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Ratings: Fernandes and Pogba brilliant in Leeds rout. Greenwood and Fred impressive too. Leeds not so much – have it!

Manchester United beat Leeds United 5-1 at Old Trafford in the opening match of the Premier League. Bruno Fernandes opened the scoring in the 30th minute of the match, assisted by Paul Pogba. Leeds found an equaliser three minutes into the second half, scored by Luke Ayling. Mason Greenwood then restored the lead, against assisted by Pogba. Fernandes completed his brace in the 54th minute, resulting in a hat-trick of assists for Pogba. Fernandes then scored again in the 60th minute with no assist before Fred completed the scoring in the 68th minute, with Pogba getting four assists. What a match. What a result and what a great way to teach Leeds fans a lesson for mocking disasters. Cracking stuff. United face Southampton at St Mary’s in the Premier League next weekend.

It was a good start for United against Leeds. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were attacking, which really got the crowd roused, but with Raphael Varane being announced as a United player before kick off, they were ready to be excited for the opening Premier League match of the season. United had plenty of chances with Scott McTominay amongst them early in the match. It took around 30 minutes for United to get the opener, through none other than Bruno Fernandes, assisted by Paul Pogba, who should have perhaps opened the scoring minutes earlier. It was a great finish for the Portuguese magnifico, who was the clubs top scorer last season with 28 goals and 18 assists. At the end of the first half, United had 11 shots, four of those were on target, also having jus 47% possession with this well-drilled Leeds side having most of the ball in the first half.

At the start of the second half, Leeds made their first substitution with Junior Firpo replacing Rodrigo. Three minutes into the second half, Leeds got the equaliser through Luke Ayling, which allowed the Leeds fans to be heard celebrating, when moments before they were singing about the Munich air disaster, which shows how classy they are. Their celebrations did not last too long though as Mason Greenwood got his first goal of the season three minutes later, assisted by Pogba, who was having a terrific game. In the 54th minute, Fernandes got his second goal of the game, which completed a hat-trick of assists for Pogba. It was not over though as Fernandes completed his hat-trick of goals in the 60th minute – his first hat-trick for United and on the opening day fo the season. Fred made the score 5-1 in the 68th minute, assisted by Pogba again – magnificent.

Leeds made their second substitution in the 69th minute with Header Costa replacing Jack Harrison. Solskjaer made is first substitution with Nemanja Matic replacing McTominay. United were in their swagger and sending a message to the Premier League, sitting top of the league at this point in the match with Brentford in second and both Arsenal (19th) and Leeds United at the rock bottom. Jadon Sancho was warming up and Leeds fans started to sing “you let your country down” or words to that effect, which underlines how bitter and disgusting this section of their fans are. Imagine being like that just because your team was being beaten. In the 75th minute of the match, Solskjaer made a double substitution with Sancho and Anthony Martial replacing Daniel James and Pogba – who left the pitch to a rapturous applause.

Leeds made their final substitution in the 77th minute with Tyler Roberts replacing Patrick Bamford with a lot to do get get back into the match. Leeds were the dirtiest team on the pitch with two yellow cards; Liam Cooper and Raphinha 62. With minutes left of the match, BT Sports awarded Bruno Fernandes with the Man of the Match award for being the catalyst in this match with his hat-trick by Paul Pogba will have been up there with his four assists, which has shown that the is the player that is needed at this club and that he should sign a new contract, not taking the advise of his agent – therefore being able to, at last, finish what he started at United. With the signings that have been made since Solskjaer arrived at the club, the direction of the club is firmly visible sadly not to the likes of the negative fans who just want to find anything negative so they can moan.

