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Confirmed XI: Rashford, Greenwood and James start against Leeds

Manchester United return to Premier League action today 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:

Henderson;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

McTominay, Fred;

James, Fernandes, Rashford;

Greenwood

Substitutes:

De Gea; Bailly, Telles, Tuanzebe; Mata, Pogba, Matic, Van de Beek; Cavani

Leeds United:

Meslier;

Ayling, Llorente, Struijk, Alioski;

Phillips;

Costa, Dallas, Roberts, Harrison;

Bamford

Substitutes:

Casilla; Koch, Berardi; Hernandez, Summerville, Klich, Shackleton; Poveda-Ocampo, Greenwood

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.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-3-1-2] Cavani and Greenwood to sink Leeds United? Van de Beek, McTominay and Pogba in midfield?

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.

How United have faired against Leeds United in the Premier League.

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.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Leeds United in the Premier League at Elland Road on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson

Dean Henderson seems to be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-choice goalkeeper at this stage of the season after being given seven matches in a row following the birth of David De Gea’s first daughter. The 24-year-old seems to have done well in his short time actually playing for United and despite some teething problems, he seems to be a solution to the future of the goalkeeping position at the club. For five years, the player was loaned out, working his was into the Football League then into the Premier League, which has shown a rise of form ever since. Henderson is a vocal player than thus could be the one that United have been waiting for.

Leeds United are going to be seeking revenge against United after their 6-2 defeat at Old Trafford back in December. They will also be seeking to make an example of the club after their European Super League failure, which was nothing to do with the players, the manager, the backroom staff and was everything to do with the club’s greedy owners and their man in the boardroom, no matter what the rumours are suggesting. Henderson will be up for the challenge and will want to help United earn another three points on the road in the Premier League. It has been ten Premier League away matches since United were defeated by Sheffield United.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United’s defence has done well this season, despite conceding 35 goals fo far this season, which was 36 goals after 38 matches last season. Many will probably lump on that to slate Solskjaer, which would be a pathetic things to do, but predictable. This season has been a lot more positive than last season and it will only get better. United will end up being hated a lot more by other Premier League clubs because of their owners greed with the ESL but United will understand, not being the decision makers themselves and they will help the other teams get over it, eventually.

Against Leeds, I expect Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw to fill the fullback places and after a week’s break, they will be recharged and ready to end the season with United looking to cement their second-placed position in the Premier League and aim to win the UEFA Europa League this season, reaching the same stage that they did last season, although it is a two-legged match this season. Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire will partner each other in the central defensive position, which is the best option right now considering Eric Bailly has not played since the international break at the end of March.

Midfield: Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba

United’s midfield is very strong on paper and Solskjaer needs to start picking the actual strongest players in this area. Paul Pogba is an automatic start in this position and just like in the past few matches, a three-man midfield also utilising Bruno Fernandes in the advanced role will give them more power in this area, so as not to let Leeds overcome them, as has been the case with other clubs recently. Scott McTominay should also play and he can offer a defensive role in the centre of the midfield, moving forward when United have the ball and getting inn advanced areas, like he did in this fixture at Old Trafford in December.

One player that deserves to play more this season is Donny van de Beek. Some supporters have been moaning that Solskjaer has overlooked him with others citing bullying. However, from the people that know about the player and his time at United so far, they say the Dutchman is being settled at the club and next season will be much bigger for him. Who would have thought that it is best to ease a player in rather than expect the earth from them straight away. Kudos to Solskjaer for putting a plan into place and getting the player onboard with it, which seems to be working. I think he could play in this match and a few more before the end of the season.

Attacking Midfield: Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes is the player of the season for United. 24 goals and 14 assists to his name and he has been integral to the performances of the club. At the start of the season, when Fernandes was not playing or was out of form, United struggled but over the course of the season, other players have stood up and and risen to the plate. At times, Fernandes looks tired but he still keeps plodding one as that is the type of player that he is. He is an inspiration on his day and in recent matches, he has been unlucky not to find a goal or two inn open play, which is something that he is criticised of not doing all that regularly.

Fernandes should start in his usual position against Leeds and with a week’s rest, he could well be back in the zone and inspire the club towards another victory with five Premier League matches left to play before the end of the season after this match. United could have ridden the waves with Manchester City but some draws in January/February saw an end to that, which is an area the club will need to improve ons ahead of next season. Rome was not built in a day. The so-called supporters that mock Solskjaer seem to have very high standards, also thinking that pressing the rest button yet again will change anything. It won’t.

Forwards: Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani

When United have not played in a 4-2-3-1 formation, it has been better for the club to get on the cusp of things and get goals. Inn the last two Premier League matches, United have won by the same 3-1 scoreline, coming from behind against both Tottenham Hotspur and Burnley. Edinson Cavani scored in both matches, as did Mason Greenwood and for that reason, both should be starting against Leeds United. Cavani has ten goals to his name this season with Greenwood scoring nine so far, which is not as good as last season, but has seen him play his favoured role more times this season with a bit of work left to do before he fully develops.

It was revealed on Friday that Marcus Rashford did not train with the club and it is hoped that he will on Saturday ahead of the clash with Leeds. If he does not train, it is not the end of the world, although United will be short on attacking players but the liked of Amad Diallo, Shola Shoretire and Anthony Elanga could bolster the bench with Daniel James also an option. I think Cavani and Greenwood could do the job for United against Leeds but late in the match, James’ pace and tricky way of playing could be costly for the club that did not get his signing across the line when he played for Swansea.

