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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

Ratings: McTominay and Fernandes scored braces, one each for Lindelof and James; McTominay MOTM in Leeds mauling

Manchester United beat Leeds United 6-2 in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday evening. Scott McTominay scored a brace in the opening three minutes of the match with Bruno Fernandes also scoring a brace in either half of the match. Goals from Victor Lindelof and Daniel James ended the scoring for United, putting them third in the Premier League ahead of Everton. Leeds scored through Liam Cooper and Stuart Dallas in both halves of the match, which was good play from them for both goals. United will face Everton in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening at Goodison Park.

United recommenced their rivalry with Leeds on great fashion with Scott McTominay opening the scoring in the second minute of the match. United won the ball on the left through Bruno Fernandes, bringing it inside. The Leeds defence were sucked towards the Portuguese playmaker, leaving a huge gap. The ball was played across to McTominay who had enough time to pick his spot beating the Leeds goalkeeper putting United 1-0 up. McTominay then doubled United’s lead a minute later after Luke Shaw’s throw-in on the left with Anthony Martial holding Leeds off with the Scotland international breaking forward and putting United 2-0 up.

United were playing some great attacking football against their rivals from Yorkshire. In the 20th minute, United scored their third goal with Fernandes scoring his 12th goal of the season. Rodrigo’s pass strayed and Fred collected then slipped the ball into Martial, whose shot was blocked leaving Fernandes with a narrow gap to aim for goal. He beat the keeper giving United a 3-0 lead. Just 17 minutes later, United scored their fourth goal of the game through Victor Lindelof. Shaw’s corner was nodded into the box by Martial with the Iceman firing United 4-0 in calm fashion.

At the end of the first half though, Leeds got themselves back into the match well, sort of. The away side won a corner with Kalvin Phillips taking it and finding Liam Cooper, who was rising in the box. Cooper beat Fred and headed his first Premier League goal past David De Gea, who got a hand onto the ball but not enough to make the save. At the start of the second half, United had a great chance through Martial to put them 5-1 up but the Frenchman, who had a good first touch gf the ball, could not beat the keeper with a great opportunity. United should have put the game to bed.

United scored their fifth goal in the 66th minute through Daniel James, assisted by McTominay, who was the Man of the Match against Leeds. Marcus Rashford found the Welshman 20-yards out and his first touch took him past his man before slotting through the legs of the goalkeeper. It was a great finish by the Welshman, who has rewarded his manager for picking him against the club he could have joined. Four minutes later, United won a penalty which Fernandes slotted home, scoring his 13th goal of the season for the club. Leeds got another consolation through Stuart Dallas in the 73rd minute of the match.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Unfortunate not to keep a clean sheet against Leeds. United had their day at Old Trafford though, putting a cat amongst the pigeons, which was great to see. United conceded twice but scored six goals.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Defended well and broke forward a lot of the time. Leeds did not really pressure United.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The Iceman defended well, when he needed to but also got forward, scoring his first goal of the season for the club. It was a good day for United.

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5 Harry Maguire

Led the team well and they did play as a team against their rivals. It was a shame United did not keep a clean sheet but this is progress - they just need to maintain it.

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23 Luke Shaw

The left-back defended well and broke forward a lot of the time. His corner for Lindelof's goal was good, which found Martial, then the Iceman. He was replaced by Telles on the hour, which is good as it will keep both players fresh.

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17 Fred

Did his job in midfield for United. He has started to find that form again which helps to make a difference in the team.

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39 Scott McTominay

Man of the Match. His two goals in the first three minutes of the match were both superb. He also got an assist for James' goal, which put United 6-1 up with 24 minutes remaining. He came off late in the match with an injury, which could be worry.

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21 Daniel James

Many were shocked when the Welshman started ahead of Greenwood today. The commentators said multiple times that James could have been played for Leeds. His positioning was good and his pace was lively. His goal was well deserved. He was booked for a dive, which was not a dive and therefore unfair.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

The playmaker of this season. Two goals (one from the penalty spot) and an assist, just like McTominay. He was replaced in the 71st minute by Van de Beek.