The match ended with rapturous celebration from the Old Trafford faithful which was the start of the season that Solskjaer wanted and what most United supporters wanted. Imagine being one of the so-called supporters that want United to lose, just so that can launch foul tirades on social media to earn themselves clout from like-minded negative so-called supporters like them. Imagine when they find out that you get nothing by pretending to be something on social media – a lot of so-called supporters could learn from that statement. I am sure you have an idea of the type of people I am talking about. I even saw #OleOut trending on Twitter before a ball had even been kicked this afternoon, which was puzzling. I bet the people that started that off will be highly frustrated that United won, and won well. Bless them for giving an AFTV like comedy to laugh at.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Not really tested much in the first half but seemed to be carrying some confidence. Conceded at the start of the second half before United showed Leeds who the boss was. Confidence building performance for the Spaniard.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Did all he needed to do in defence and got forward some of the time. Made two interceptions but lost possession a few times.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Had a good match and will be seeking to battle Varane. Made five clearances, got the assist for Fernandes' third goal, won all of his aerial duels and his passing topped off at 80%. Message sent to Varane. Good time coming?

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5 Harry Maguire

Played a slow game at times but did what was needed and expected. Made three clearances, one interception, one tackle and was dribbled past once. Won all his aerial duels and 60% of his ground duels. Can't wait to see him play with Varane.

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23 Luke Shaw

Back to his best - where he left of last season and at Euro 2020. Spent much of the match playing like a winger. One blocked shot, one tackle, but lost the ball 12 times - committed three fouls and suffered two. Had a shot on goal but it was off target. A good performance to start the season. One of the players to contend for MOTM.

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39 Scott McTominay

Had a good start to the match. Almost 83% pass success. Made one key pass and played two successful long balls. Blocked one shot and was successful with one of two dribbles. Made three clearances, one interception and made two tackles. Was replaced by Matic in the 68th minute of the match.

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17 Fred

McFred has many critics but they were not ready for what happened today. He was careless at times, but he grew into the game. He was all over the pitch at times and has a good work rate. He scored a great goal but lost the ball 13 times. He did his bit against Leeds.

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Ratings: Fernandes and Pogba brilliant in Leeds rout. Greenwood and Fred impressive too. Leeds not so much – have it!

More of the same from the Welsh winger. His pace is frightening but his end product is careless. Failed to find a teammate with two cross attempts. Had one shot on target, one off target and one blocked, which was unlucky. Not successful with a dribble attempt and lost the ball 12 times.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Scored a hat-trick for the first time in a United shirt. Had three shots on target and one blocked. For him to only score penalties, according to the ABUs, shows how much tosh they talk. Lost the ball 15 times but made up for that with his performance.. A cracking start to the season. MOTM for me but Pogba was close.

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6 Paul Pogba

What a start to the season for the Frenchman. He needs to sign a new long-term contract. Something is happening this season. He played Leeds off the pitch. Had four assists, which is outstanding. Made five key passes, successful with five out of six long balls. Created one big chance. Had one shot on target and one shot off target and was successful in one of two dribble attempts, missing one big chance. Made one interception, one tackle and was dribbled past twice.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Got his first goal of the season. Impressive and innovative. It is good to see this type of performance from him. Had two shots on target and one off target. Successful in five from nice dribble attempts. 87.5% pass accuracy which was brilliant. He's learning in this leading role and will gain a lot this season on his road to being the main striker at United.

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Substitutes

31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced McTominay 68'. Did what was needed to protect the defence late in the second half. United were well in front by the time he came on. 87.5% pass accuracy, won both aerial duels, made two clearances and one interception. Lost the ball twice.

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25 Jadon Sancho

Replaced James 75'. Made his debut on a special day. Saw the best Old Trafford has to offer. Successful with one of two dribble attempts, 69.2% pass accuracy, won 50% of his ground duels but lost the ball five times. His time will come - it is early days for him regarding fitness and gelling with his new teammates.

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9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Pogba 75'. Got his first minutes of the season, albeit from the bench. Successful with both dribble attempts. 71.4% pass accuracy. Won both ground duels but lost the ball twice. Has a part to play this season and will grow in confidence.

