal for a possible offside but the goal was given and United were in the mid straight away. It was not the best start for United at the Theatre of Dreams, especially against Leeds. In the fifth minute of the match Luis Sinisterra seemed to be down injured and unable to continue.
After some treatment, Leeds made their first substitution in the eighth minute as Crysencio Summerville replaced Sinisterra. Three minutes later Robin Koch missed the target with an effort on goal before Pascal Struijk saw his effort on goal saved by David De Gea. In the 14th minute, United had got themselves into the match and were trying to find an equaliser. Marcel Sabitzer missed the target with a shot on goal, which was a positive attack for United.
Alejandro Garnacho then missed the target in the 18th minute of the match after some good attacking play which saw Bruno Fernandes play the ball into him. Sabitzer had another shot on goal in the same minute, missing the target again. Marcus Rashford came forward with a shot on goal in the 19th minute, seeing his effort blocked. In the 20th minute, Struijk was down injured. In the 23rd minute, Leeds made their second substitution as Junior Firpo replaced Struijk.
Garnacho had another shot on goal in the 27th minute, seeing it blocked. United needed to be more precise with their finishing to get back into this match. Two minutes later, United were on another attack with Raphaël Varane seeing a shot saved and blocked in the same minute. Garnacho saw another effort blocked in the 31st minute before Sabitzer forced a save in the same minute. united looked out of sorts in this match and not at the top of their game.
After a period of time which saw not credible chances on goal, Gnonto struck with another effort in the 41st minute, missing the target. Eight minutes were added at the end of the first have because of the injuries and substitutions. In the fourth minute of added time Diogo Dalot struck with a shot, seeing it blocked. Fred also saw a chance, missing the target. At the end of the half Leeds were still winning 1-0 and kind of commanding that lead. United needed to do much better.
There were no substitutions with either team at the start of the second half. Crysencio Summerville had a shot on goal in the 47th minute, but it was blocked. Both Luke Ayling and Jack Harrison had shots on goal in the 48th minute – both being blocked but Rapahel Varane’s touch put the ball into the back of the net with De Gea not protecting the near post sending Leeds 2-0 up in this match. United needed something short of a miracle to get back into this match.
Wout Weghorst was caught offside in the 52nd minute of the match after Garnacho tried to play a through ball into him. Weston McKennie became the first player to be booked in the match, seeing a yellow card in the 53rd minute. Rashford had a shot on goal two minutes later, missing the target. Tyler Adams became the second Leeds player to be booked, seeing yellow in the 56th minute. United really needed to push and get some goals scored.
Just before the hour mark, Ten Hag made a double substitution with Jadon Sancho and Facundo Pellistri replacing Weghorst and Garnacho. Three minutes after the double substitution, Rashford had the ball in the back of the net for United after Diogo Dalot played the cross into the forward. United were back in the match. Leeds then made a double substitution with Georginio Rutter and Brenden Aaronson replacing Bamford and Harrison in the 63rd minute.
In the 65th minute, Aaronson hot the post with a shot on goal. Two minutes later Ayling missed the target with his shot on goal as Leeds looked to restore their two-goal cushion. Both Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot had shots blocked in the 69th minute as United sought an equaliser. Jadon Sancho got United’s equaliser in the 70th minute with a right footed shot from inside the box. What a finish it was too – what a goal for Sancho and United.
Junior Firpo became the third Leeds player to be booked, seeing a yellow card in the 77th minute. Varane had a header on goal, from the centre of the box saved by Illan Meslier. What a great save it was. In the 80th minute, Marcel Sabitzer became the first United player to be booked. Fernandes missed the target in the 81st minute before Ten Hag made a double substitution with Victor Lindelof and Tyrell Malacia replacing Dalot and Sabitzer a minute later.
Rashford and Fred saw chances saved and blocked in the last few minutes of the half. Leeds made two more substitutions with Sam Greenwood and Mateo Joseph replacing McKennie and Gnonto. Five minutes were added and Fred saw a shot saved in the first minute. Fernandes saw one blocked and Fred missed in the third minute of added time. It was a hard-fought match for United but Leeds posed a problem for them. United need to win Sunday’s Elland Road meeting.