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10 Marcus Rashford

He had some involvement against Leeds but did not score or assist. He played his part but United had other plans against Leeds. He was replaced by Cavani in the 71st minute of the match.

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9 Anthony Martial

The Frenchman got two assists but should have had at least one goal for United. He played well as United ran riot against their old rivals. This match will have aided his confidence though with Everton in the Carabao Cup on the horizon.

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Substitutes

27 Alex Telles

Replaced Shaw 60'. Came on with 30 minutes to play and did what he needed to do. It is great to have an experienced left-back to rotate with Shaw.

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7 Edinson Cavani

Replaced Rashford 71'. Could have scored, but didn't. Played well and kept United attacking.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Fernandes 71'. Came on in place of the playmaker and kept United ticking over.

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Goals: Scott McTominay 2′, 3′, Bruno Fernandes 20′, 70′ penalty, Victor Lindelof 37′, Daniel James 66′; Liam Cooper 42′, Stuart Dallas 73′

Assists: Bruno Fernandes 2′, Anthony Martial 3′, 37′, Scott McTominay 66′; Raphina 42′, 73′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw (Telles 60′); Fred, McTominay; James, Fernandes (Van de Beek 71′), Rashford (Cavani 71′); Martial

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly; Pogba, Mata, Matic; Greenwood

Bookings: Daniel James 52′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Martial, James, Fernandes and Rashford start against Leeds; Pogba, Van de Beek, Greenwood and Cavani on the bench

Manchester United will entertain Leeds United at Old Trafford for the first time in the Premier League since 2004 this afternoon. Back then, it was a 1-1 draw between the two fierce rivals. United and Leeds have met twice in the domestic cup competitions with Leeds beating United 1-0 at Old Trafford in the FA Cup in the 2009/10 season and with United beating Leeds 3-0 in the League Cup in the 2011/12 season. There was a meeting in Australia during pre-season not all that long ago, which was another win for United, but not a competitive match. It is safe to say that Leeds will relish their match at Old Trafford.

United beat Sheffield United on Thursday evening, which saw them rise to sixth in the Premier League with goal difference separating them and Everton. Another win for United could propel them further up the league table, which will see United still have a game in hand over the teams above them, and probably immediately below them, which is a good sign of progress. United six five points from the top of the league, before any matches kick off this weekend, having that game in hand, so this supposed ‘crisis’ at Old Trafford seems to be a little bit far fetched to say the least, or just journalistic licence.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Fred, McTominay;

James, Fernandes, Rashford;

Martial

Substitutes:

Henderson; Bailly, Telles; Pogba, Mata, Matic, Van de Beek; Cavani, Greenwood

Leeds United:

Meslier;

Dallas, Ayling, Cooper, Alioski;

Phillips;

Raphina, Rodrigo, Klich, Harrison;

Bamford

Substitutes:

Casilla; Struijk, Davis, Casey; Hernandez, Shackleton; Poveda-Ocampo, Roberts, Costa

United and Leeds have met a total of 24 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 13 times whereas Leeds have won four times with seven draws between the two clubs. United have scored a total of 35 goals, winning no penalties. Leeds have scored a total of 17 goals, also winning no penalties. United have kept a total of 13 clean sheets with Leeds keeping just five clean sheets. In terms of discipline, United have been shown a total of 33 yellow cards and no red cards with Leeds being shown a total of 46 yellow cards and two red cards. This could well be a fiery match between the Manchester and Yorkshire rivals.