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Goals: Bruno Fernandes 30’, 54′, 60’, Mason Greenwood 51’, Fred 68′; Luke Ayling 48’

Assists: Paul Pogba 30’, 52’, 54′, 68′, Victor Lindelof 60′; Stuart Dallas 48′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay (Matic 69′), Fred; James (Sancho 75′), Fernandes, Pogba (Martial 75′); Greenwood

Substitutes Not Used: Heaton; Dalot, Williams; Mata, Pereira, Van de Beek

Bookings: Luke Shaw 83′; Liam Cooper 59′, Raphinha 62′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Greenwood, Pogba, Fernandes and James lead the attack against Leeds; Sancho on the bench

Manchester United will start the 2021/22 Premier League season against Leeds United at Old Trafford this afternoon. It will be a big test for United, who did not start in the best possible way last season, falling to a 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at home. One thing to look at is that this fixture last season was a 6-2 victory for United with a great performance from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side. That said, the reverse fixture at Elland Road back in April was a stale 0-0 draw and a big miss for United. Last summer, the last of a pre-season was a big loss for United and the coronavirus pandemic delaying the Premier League season until the summer and both the UEFA Champions League and Europa League competitions were played in August, with the new season starting in September, a week later for United because of their participation in Europe.

The Theatre of Dreams will have a capacity around for the first time since the 8 March 2020 when United beat rivals Manchester City 2-0 through Anthony Martial and an injury time stunner from Scott McTominay which saw the Old Trafford faithful erupt as Solskjaer beat Pep Guardiola’s side once again. Leeds United will not be a pushover despite the last result between the two sides in the Premier League with United running riot over their bitter rivals and since that match, Leeds have been well drilled by manager Marcelo Bielsa, who has recently signed a new one-year contract at the club. The match will be broadcast like on BT Sport 1HD in the United Kingdom with coverage starting at 11:30 am on Saturday with the match kicking off an hour later. United may have summer signings Tom Heaton, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane involved in this match.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

McTominay, Fred;

James, Fernandes, Pogba;

Greenwood

Substitutes:

Heaton; Dalot, Williams; Mata, Pereira, Matic, Van de Beek; Martial, Sancho

Leeds United:

Meslier;

Ayling, Cooper, Koch, Dallas;

Raphina, Struik, Klich, Harrison;

Rodrigo, Bamford

Substitutes:

Klaesson, Firpo, Forshaw, Roberts, Costa, Phillips, Summerville, Greenwood, Shackleton

United and Leeds United have met 26 times in the Premier League alone. The Red Devils have won 14 times, drawing eight times with the Yorkshire club winning the remaining four matches. United have scored a total of 41 Premier League goals against Leeds, who have scored 19 goals against United – who won one penalty, scoring it with Leeds yet to win a penalty against United. The Red Devils have kept 14 clean sheets with Leeds keeping just six. With this fixture being a Derby match between two bitter rivals, there will always be discipline issues. United players have been booked 35 times with no red cards and Leeds players have earned 50 yellow cards, also being shown two red cards. This looks to become a good match this season, with Leeds into their second year back in the English top flight and United continuing their rebuild towards the future.

Over the course of history between both United and Leeds, there have been many players who have represented both teams. From Joe Jordan, Gordon McQueen, Arthur Graham ad Alan Smith. The main players though will be Rio Ferdinand, who signed for United from Leeds in the summer of 2002 for around £30 million. He instantly became the most expensive defender in the world, at the time. Serving United for around 12 years, making 455 appearances, scoring eight goals and nine assists. He’s not the biggest name though. There is one Eric Cantona. A steal at £1.6 million, but United got him so much cheaper. The Frenchman played 180 times for United, scoring 81 goals and 62 assists and was a massive mistake for Leeds, who at the time of his transfer commencing, wanted Denis Irwin from United. He will forever be known for a Kung-Fu kick.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: Jadon Sancho to come off the bench against Leeds United? Raphael Varane not involved though…

