Manchester United vs Leeds Preview

Match Facts:

Teams: Manchester United, Leeds United

Date: Saturday 14th August

KO time: 12:30 pm (BST)

Competition: Premier League

Venue: Old Trafford

Managers: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Marcelo Bielsa

Referee: Paul Tierney

Credit: Manchester Evening News

Manchester United will kickstart their Premier League campaign with a mouth-watering clash against Leeds United this Saturday. When the sides last met at Old Trafford, Bielsa’s men were on the receiving end of a 6-2 scoreline. Leeds will come into this fixture seeking revenge, as they look to better their midtable finish from last season. While, the Red Devils look to make a strong start to the season, as they attempt to bring the Premier Legaue trophy back to Old Trafford.

Recent Form: United youngsters shine but Leeds struggle

The Red Devils had a very inconsistent pre season. This was mainly because of star players being on holiday after the Euros. Consequently, United put out a very youthful side in the majority of games. Solskjaer even said himself that many of the players starting these games already had loan deals in place for the upcoming season. There were some regular faces such as Mason Greenwood, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Jesse Lingard, who featured heavily.

United beat Derby in the opening pre season game and were thrashed 4-2 by QPR. In this game it was clear to see that the Championship side were miles ahead in terms of fitness. With some returning faces, United were then held by newly-promoted Brentford at Old Trafford. The Reds came out victorious in their final pre season game against Everton. Goals from Bruno Fernandes, Harry Maguire, Diogo Dalot and Greenwood saw off the Merseyside club.

Leeds on the other hand had a very poor pre season. Defeats to Fleetwood, Real Betis and Ajax capped off a miserable pre season. The Whites also drew to Blackburn Rovers and Villareal with their only win coming against Guiseley. However, pre season is all about fitness and Leeds are known as the “fitness kings”. Bielsa will tell his players to continue with their intense pressing, as they will look to exploit any fatigue from the team in Red.

Team News:

Jadon Sancho has been in training since Monday, but it is unlikely that he starts this game. The 21-year-old attacker will likely take a place on the bench for Saturday’s league encounter. New signing Raphael Varane is yet to be unveiled as a United player and is not expected to feature. Therefore, Victor Lindelöf will likely partner skipper Harry Maguire in defence.

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa told reporters on Thursday that Diego Llorente will not make the trip to Old Trafford. The defender came off with an injury against Real Betis in pre season. Questions remain over the fitness of Kalvin Phillips, who was given extra holiday after his Euro 2020 involvement. Apart from this, Leeds have no new injury concerns.

Predicted Lineups-

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelöf, Maguire, Shaw; Matic, van de Beek; Greenwood, Fernandes, Pogba; Martial

Leeds United (4-5-1): Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Cooper, Firpo; Raphinha, Dallas, Rodrigo, Phillips, Harrison; Bamford

Leeds to cause a shock?

This game has the potential to cause some major surprises. Last year Crystal Palace took advantage of United’s lack of fitness and Leeds could easily replicate this. Bielsa’s men will look to press United at all times and this will leave them vulnerable on the break. There would be no surprises if Leeds got the first goal of this game through Bamford or Raphinha. However, the Reds will thrive off the returning fans and will punish Leeds on the break. Bruno Fernandes will pick up from where he left off and will make sure that the Reds get the victory they need.

Predicted Score: 2-1

Author: Rajan Sangha

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