The last time these two teams faced each other in the Premier League at Old Trafford was during the 2003/04 season. The match was played on the 21 February 2004 and it was a 1-1 draw with Paul Scholes opening the scoring in the 64th minute of the match and Alan Smith equalising three minutes later. The away clash that season was played ay Elland Road on the 18 October 2003 and was a 1-0 victory to United with Roy Keane scoring the only goal of the match. United and Leeds have met twice in the domestic cups since. Leeds won 1-0 in the FA Cup at Old Trafford in 2010 and United winning the League Cup match 3-0 in 2011.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Martial, Rashford, Van de Beek and Greenwood to lead the attack; McTominay and Fred in midfield?

Manchester United will entertain Leeds United at Old Trafford for the first time in the Premier League since 2004 on Sunday afternoon. Back then, it was a 1-1 draw between the two fierce rivals. United and Leeds have met twice in the domestic cup competitions with Leeds beating United 1-0 at Old Trafford in the FA Cup in the 2009/10 season and with United beating Leeds 3-0 in the League Cup in the 2011/12 season. There was a meeting in Australia during pre-season not all that long ago, which was another win for United, but not a competitive match. It is safe to say that Leeds will relish their match at Old Trafford.

United beat Sheffield United on Thursday evening, which saw them rise to sixth in the Premier League with goal difference separating them and Everton. Another win for United could propel them further up the league table, which will see United still have a game in hand over the teams above them, and probably immediately below them, which is a good sign of progress. United six five points from the top of the league, before any matches kick off this weekend, having that game in hand, so this supposed ‘crisis’ at Old Trafford seems to be a little bit far fetched to say the least, or just journalistic licence.

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

United and Leeds have met a total of 24 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 13 times whereas Leeds have won four times with seven draws between the two clubs. United have scored a total of 35 goals, winning no penalties. Leeds have scored a total of 17 goals, also winning no penalties. United have kept a total of 13 clean sheets with Leeds keeping just five clean sheets. In terms of discipline, United have been shown a total of 33 yellow cards and no red cards with Leeds being shown a total of 46 yellow cards and two red cards. This could well be a fiery match between the Manchester and Yorkshire rivals.

The last time these two teams faced each other in the Premier League at Old Trafford was during the 2003/04 season. The match was played on the 21 February 2004 and it was a 1-1 draw with Paul Scholes opening the scoring in the 64th minute of the match and Alan Smith equalising three minutes later. The away clash that season was played ay Elland Road on the 18 October 2003 and was a 1-0 victory to United with Roy Keane scoring the only goal of the match. United and Leeds have met twice in the domestic cups since. Leeds won 1-0 in the FA Cup at Old Trafford in 2010 and United winning the League Cup match 3-0 in 2011.

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

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea was rested for the 3-2 victory over Sheffield United on Thursday evening, which saw United come from behind to win once again. Dean Henderson was initially blamed for the defensive error with David McGoldrick pouncing on a back pass from Harry Maguire with the goalkeeper unable to collect with his hands. De Gea will be thankful of the rest ahead of the important Premier League match against Leeds United at Old Trafford this Sunday. United will be seeking to progress once again with the sole aim to keep the chase on those above them in the league with United still able to mount a title challenge.

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

United’s defence will need to do so much better if they are to prevail this season. A clean sheet was kept against Manchester City last weekend, but before that, it was the 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion at the end of November. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw should start in the fullback positions, with Alex Telles on the bench should United need more attacking options from the back. In the centre of defence, Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire should start, despite the fact Solskjaer said he would need to split the pair up at times this month. Perhaps not in this match though. United will need to be at their best defensively.

Midfield: Fred, Scott McTominay

Paul Pogba played well against Sheffield United on Thursday evening, but for this match, he should be on the bench and called upon if United need to add more bite in the midfield. This is going to be a tough few weeks for United, playing every three days until New Year’s Dat. Scott McTominay, who came off the bench at the death on Thursday and Fred, who was rested for the trip to Sheffield should be starting. I believe both of them could offer something, both defensively and going forward, which could help United get the better over their opposition this weekend, keeping their chase for the top spot in the Premier League on the cards.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Donny van de Beek, Marcus Rashford

This is the area where United have a lot of talent on the squad. The first choice players for these positions would be Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford. Fernandes has played a lot of football recently, so keeping him fresh with a place on the bench could be good for him and he could be called upon should United need some inspiration. If they are able to manage with Donny van de Beek playing in his place, the Portuguese midfielder will be fresh to face Everton in the Carabao Cup next week. Greenwood and Rashford should be enough to add creativity to the attack against Leeds, who could put up a fight.

