Manchester United vs Leeds United: Preview, Predictions, Team News, Betting Tips
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United finished runners-up to champions Man City following a gruelling 2020/21 campaign, and have since signed Jadon Sancho and Rapael Varane to add more star quality to try and bridge the gap to their noisy neighbours.
The pressure will be on Solskjaer and United to make a strong start and mount a serious title challenge - and up first are Leeds, who were one of the standout performers last season.
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds finished ninth as they offered fans and neutrals alike a thrilling, and at times chaotic, brand of high-tempo football.
Date, kick-off time and venue
|Photo: Getty Images|
Manchester United vs Leeds is scheduled for a 12:30pm BST kick-off on Saturday, August 14, 2021 at Old Trafford.
Where to watch Man Utd vs Leeds
TV channel: The match will be televised on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Ultimate.
Live stream: BT Sport subscribers will be able to watch the match online via the website or BT Sport app.
Manchester United vs Leeds United Team News
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be unable to call upon the services of star forward Marcus Rashford and Brazilian left-back Alex Telles, with both players out injured. Forward Jesse Lingard has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be available, while there are doubts over the availability of goalkeeper Dean Henderson, centre-back Eric Bailly and young attacker Amad Diallo.
Veteran Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani will not feature after taking an extended holiday following his Copa America 2021 exploits.
Injured: Alex Telles, Marcus Rashford
Doubtful: Dean Henderson, Eric Bailly, Amad Diallo, Phil Jones
Not available: Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard
Meanwhile, Leeds United could be without Spanish centre-back Diego Llorente, left-back Junior Firpo and young midfielder Jamie Shackleton. Other than that there are no known issues and manager Marcelo Bielsa is expected to have a fully fit squad at his disposal.
Doubtful: Jamie Shackleton, Junior Firpo, Diego Llorente
|Photo: Getty Images|
Man United will be expected to challenge for this season's Premier League title, with the club again making progress under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last term, claiming second spot, 12 points behind the champions Man City.
Statement signings in the shape of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane have arrived, and the Red Devils will be looking to put down a marker in the early stages of the campaign. Indeed, the 20-time English champions will not face a genuine top-four rival in the league until they travel to Leicester City in the middle of October.
There are no easy games at this level of football, but Solskjaer will be expecting his side to pick up some serious points in the opening weeks and that will surely have to be the case if they are to genuinely challenge Man City for the title, with the Citizens likely to be the team to beat once again.
The team's pre-season has been interrupted by late returns from international duty and coronavirus issues, but they managed to play four friendlies and put in a strong performance against Everton last Saturday, as Mason Greenwood, Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot scored in a 4-0 win.
Man United finished last season without any silverware, but they made the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, semi-finals of the EFL Cup and final of the Europa League, and Solskjaer will be desperate to take the final step in 2021-22, with the Norwegian certainly being backed in the transfer market this summer.
Leeds, meanwhile, finished ninth in the Premier League last season on their return to the top flight, and it would be fair to say that they provided plenty of entertainment along the way.
The Whites finished just two points behind eighth-place Arsenal and three points behind seventh-place Tottenham Hotspur, who secured a spot in the Europa Conference League; Bielsa's side were only six points off the Europa League positions, meanwhile, which is so impressive for a promoted team.
The team's form in the latter stages of the 2020-21 campaign was also excellent, as they lost just one of their last 11 matches and won their final four to rise into the top half, and expectations will be high this term, certainly for the club's supporters, which will bring new pressure this term.
Leeds have signed both Junior Firpo and Kristoffer Klaesson this summer, while Jack Harrison has made a permanent move to Elland Road from Man City; more new signings are expected before the end of the window, but there has not been too much change over the last couple of months.
In terms of pre-season, the Whites have played six times, recording one win, two draws and three defeats, and they will enter this weekend's contest off the back of a 2-2 draw with Villarreal; the results have been far from impressive, but not too much can be read into a team's pre-season.
Manchester United vs Leeds United Prediction
Manchester United fans are in a good mood these days, with the club having signed the talented Jadon Sancho and French centre-back Raphael Varane. Acquiring a defensive midfielder would constitute an excellent window for the club.
Leeds United, on the other hand, have been quiet so far, having only signed Spanish left-back Junior Firpo from Barcelona to replace Ezgjan Alioski. Brazilian winger Raphinha was linked with moves to Liverpool and Manchester United a few months ago, but those rumours have since died down.
It seems unlikely that Manchester United will start Sancho or Varane. Leeds United made quite the impression last season, and manager Marcelo Bielsa will hope to build on that. The Red Devils should win here, but it will certainly not be easy.
Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Leeds United
In 109 encounters between the two sides, Manchester United hold the clear advantage. They have won 47 games, lost 26 and drawn 36.
The two clubs last faced each other earlier this year in the English Premier League, with the game ending in a 0-0 draw.
Manchester United form guide in the English Premier League: yet to play
Leeds United form guide in the English Premier League: yet to play
Red Devils to show superiority
Manchester United will be relishing the task of facing Leeds in front of a full stadium on Saturday and the Red Devils are sure to be looking for a repeat of last season’s home display against the Whites.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side were comfortably beaten at Old Trafford in December, and despite looking good going forward, they looked too open at times throughout the season.
Leeds kicked off their return to the Premier League in 2020 with a 4-3 defeat against reigning champions Liverpool, and we expect them to have a go once more in this opening-day clash.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have a number of options going forward for the new campaign and Mason Greenwood will be looking to step up in Marcus Rashford’s absence in the first two months.
Only six teams conceded more than Leeds last season and defensive issues were often forgiven because of their ability to score goals.
In this fixture, however, Manchester United should be too strong and players such as Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba may be given too much licence to create throughout the clash.
Tip: Man Utd to win and both teams to score @ 2/1 with Sky Bet
Maguire to pose aerial threat
One man who is a massive asset to Manchester United is centre-back Harry Maguire who is expected to start against Leeds on Saturday.
He is a brick wall when it comes to defending and his leadership qualities are unmatched, something he showed throughout his successful Euro 2020 tournament with England in the summer.
He’s obviously in the team to defend but his aerial presence at the other end of the pitch cannot be dismissed as he is a constant threat with his height and heading ability.
In the Euros he scored against Ukraine in the quarter-final clash while also having shots on target in both the round-of-16 meeting with Germany and the semi-final against Denmark.
Last season in the Premier League, Maguire averaged 1.1 shots per game, and he will be keen on his chances of having chances against a Leeds side who are vulnerable from set-piece situations.
The Whites conceded 15 goals from set pieces in the Premier League last season, the most out of any side, and we’re backing Maguire to show his strength in these situations and have a shot on target.
Tip: Harry Maguire 1+ shot on target @ 2/1 with Sky Bet
Portuguese star to shine once more
Bruno Fernandes is arguably Manchester United’s most important player, having scored 18 times in the Premier League last season and averaged 3.3 shots per game as he stole the show for a Red Devils team who began to show more consistency than in previous campaigns.
In this fixture last season he scored twice and showed his quality throughout the performance and he will now be looking to put on a show for the supporters in the stadium.
Fernandes takes free-kicks and penalties for United, which only enhances his chances of scoring in a match, and we’re backing him to get his season under way with another strike in United’s colours.
Tip: Bruno Fernandes to score anytime @ 11/10 with Sky Bet
Man Utd vs Leeds odds
Man Utd are 8/15 to win on Saturday, with Leeds 19/4 and the draw priced at 10/3.
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