Manchester United will start the 2021/22 Premier League season against Leeds United at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon. It will be a big test for United, who did not start in the best possible way last season, falling to a 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at home. One thing to look at is that this fixture last season was a 6-2 victory for United with a great performance from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side. That said, the reverse fixture at Elland Road back in April was a stale 0-0 draw and a big miss for United. Last summer, the last of a pre-season was a big loss for United and the coronavirus pandemic delaying the Premier League season until the summer and both the UEFA Champions League and Europa League competitions were played in August, with the new season starting in September, a week later for United because of their participation in Europe.

The Theatre of Dreams will have a capacity around for the first time since the 8 March 2020 when United beat rivals Manchester City 2-0 through Anthony Martial and an injury time stunner from Scott McTominay which saw the Old Trafford faithful erupt as Solskjaer beat Pep Guardiola’s side once again. Leeds United will not be a pushover despite the last result between the two sides in the Premier League with United running riot over their bitter rivals and since that match, Leeds have been well drilled by manager Marcelo Bielsa, who has recently signed a new one-year contract at the club. The match will be broadcast like on BT Sport 1HD in the United Kingdom with coverage starting at 11:30 am on Saturday with the match kicking off an hour later. United may have summer signings Tom Heaton, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane involved in this match.

Previous meetings with Leeds United and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Leeds United have met 26 times in the Premier League alone. The Red Devils have won 14 times, drawing eight times with the Yorkshire club winning the remaining four matches. United have scored a total of 41 Premier League goals against Leeds, who have scored 19 goals against United – who won one penalty, scoring it with Leeds yet to win a penalty against United. The Red Devils have kept 14 clean sheets with Leeds keeping just six. With this fixture being a Derby match between two bitter rivals, there will always be discipline issues. United players have been booked 35 times with no red cards and Leeds players have earned 50 yellow cards, also being shown two red cards. This looks to become a good match this season, with Leeds into their second year back in the English top flight and United continuing their rebuild towards the future.

Over the course of history between both United and Leeds, there have been many players who have represented both teams. From Joe Jordan, Gordon McQueen, Arthur Graham ad Alan Smith. The main players though will be Rio Ferdinand, who signed for United from Leeds in the summer of 2002 for around £30 million. He instantly became the most expensive defender in the world, at the time. Serving United for around 12 years, making 455 appearances, scoring eight goals and nine assists. He’s not the biggest name though. There is one Eric Cantona. A steal at £1.6 million, but United got him so much cheaper. The Frenchman played 180 times for United, scoring 81 goals and 62 assists and was a massive mistake for Leeds, who at the time of his transfer commencing, wanted Denis Irwin from United. He will forever be known for a Kung-Fu kick.

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

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea started against Everton in the final pre-season match fo the summer, keeping a clean sheet on his return to the Theatre of Dreams. Over the past few weeks, it looked as if new summer signing Tom Heaton could start the season in goal for United, but the Spaniard’s return to action has put him in good stead to start against Leeds United. He has not had the bast few seasons at the club, losing form, confidence and then failing to save a single penalty in the final of the UEFA Europa League, and missing his spot kick saw United lose to Villarreal, who ended up losing on penalties to Chelsea on Wednesday evening in the UEFA Super Cup. De Gea will be seeking to take on both Dean Henderson, who is suffering from fatigue linked to coronavirus and Heaton to the number one shirt this season.

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

The signing of Raphael Varane has not yet been completed but United will be getting ready to take on the Premier League full of confidence. However, the Frenchman’s arrival may be too late for him to start against Leeds but he should be fit enough to occupy a place on the bench with Eric Bailly and Phil Jones both likely to miss the league opener. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw should keep their places in the fullback positions for this match, having both featured against Everton with Shaw getting an assist in the match. Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof should partner in the centre of the defence once again, which could be scuppered by Varane at some point this season. This is the strongest defence the United could field in this match but it should be enough against this Leeds side. Could United keep a clean sheet? Maybe not but they should win.