Forwards: Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial scored his third goal of the season when United best Sheffield United 3-2 at Bramall Lane on Thursday evening. It was a clinical goal which was started by Pogba with his pass to the Frenchman, which he eventually put into the back of the net. Martial will need to be clinical in front of goal a lot more this season with United depending on hims to score the goals. He has the ability to do so after his goal haul last season but he had competition in Edinson Cavani this season, which should bring out the best of him and help him to find better positions inside and outside the box to find the back of the net.

Substitutes: David De Gea; Eric Bailly, Alex Telles, Axel Tuanzebe; Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Daniel James; Edinson Cavani, Odion Ighalo

United will be able to name nine substitutes on the bench from this weekend in the Premier League, but will only be able to use three after the clubs in the league decided against five substitutes for the remainder of the season. This will give Solskjaer more options to utilise as to whatever Leeds manager to throw at United. Dean Henderson will be back on the bench after his outing against his former loan club. In defence, Eric Bailly, Alex Telles and Axel Tuanzebe should all be available. In midfield, Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and Daniel James could be called upon if needed with Edinson Cavani and Odion Ighalo options in attack, should they be needed.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Manchester United -v- Leeds United – Premier League – Martial and Rashford to sink Leeds?

Manchester United -v- Leeds United

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Sunday 20 December 2020, KO 16:30 GMT

Referee: Anthony Taylor Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn

Fourth Official: Chris Kavanagh

VAR: Kevin Friend Assistant VAR: Simon Beck

Manchester United will entertain Leeds United at Old Trafford for the first time in the Premier League since 2004 on Sunday afternoon. Back then, it was a 1-1 draw between the two fierce rivals. United and Leeds have met twice in the domestic cup competitions with Leeds beating United 1-0 at Old Trafford in the FA Cup in the 2009/10 season and with United beating Leeds 3-0 in the League Cup in the 2011/12 season. There was a meeting in Australia during pre-season not all that long ago, which was another win for United, but not a competitive match. It is safe to say that Leeds will relish their match at Old Trafford.

United beat Sheffield United on Thursday evening, which saw them rise to sixth in the Premier League with goal difference separating them and Everton. Another win for United could propel them further up the league table, which will see United still have a game in hand over the teams above them, and probably immediately below them, which is a good sign of progress. United six five points from the top of the league, before any matches kick off this weekend, having that game in hand, so this supposed ‘crisis’ at Old Trafford seems to be a little bit far fetched to say the least, or just journalistic licence.

Manchester United: WDLWLW

Sheffield United 3-2 W, Manchester City 0-0 D, RB Leipzig 3-2 L, West Ham United 3-1 W, Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 L, Southampton 3-2 W

Leeds United: WLLWDL

Newcastle United 5-2 W, West Ham United 2-1 L, Chelsea 3-1 L, Everton 1-0 W, Arsenal 0-0 D, Crystal Palace 4-1 L

Top Scorers: Marcus Rashford (12) and Bruno Fernandes (11) have 23 goals between them in all competitions this season. Patrick Bamford has scored nine goals this season, despite suggestions that he would struggle in the top flight of English football.

Manchester United Goals: 12 – Marcus Rashford, 11 – Bruno Fernandes, 3 – Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Paul Pogba, 1 – Own Goal, Daniel James, Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

United have scored 12 goals and conceded 11 in their last six matches, which saw United win three times, draw once and lose twice. the two losses were both in the UEFA Champions League, which United exited at the group stage, falling into the UEFA Europa League there they will face Real Sociedad in February. United’s victory over the Blades on Thursday evening saw them rise up to sixth in the league, before any matches were played this weekend and will be seeking to rise further with a victory over the fierce rivals from Yorkshire. Solskjaer seems to have his team winning, now to focus on conceding fewer goals.