Substitutes: David De Gea; Alex Telles, Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe; Juan Mata, Fred, Amad Diallo, Nemanja Matic; Anthony Elanga

Solskjaer can name nine substitutes on the bench in the Premier League and he may need to use them against Leeds United, who will be seeking to get revenge after their 6-2 defeat at Old Trafford back in December. United will also be looking to bounce back from the talk of the European Super League which Burt onto the scenes on Sunday ahead of United’s clash with Burnley and came to an end 48 hours or so later when all six English clubs had left the competition, which was the right decision. The supporters of the club are now United the Glazer’s greed to get rid of them, which has been 16-years in the making.

In goal, I expect to see David De Gea on the bench and available if needed. In defence, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams and Axel Tuanzebe could be called upon. However, Eric Bailly could also be called into action if he is fully fit to do so after his period on the sidelines through coronavirus. In midfield, Juan Mata, Fred, Amad Diallo and Nemanja Matic could be available. It is also possible that Shola Shoretire could be called upon this weekend, if only to take a position on the bench. In attack, Anthony Elanga could be there with Marcus Rashford’s fitness level unknown after carrying an injury for the past few months.

Written by John Walker

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

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

The War of the Roses: A bitter rivalry with fallen foes

On the 25th November 1992, the Leeds United managing director Bill Fotherby rang Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards about the possibility of signing Denis Irwin. The Cork man was not for sale. However, Alex Ferguson who was in the room urged Edwards to ask about bringing Frenchman Eric Cantona to Manchester United. Fotherby said that Cantona was unsettled at Leeds and he would get back to Edwards with a fee over the next 24 hours. Manchester United then signed Eric Cantona for a fee between £1 million and £1.2 million. The maverick of a striker went on to be a catalyst for United’s success in the 90s. To this day Manchester United fans will taunt Leeds fans over letting Cantona join them.

The rivalry between Manchester United and Leeds United is known as the Roses rivalry or the Pennines derby. Historically, the rivalry between Manchester and Leeds stem from a 15thCentury English civil war known as the War of the Roses. Manchester is situated in the county of Lancashire whilst Leeds is situated in the county of Yorkshire. Appropriately Manchester United’s home colours resembles the red rose of Lancashire whilst Leeds United’s home colours resembles the white rose of Yorkshire. Although today Leeds United sit in the second tier of English football, a fierce rivalryand attitude exists between both sets of supporters even today.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, this geographical rivalry began to develop even further. Leeds and Manchester became direct economic rivals. Leeds was growing due to its woollen industry whilst 40 miles west, Manchester was beginning to sprout due to their rapid cotton industry.

Manchester United and Leeds United met in the 1965 FA Cup semi-final. The game was played at an intense level with many clashes on the pitch. A picture emerged after the game that feature United striker Denis Law and Leeds defender Jack Charlton punching and wrestling each other on the pitch. This is a sight that illustrates the ferocity of the game between the two sides.

The rivalry was continuous throughout the years. In 1978 Joe Jordan and Gordon McQueen joined Manchester United from Leeds. McQueen was subjected to much abuse from the Leeds fans whilst he travelled to Elland Road. He was booed, abused and had objects thrown at him.

Clashes on the pitch continued to happen in the Premier league era. Most notable an incident which took place on Saturday 3rd March 2001. Manchester United travelled to Elland Road for a game with Leeds which finished 1-1. During the game Leeds fullback Ian Harte challenged United keeper Fabien Barthez which the Frenchman felt was unfair. Barthez lashed out at Harte and received a yellow card and gave a way a penalty.

Two Leeds United fans were stabbed to death during an away game to Galatasaray in the UEFA Cup in 2000. At the time United fans paid their respects, however incidents occurred the next time the two sides met. Throughout the rivalry between the two clubs, taunts were a regular thing. Leeds fans often taunted United over the Munich Air Disaster. When the two clubs met in their next tie after the tragedy in Istanbul, United fans produced flags which read “MUFC Istanbul Reds” and “Galatasaray Reds”. This immediately angered Leeds fans as they burst into Munich chants and some are believed to have ripped up seats in Old Trafford.

Leeds were relegated to the Championship at the end of the 2003/04 season due to financial difficulties. To add insult to injury, local Leeds lad and supporter of the club joined Manchester United creating further controversy. Smith appeared on Soccer AM years before stating Manchester United are the club he would never join.

Manchester United and Leeds have only met twice in the last 10 years. Both sides won one each. Leeds beat Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford during their 2009/2010 FA Cup run. The other clash being when United beat Leeds 3-0 away at Elland Road. There was trouble at this game as two Police officers were injured and 21 fans were arrested.

Long gone are the days of extreme football hooliganism in the 70s and 80s. Clashes with Leeds United’s Service Crew and Manchester United’s Red Army today, wouldn’t be met with the numbers as it was back when hooliganism was at its peak. However, the bitterness and rivalry still exist. At both Old Trafford and Elland Road there are regular chants that taunt either side. The advancements in social media have elevated the rivalry to a new context. There will be online abuse concerning both clubs.

If Leeds do get promoted back to England’s top tier, be sure that fireworks will go off when they meet Manchester United. Perhaps the rivalry with Leeds is fiercer than say with Liverpool and Manchester City based on previous incidents.

Written by Shane Purcell

copyright: JW