Midfield: Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek

The midfield is problematic this season with only Nemanja Matic in the defensive midfield position with work needed to get this team strong enough to launch a title charge. If no new midfielder comes in this summer, United could find the long and tough season too hard in these midfield positions with Fred and Scott McTominay playing together not the answer to send this team towards glory, despite them both being decent squad players. Strength in depth is what is needed to keep fatigue at bay, which also came calling for United late last season – despite the rest ahead of the Europa League final. Matic could partner Donny van de Beek in the two-man midfield against Leeds, having both played well against Everton last weekend. Paul Pogba could play a part in this match with Solskjaer needing to rely on substitutes to keep his team on top.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Daniel James

Marcus Rashford will miss the first few months of the season after going through shoulder surgery last week, which is a blow for United now, but having a fully fit Rashford in this team at the business end of the season will be so much better, after the England forward has carried various injuries through the last season and a half, or somewhat longer. Mason Greenwood could start on the right-wing, but Jadon Sancho would be the best player to start there but I think he will be on the bench and could make his Premier League debut against Leeds at some point. Bruno Fernandes, the clubs top scorer last season with 46 goals and assist (28 goals and 18 assists) if ready for the new season, scoring a great free-kick against Everton last week. Daniel James cold fill in on the left-wing with his pace a threat but his decision-making problematic and needing improvement.

Forwards: Anthony Martial

The Frenchman missed the end of the 2020/21 season with an injury which also kept him out of action for France in Euro 2020. He has overcome that injury and had a fresh trim ahead of the season season. His return against Everton was rusty, as it would have been expected to be after a long layoff but in the coming weeks, he should start to find the fitness. With Edinson Cavani’s late start to the new season after having more time off in his native Uruguay, Martial could be expected to take the strain for United’s attack, which could see Greenwood also given the nod in the striker position. Of course, when Cavani is back and United are much stronger with other players returning from injury, fitness problems and returning late from summer breaks because of competitions during the break, it is possible that Solskjaer could change formation.

Substitutes: Tom Heaton; Diogo Dalot, Teden Mengi; Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Fred, Scott McTominay; Jadon Sancho, Anthony Elanga

The bench is where the excitement will be for the match against Leeds United. It is possible that Jadon Sancho will take up a place on the bench and could make his debut in the match, at some point – should they be needed. United are low on attacking players at this stage of the season so chances are Sancho will make his debut. Varane won’t be involved though as his move was not finalised in time. Tom Heaton could make his first appearance on the bench in the league for United, with Diogo Dalot being the final defensive player on the bench for United. Paul Pogba and Fred could offer something in midfield, if something needs to be changed with Anthony Elanga the only other attacking player on the bench, providing he is fit as he missed the Scotland training camp and the Everton match last weekend.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Old Trafford test for Leeds United; Jadon Sancho to make his debut?

Manchester United -v- Leeds United

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Saturday 14 August 2021, KO 12:30 BST

Referee: Paul Tierney Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, Neil Davies

Fourth Official: Anthony Taylor

VAR: Chris Kavanagh Assistant VAR: Lee Betts

Manchester United will start the 2021/22 Premier League season against Leeds United at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon. It will be a big test for United, who did not start in the best possible way last season, falling to a 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at home. One thing to look at is that this fixture last season was a 6-2 victory for United with a great performance from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side. That said, the reverse fixture at Elland Road back in April was a stale 0-0 draw and a big miss for United. Last summer, the last of a pre-season was a big loss for United and the coronavirus pandemic delaying the Premier League season until the summer and both the UEFA Champions League and Europa League competitions were played in August, with the new season starting in September, a week later for United because of their participation in Europe.