Leeds United Goals: 9 – Patrick Bamford, 3 – Mateusz Klich, 2 – Ezgjan Alioski, Hélder Costa, Stuart Dallas, Jack Harrison, Rodrigo, 1 – Raphinha

Leeds have scored nine goals and conceded 11 in their last six matches, winning twice, drawing once and losing three times. The club has done well this season, since winning the Championship last season and under manager Marcelo Bielsa, they will be seeking to frustrate many teams this season. Leeds will start this match week in 13th place in the Premier League table and could fall further after matches are played on Saturday and Sunday, with six matches to be played before this clash at Old Trafford. Leeds would relish a victory at the Theatre of Dreams and United will need to find a way to turn their stadium into a fortress once more.

Team News: United could have three players out of action with Leeds having four. This could be a battle of fitness, desire and determination at the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday afternoon.

Phil Jones (knee) is out of action for the remainder of the year, not that he was named in the Premier League squad, so would not be eligible to play even if he was fit. Marcos Rojo (calf) has been out of action since the summer break and was only recently mention by Solskjaer as injured with a calf injury, again. He could be back in action in about three weeks. Edinson Cavani (muscular) missed the matches against Manchester City and Sheffield United. He should be fit for the clash with Leeds on Sunday, which could be a good thing for United with more firepower required to keep players fresh at this stage of the season.

Gaetano Berardi (ACL), Adam Forshaw (groin/hip), Robin Koch (knee) and Diego Llorente (muscular) have all been ruled out of the trip to Old Trafford to face United on Sunday. Of course, the manager will give an update ahead of the match, as to whether any of these players could be in contention, which seems doubtful, or whether there are any other names to add to the injury list. This will be a big match for both teams, with both teams having the desire to win the match and better their league positions during this busy Festive period of the season. United should be the victors for me, but Leeds have good instincts about them.

Predicted Starting XI: Martial, Rashford, Van de Beek and Greenwood to start against Leeds?

Solskjaer has revealed that Edinson Cavani will feature against Leeds this weekend but after his absence due to injury, I don’t think a starting position would be wise immediately. Him coming off the bench in the second half of the match would be beneficial for United and could add further pressure for Leeds, which would be a good thing as they start to tire. I think Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Donny van de Beek and Mason Greenwood will play in the forward four (three behind the striker) with Scott McTominay and Fred in midfield and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw ahead of David De Gea.

Match Prediction: 24 matches played between these fierce rivals with United winning 13 times, Leeds winning four times and the teams drawing seven times. Who will win this battle at Old Trafford?

United and Leeds have met a total of 24 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 13 times whereas Leeds have won four times with seven draws between the two clubs. United have scored a total of 35 goals, winning no penalties. Leeds have scored a total of 17 goals, also winning no penalties. United have kept a total of 13 clean sheets with Leeds keeping just five clean sheets. In terms of discipline, United have been shown a total of 33 yellow cards and no red cards with Leeds being shown a total of 46 yellow cards and two red cards. This could well be a fiery match between the Manchester and Yorkshire rivals.

The last time these two teams faced each other in the Premier League at Old Trafford was during the 2003/04 season. The match was played on the 21 February 2004 and it was a 1-1 draw with Paul Scholes opening the scoring in the 64th minute of the match and Alan Smith equalising three minutes later. The away clash that season was played ay Elland Road on the 18 October 2003 and was a 1-0 victory to United with Roy Keane scoring the only goal of the match. United and Leeds have met twice in the domestic cups since. Leeds won 1-0 in the FA Cup at Old Trafford in 2010 and United winning the League Cup match 3-0 in 2011.

