Sergio Romero made a number of comfortable stops during his half but produced one standout save , keeping out Bamford’s close range effort. Wan-Bissaka continued where he left off against Perth and for Crystal Palace, in doing his best brick wall impression. He was simply impossible to get past, timing his challenges immaculately as ever, producing 4 interceptions as well as 2 key passes alongside his assist. Additionally, he won 100% of his duels and aerial battles. Lindelof and Bailly were solid as a pair and communicated well. Bailly was particularly good from a tackling point of view in which his decision making of when to hold back and when to attempt to win or intercept the ball was spot on. Lindelof was also very good from a defensive perspective but additionally contributed to the attacking phase, attempting long diagonal passes as well as dribbling the ball out of defence and into midfield. Within the first 2 minutes of the game, Lindelof exploited Leeds’ man-marking system in midfield and took the ball right the way up to the final third, before laying off Rashford who subsequently hit the post.
Paul Pogba provided a man of the match worthy performance, completely bossing the midfield. He shielded the ball fantastically and had the right balance of simple and more adventurous passes. He created a number of shooting opportunities for himself after good hold-up play and quick dribbling and provided a number of through passes that were so close to coming off perfectly, demonstrating positive intentions. He sent a long diagonal pass to Rashford which resulted in a saved shot, hit a long distance free-kick only just wide and brilliantly started the move that resulted in Greenwood’s opener. Meanwhile, his midfield partner, Scott McTominay, was quietly brilliant once again, doing all of the commonly unnoticed defensive work as well as driving with the ball into and through Leeds’ half, setting up Rashford for our second goal on one occasion.
Dan James’ highlight from his half came when he ran almost the entire length of the pitch at full pelt on the right hand side whilst we were counter-attacking, eventually picking up a pass from Rashford, which ended with his shot hitting the post. His pace was frightening as the analysis of his time at Swansea and with Wales had suggested and it will undoubtedly be a key asset to our counter-attacking play in the upcoming season. Slow defenders beware.
The second half saw very little for Joel Pereira or our defence to do, however, Jones produced a “wait…who scored?” moment. Not only did we score a header from a corner for the first time in what seems like 84 years, but it was Lord Philip himself!
Matic and Pereira dictated the midfield well, but in all honesty, Leeds showed great signs of fatigue in the second half, which meant that large sections of the half turned into a ball retention exercise for United. Gomes was the standout player from an attacking perspective in the second half, completing 100% of his final third passes. He linked up especially well with Chong which led to the penalty being awarded on one occasion. Chong’s performance was a lot better than against Perth Glory, demonstrating greater control and decision-making compared to his last match.
The same cannot be said for Lingard however, who was guilty of sloppy and lazy passes on a number of occasions. He would look to drop deep to collect the ball and then proceed to drive forwards, which in fairness he did well on occasions. Although when it came to the final pass, he was often selling teammates short or would be dispossessed having held onto the ball for too long.
Aside from the obvious aims of building match fitness and sharpness, there are many positives to be taken from this match. 4 goals, a fluid/interchanging attack, solid defending, dominant midfield play, lightning quick counter-attacking, youngsters performing well and composed finishing.
We march on to Singapore and Inter Milan.