The Theatre of Dreams will have a capacity around for the first time since the 8 March 2020 when United beat rivals Manchester City 2-0 through Anthony Martial and an injury time stunner from Scott McTominay which saw the Old Trafford faithful erupt as Solskjaer beat Pep Guardiola’s side once again. Leeds United will not be a pushover despite the last result between the two sides in the Premier League with United running riot over their bitter rivals and since that match, Leeds have been well drilled by manager Marcelo Bielsa, who has recently signed a new one-year contract at the club. The match will be broadcast like on BT Sport 1HD in the United Kingdom with coverage starting at 11:30 am on Saturday with the match kicking off an hour later. United may have summer signings Tom Heaton, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane involved in this match.

United’s pre-season was not the best with Euro 2020, Copa America and the Olympics this summer but it was much better than one match last summer before the new season.

Solskjaer side faced Derby County, winning 2-1 with Tahith Chong, no at Birmingham City on loan and Facundo Pellistri, now at Deportivo Alaves on loan scoring the two goals. A week later, after the first summer training camp at Pennyhill Park in Surrey, United were beaten 4-2 by Queens Park Rangers, which was a shock, although QPR have had some good results during pre-season. Jesse Lingard and Anthony Elanga scored the goals in that match which caused the negative so-called supporters to continue with their negative tirades against the manager – despite it being a training match. United then drew against Brentford at Old Trafford with Elanga and Andreas Pereira scoring the goals. The Preston North End match was cancelled days later because of a coronavirus scare at United which turned into a false alarm, which was a shame.

United then travelled up to St Andrews in Scotland for a second training camp of the summer, which involved the majority of the first team players who had returned after their summer breaks. This was ahead of the final pre-season match of the summer, which was played at Old Trafford, this time against Premier League rivals Everton. United started well, opening the scoring through Mason Greenwood, then minutes later, Harry Maguire scored from a header, provided by a Luke Shaw assist. Bruno Fernandes put United 3-0 up in 30 minutes and the Toffees seemed dejected. There were many changes at half time and beyond for both teams and United ended up scoring a third goal through Diogo Dalot, who looks set to remain at the club this summer, seeing United win their final pre-season match with a 4-0 scoreline – just in time to start the new season.

Previous meetings with Leeds United and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Leeds United have met 26 times in the Premier League alone. The Red Devils have won 14 times, drawing eight times with the Yorkshire club winning the remaining four matches. United have scored a total of 41 Premier League goals against Leeds, who have scored 19 goals against United – who won one penalty, scoring it with Leeds yet to win a penalty against United. The Red Devils have kept 14 clean sheets with Leeds keeping just six. With this fixture being a Derby match between two bitter rivals, there will always be discipline issues. United players have been booked 35 times with no red cards and Leeds players have earned 50 yellow cards, also being shown two red cards. This looks to become a good match this season, with Leeds into their second year back in the English top flight and United continuing their rebuild towards the future.

Over the course of history between both United and Leeds, there have been many players who have represented both teams. From Joe Jordan, Gordon McQueen, Arthur Graham ad Alan Smith. The main players though will be Rio Ferdinand, who signed for United from Leeds in the summer of 2002 for around £30 million. He instantly became the most expensive defender in the world, at the time. Serving United for around 12 years, making 455 appearances, scoring eight goals and nine assists. He’s not the biggest name though. There is one Eric Cantona. A steal at £1.6 million, but United got him so much cheaper. The Frenchman played 180 times for United, scoring 81 goals and 62 assists and was a massive mistake for Leeds, who at the time of his transfer commencing, wanted Denis Irwin from United. He will forever be known for a Kung-Fu kick.

Team News: Many players out of action for United with ten players unlikely to be involved against Leeds. The Yorkshire club have two players on the sidelines, with two more likely to come back into the squad.