Manchester United 2-1 Leeds United

Written by John Walker

Leeds United target Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa is believed to be interested in signing Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero, 32, this summer ahead of the clubs long-awaited return to the Premier League. Long awaited for them, not me. I could not care a less, to be honest. It has been 16 glorious years since Leeds were a team to be contended with in the Premier League and despite them thinking they will return for evermore, there are no guarantees of that – just looking at Norwich City’s stay.

Bielsa is considered to be one fo the best managers in the lower league of the game and it will be good to see what he can do in the Premier League as a manager – just to see if he has the skills and experience to do things that other recently promoted teams have seemingly failed to do. This summer, it is reported by The Sun that one of their main courses of business will be to sign a new goalkeeper, presumably one with Premier League experience.

Romero is not the only target for Leeds and Bielsa with Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, 27, also named in the report. Both Romero and Martinez are Argentinian, just like Bielsa, so I guess that is the main link, other than both goalkeepers having experience in the Premier League. It would be a shame to see Romero leave the club but you cannot blame him for wanting to have one last go at being the first choice goalkeeper at a club, although he has been happy to be the number two for the past five years.

If United decide to allow Romero to leave the club this summer, with the return of Dean Henderson from his loan spell with Sheffield United, it could see a battle between the 23-year-old and David De Gea, 29, for the number on shirt at the club, which could bring out the best of both players. However, it will probably end up that Henderson is loaned to the Blades for another season with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer keeping an eye on the player’s progress during the course of the season.

Romero has played sparingly for United this season, making 15 appearances for the club this season, playing in the UEFA Europa League, Emirates FA Cup and the Carabao Cup. He has conceded just four goals, keeping 11 clean sheets. It is likely that the Argentinian is played in at least the next Europa League match, the round of 16 second leg against LASK at Old Trafford on the 5 August 2020. Earlier this week, in an exclusive report by The Metro, which is probably not something to live your life by, it was suggested that Romero was thinking about his future at United.

After being overlooked to replace De Gea against Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final last weekend, a competition he has started every round of, it was suggested that the Argentinian was ‘really down’ about being overlooked. It was suggested that De Gea could have been dropped ahead of the clash with West Ham United on Wednesday but Solskjaer stuck by the goalkeeper with the club earning just a point from that match when they could have sought more, securing their place in the league before the final match of the season. I don’t personally think that these rumours will stop this summer.

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Greenwood, Rashford, Jones and Martial sink Leeds United in 4-0 rout

Manchester United beat Leeds United 4-0 in the second pre-season friendly at the Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia on Wednesday. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be happy with the victory over a rival team at this stage of the summer which will do the squad well ahead of the upcoming matches against Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur, Kristiansund and AC Milan ahead of the Premier League opener against Chelsea.

17-year-old Mason Greenwood opened the scoring in the seventh minute of the match after Paul Pogba played a through ball into Aaron Wan-Bissaka with the right-back making the run up the right-wing. He crossed the ball into Greenwood who tapped in his first goal of pre-season, something he will be pleased with, as will his manager.

Twenty minutes later, United doubled their lead through Marcus Rashford. United had pressured Leeds for several minutes in the runup to the goal and Scott McTominay pushed forward with the ball, passing to Rashford, who was just inside the box, slotting past the goalkeeper for United’s second goal of the match.

Six minutes into the second half, United had won a corner. Andreas Pereira took it, lofted the ball into the box and the rising head of Phil Jones slotted the ball into the back of the net to make it 3-0 to United. It seems that the Leeds supporters in Australia were a little too optimistic in thinking that their team would beat United today. Oops.

United won a penalty in the 69th minute after Tahith Chong was taken out inside the box by Liam Cooper. Anthony Martial stepped up to take the spot-kick, putting it into the back of the net as cool as you like. United was 4-0 up against the Yorkshire club, something they will want to forget. But it is only pre-season, which would not be the case if they had not been on the receiving end of this battering.