David De Gea: Beaten in the first minute of the match which started a dreadful performance at Old Trafford. United 13 match winning run has now turned into a 16-match unbeaten run. Wilfried Gnonto’s finish was a good one though but De Gea should have got something to it. Pascal Struijk’s header threatened him. Conceded again as Raphael Varane’s header which was an own goal for Leeds – the team that couldn’t keep a lead. ★★★★★
Diogo Dalot: Started following his recovery from his latest thigh injury. Seemed to step straight into the game after missing four weeks of action. He helped United on the attack and was the one that played the cross into Marcus Rashford for him to score his 20th goal of the season and get United back into the match. His match came to an end in the 82nd minute as he was replaced by Tyrell Malacia with United seeking a winner. ★★★★★★
Raphael Varane: The Frenchman looked uncomfortable against Leeds, which was a rarity for him. Scored an own goal which doubled Leeds’ lead – which they could not keep. Almost had a goal himself, which would have been fitting had it gone in with United getting all three points from the match. However, that was not to be. A draw was better than a defeat. On to Sunday’s match for United to push for the win this time. ★★★★★
Lisandro Martinez: His aggression matched that of Leeds. He was open for Gnonto’s shot on goal which saw the visitors take the lead. He was stable in the defence and has perhaps done enough to keep his place this weekend, although Varane may find himself on the bench seemingly needing a rest. It was good to see a player like Martinez use his aggression but he needs to infect his teammates with this too. ★★★★★★★
Luke Shaw: With Marcus Rashford on the right in the first half, Shaw was not as producing playing behind Alejandro Garnacho. He improved when Jadon Sancho came on as they have worked together the left very well in the not too distant past. Shaw had a good game at times but United should have used more aggression against Leeds to get the better of them. Sunday will give them another chance to get a win. It should have been six from six though. ★★★★★★
Marcel Sabitzer: The Austrian made his second appearance for United – his first start. It was not a good game with Leeds taking the lead as soon as the ball was kicked. He got stuck in thought as United tried to avert more goals from Leeds – but that did not work wither as they went 2-0 up at the start of the second half. United did score twice and Sabitzer had chances. He was replaced by Victor Lindelof in the 82nd minute with United seeking a winner. ★★★★★★★
Fred: It was a regressive night for the Brazilian. He seemed to misplace passes throughout the match. He was good with Casemiro on the pitch but without him, looks like a player lost. He seemed counter-productive in the pitch but right now, United have nothing but him and Marcel Sabitzer to utilise, unless the likes of Zidane Iqbal or Kobbie Mainoo get their chances. Perhaps in a midfield three something might work? ★★★
Alejandro Garnacho: Tried his best from the very first minute of the match, which also saw Leeds scoring their first goal of the match. Got on some chances and tried to find the back of the net. However, it was not something that was going to happen for him on the night. Used his pace to help his teammates at times but even that was not pegging back this Leeds side. His match was over before the hour with Facundo Pellistri replacing him. ★★★★★
Bruno Fernandes: He was robbed of the ball by Tyler Adams in the run up to Gnonto’s opener in the first minute of the match. He tried too hard at times and stayed out of his position a few times. At 2-0 down at the start of the second half, United needed changes. Fernandes had some chances to score hut they did not become all that fruitful. United did get two goals though which is so much better than being defeated by Leeds. He needs to work harder. ★★★★★
Marcus Rashford: Scored his 20th goal of the season. Seemed to be the likeliest scorer of the opening goal for United but they should not have been 2-0 down before that happened. Played out of position in the first half and played closer to the goal in the second half. Played well with Diogo Dalot at times but Shaw missed him on the left. One of the better players on the pitch in an attacking sense and will use that to get ready for Sunday. ★★★★★★★
Wout Weghorst: The Dutchman tried to help United against Leeds but nothing was coming off for them. He made space in attack and United had many chances, but they were not good enough to chance the scoreline. United were 1-0 down at the end of the first half and conceded another at the start of the second. A change was needed and Weghorst saw himself being replaced by Jadon Sancho just before the hour – he’s a positive player for United though. ★★★
Jadon Sancho: Replaced Weghorst 59′. Seemed to be back at the top of his game. Got United’s equaliser with a great finish and seemed predatory when Rashford scored, lurking behind him, which was good to see. Sancho is a class talent and now that he is back, he could be a standout player for United in the second half of the season. With Leeds, Barcelona, Leicester and Barcelona in the next four matches, United need players like him. ★★★★★★★
Facundo Pellistri: Replaced Garnacho 59′. Made his Premier League debut. Did well to retain the ball for United, which ultimately led to United’s first goal of the game. He should feature more for United as the lad has some talent. With United’s dilemma in midfield, perhaps he could feature for United against Leeds or Leicester to see if he can offer more this season. United need attacking talent and this lad has bags of it. ★★★★★★★
Victor Lindelof: Replaced Sabitzer 82′. Came on in a midfield role with United needing experience to thwart Leeds after scoring the equaliser to deny them a hard-fought victory. Seemed to do well in that position, however, it is not something most would want to see against tougher teams. Ten Hag will need to have a plan to beat Leeds at Elland Road on Sunday as it is a much-needed victory for United to keep their place in the top four. ★★★★★
Tyrell Malacia: Replaced Dalot 82′. Came on at right-back to add some fresh legs on the pitch in a key position with his defensive ability being utilised. It is not his best position, being a left-back but he did what was required and United got a point from the game when they could have had nothing. Luke Shaw is the starter at left-back so Malacia will need to become a utility player or settle for bench appearances. He has the talent to succeed through. ★★★★★
Goals: Marcus Rashford 62′, Jadon Sancho 70′; Wilfried Gnonto 1′, Raphael Varane 48′ o/g
Assists: Diogo Dalot 62′; Patrick Bamford 1′
Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot (Malacia 82′), Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Sabitzer (Lindelof 82′), Fred; Garnacho (Pellistri 59′), Fernandes, Rashford; Weghorst (Sancho 59′)
Substitutes Not Used: Heaton; Maguire; Iqbal, Mainoo; Elanga
Bookings: Marcel Sabitzer 80′; Weston McKennie 53′, Tyler Adams 56′, Junior Firpo 77′
Written by John Walker