United will be without a number of first team players against Leeds with Dean Henderson still suffering the effects of coronavirus, Jesse Lingard still in self isolation, Marcus Rashford recovering from shoulder surgery, Alex Telles recovering from an ankle injury and Edinson Cavani recently returning from an extended break in Uruguay. Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo were involved in the Olympics with the Ivory Coast, so will still be resting ahead of their return to the squad and Phil Jones, despite being involved in training tis summer, is still returning from a knee injury, which kept him out last season. New summer signings Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane have been involved in training and may not start for United, but could perhaps be available, despite suggestion that they may not be involved. United will still have a strong squad though.

Leeds have few problems with injury ahead of the opening Premier League match of the season with Diego Llorente out with a knee injury until the end of the month and Adam Forshaw having not played for two-years but recently playing 60 minutes. However, that does not mean he will be thrown into the deep end as his recovery will continue in the background with him eventually coming back into the team. Junior Firpo  suffered a knock, which he seems to have recovered from and Jamie Shackleton suffered a head injury, which her too has recovered from, which could see both players involved against the Red Devils at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday afternoon. This wlll be a big match for Leeds, who would love to get one over United at the start of the season, which is a problem the club faced last summer. However, United will be determined to win.

Predicted Starting XI: Anthony Martial, Daniel James, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood to lead the attack against Leeds United. Jadon Sancho to come off the bench?

Solskjaer will be missing a number of players because of injury, coronavirus, fitness issues and because of recent returns to the squad after summer tournaments. That said, the squad still has enough players to field a strong team against Leeds. I have a feeling that Anthony Martial will lead the attack for United, flanked by Daniel James and Mason Greenwood – but I would like to see Jadon Sancho start for United, making his debut at the Theatre of Dreams. However, he has trained with his teammates this week only and is unlikely to start – unless Solskjaer has a trick up his sleeve, which could be the case. Raphael Varane has not yet been unveiled as a United player, and the deadline for that being completed to have in involved in the match day squad has passed so his debut will not happen this weekend.

I would expect David De Gea to start in goal, ahead of Tom Heaton. In defence, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw should all be fresh enough to start this match. The midfield could consist of Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek, who both did well against Everton last Saturday, keeping Paul Pogba on the bench to come on later in the match, if he is fit enough. He could play on the left-wing, as he has done previously, but I don’t think that is the best position for him. In the three behind the striker, Daniel James, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood could be involved – I would rather see Sancho start but I wonder if his fitness levels will be good enough, only returning to training at his new club this week? Anthony Martial could lead the line in the absence of Edinson Cavani, whilst he is stepping up his fitness.

Match Prediction: United’s start to last season ended up costing them at the wrong time. Averting that same mistake with a victory over Leeds is important.

United need to win at all costs. It would be great to see the same response against Leeds as the Red Devils had against Everton in their final pre-season match last weekend. However, Leeds will be seeking to get their season off to a better start too. The Yorkshire club ended up finishing ninth last season, just two points behind Arsenal, who really suffered – which was so satisfying to match them implode and become everything their fans mocked United for being after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson almost a decade ago. This match may not be easy at all as Leeds will dig in, like they did in the fixture at Elland Road last season, which was a lacklustre 0-0 draw. United should be seeking to become that team which destroyed Bielsa’s Leeds at the Theatre of Dreams last season, winning 6-2 which was a massive shock to the Yorkshire club.

United scored four goals against Everton last weekend in the final pre-season friendly of the summer, and despite the club lacking a few first team players, the were at good strength but clearly not ready to take on the might that was United. They may not be the same team that Carlo Ancelotti managed last season under new manager Rafael Benitez, but they should have done so much better. If Leeds allow United to get through them, in the same manner that Everton did, it could be a good opening day of the season for United. Getting a good start to the season is important as that could be where United messed up last season, along with results around January, which did not go to plan, costing them their place at the top of the league with Manchester City strolling to the Premier League title. United need to seek to be that team this season.

Manchester United 3-1 Leeds United

Written by John Walker

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

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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21 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

copyright: JW