Man of the Match: Paul Pogba

The Frenchman played well in the first half of the match and played a part in the opening goal, playing the ball to Wan-Bissaka. Pogba can be a great player for this club and hopefully, he can sort his future out and decide whether he wants to remain at the club or not. When he came back to United, he said he had unfinished business here. That business has not been taken care of, so if he wants to take care of it, he will need to stay. It will be a season that could create something for the club.

Manchester United

22 Sergio Romero

The Argentinian goalkeeper saw more action tha he did against Perth Glory at the weekend. The experienced goalpeeper also made a crucial save when the score was 1-0, which could have changed the outcome of the game. A clean sheet and 45 minutes under his belt will impress the player and the manager.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The right-back showed just what he can do in a Manchester United shirt. Solid defensively and also added that imopact in attck, running up the right-wing with the ball and playing it to Mason Greenwood to open the scoring. This team already looks much better than it did last season with him in it.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Looked the part paired with Eric Bailly. His passing was on point and it seems he is still carrying the form he showed last season, which will put him on the teamsheet more often than not, if it continues.

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3 Eric Bailly

The Ivorian was solid in defence but had some pretty rash decision making, which needs to improve during the pre-season campaign. Bailly is a good defender and had a good season after he signed, however, he has fallen down the pecking order and will again if another defender is signed by the club this summer.

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16 Marcos Rojo

I was not all that impressed with his defending during his 45 minute cameo on the team. He did not offer much going forward, which is what this position will need to offer. Luke Shaw will be at home in this position, when fit. United's weakest link in the team, based on his current form.

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39 Scott McTominay

The Scotland international put in a good shift in the first half of the match. He assisted Marcus Rashford's goal, United's second of the game with a great showing of speed going forward with the ball. Many mock him but he really is something the club should be proud of.

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6 Paul Pogba

MOTM for me. The Frenchman did a lot in the first half, including helping to create the opening goal by passing the ball to Wan-Bissaka, who then thundered up the right flank to pass to Greenwood, who found the back of the net. If he stays this summer, he needs to really dig deep and inspire this team, if he is the leader everyone says he is.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Got himself a goal in the first team, which will have left him thirsty for more. He seemed to be hungrier against Perth Glory at the weekend than he was against Leeds but I cannot fault him for what he did. The only way it up for him now.

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8 Juan Mata

The Spanish midfielder did what he needed to do. His was tidy in possession but was not a player who created a deciding moment in the game. However, it is a team game.

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21 Daniel James

Nearly scored on his second appearance for the club. Seemed much better against Perth Glory but still played a part against Leeds United. His pace is going to cause problems when he properly finds his feet in this squad. I cannot wait to see that.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Two goals in two matches in pre-season so far. He really is going to become a player that those who had written him off will feel a bit silly. Playing in a pacey lineup, Rashford is a player who will find a goal, even create one. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was right to start him over Anthony Martial.

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Substitutes

Joel Castro Pereira

Replaced Romero 46'. The Portuguese goalkeeper had little to do in the second half of the match.

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Diogo Dalot

Replaced Rojo 46'. The fullback played the entire second half of the match with Solskjaer checking out his ability. He will need to improve a lot in order to displace Wan-Bissaka at right-back, more so to displace Luke Shaw at left-back.

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4 Phil Jones

Replaced Lindelof 46'. Scored a headed goal which many will be impressed with to put United 3-0 up in the second half. Did not have much to do defensively in the second half.

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Chris Smalling

Replaced Bailly 46'. The second half did not see much action in United's area, like in the first. It was a pretty smooth match for Smalling and his defensive colleagues.

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18 Ashley Young

Replaced Wan-Bissaka 46'. Some say he impressed but I was left unimpressed in all fairness. After a rest (this summer) he might be feeling ready but as the season grows on, his performances decrease. There is little anyone can do to stop that. He will be a liability in the squad when it really matters.

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Andreas Pereira

Replaced McTominay 46'. The Belgian-born Brazilian put the effort into his second half performance bu McTominay is streets ahead of him in terms of ability and being trusted by the manager. Needs to have a good season which may prevent him from being sold next summer. I'm not too sure he has what it takes to impress for United.

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28 Angel Gomes

Replaced Mata 46'. I was impressed with Gomes. He seems to have got stuck into cementing himself in the first team this summer. Nearly scored a goal of his own, which was good to see, although he will be gutted to have hit it wide. It won't be long before he is a player that always finds himself in the first team, especially under Solskjaer as youth is the key.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced Pogba 46'. Seemed out of place in Solskjaer's squad for this high-intensity match. Was substituted 32 minutes after coming on.

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Tahith Chong

Replaced Greenwood 46'. His skills saw him dominate in the second half, also winning a penalty for United, which Matrial scored to put the club 4-0 up over Leeds. He might not be ready to start the season in the first team but I don't think it will be long for him. Good to have him as a squad player.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced James 46'. Seemed a bit quier agains Leeds and will need to start performing. The opposition will become a little more difficult from here with Inter Milan on the horizon in the International Champions Cup in Singapore on Saturday. It was not a bad match for him, just not one of his best.

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9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Rashford 46'. Got himself on the scoresheet, albeit from the penalty spot. Will be happy with that. He was out of form and did not do a lot, other than score the penalty. He started well as a striker at the club but seems best suited as a left-winger, but after a few more matches, it might start to work again for him.

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James Garner

Replaced Matic 78'. Played 12 minutes plus stoppage time. Seemed to fit in more than Matic, who seemed to be struggling in this formation and high-intensity pressing. His future is going to be good for the club. A future leader in the ranks, maybe?

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Goals: Mason Greenwood 7′, Marcus Rashford 27′, Phil Jones 51′, Anthony Martial (penalty) 69′

Assists: Aaron Wan-Bissaka 7′, Scott McTominay 27′, Andreas Pereira 51′

Manchester United: Romero (J. Pereira 46′); Wan-Bissaka (Young 46′), Lindelof (Jones 46′), Bailly (Smalling 46′), Rojo (Dalot 46′); McTominay (A. Pereira 46′), Pogba (Matic 46′ (Garner 78′); Greenwood (Chong 46′), Mata (Gomes 46′), James (Lingard 46′); Rashford (Martial 46′)

Substitutes Not Used: Tuanzebe

Confirmed Starting XI: Rashford leads the line against Leeds; supported by Greenwood, Mata, and James

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United face Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United in the second pre-season match of the summer to be played at the Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia. United beat Perth Glory 2-0 with goals from Marcus Rashford and James Garner on Saturday. The United squad will head to Singapore after this match to ready themselves for the opening International Champions Cup match against Inter Milan.

Manchester United:

Romero;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Bailly, Rojo;

McTominay, Pogba;

Greenwood, Mata, James;

Rashford

Substitutes:

J. Pereira; Dalot, Jones, Smalling, Tuanzebe, Young; A. Pereira, Garner, Gomes, Matic, Chong, Lingard; Martial

Leeds United:

Casilla, Douglas, Cooper, Berardi, Dallas, Phillips, Forshaw, Harrison, Hernandez, Roofe, Bamford

Substitutes:

Miazek, Hosannah, Oduor, Bogusz, Stevens

United last met Leeds on the 20 September 2011 in the League Cup, a 3-0 victory for United with a brace from Michael Owen and Ryan Giggs closing the scoring indie the first half of the match. United’s last defeat to Leeds was the years before in the FA Cup, a 1-0 defeat. In competitive matches, United has beaten Leeds 46 times, drawn 35 times and lost 26 times in all competitions.

United will be looking to find the form to start the season well, but will have to focus on the pre-season fixtures against Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur, Kristiansund and AC Milan which all come before the Premier League opener at Old Trafford in which Solskjaer’s United will take on Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.

copyright: JW