Manchester United traveled to Elland Road after 10 years to face Leeds United. The two teams last met at this venue in the third round of the English League Cup in 2011, the same fixture where Paul Pogba made his first appearance for the Red Devils. Both clubs admire the rivalry they share and were looking to get all three points in their bag. A win for Manchester United would get them closer to the league leaders Manchester City by eight points and also widen the gap between the second and the third spot in the PL table. As for Leeds, they were looking for redemption from their previous meeting, where the Whites lost 6-2 at Old Trafford in December last year.
Goalkeeper: I. Meslier
Defense: L. Ayling, D. Llorente, P. Struijk, E. Alioski
Midfield: K. Phillips, H. Costa, S. Dallas, T. Roberts, J. Harrison
Attack: P. Bamford
Goalkeeper: D. Henderson
Defense: A. Wan Bissaka, V. Lindelof, H. Maguire, L. Shaw
Midfield: S. McTominay, Fred, B. Fernandes, D. James, M. Greenwood
Attack: M. Rashford.
The first half kicked off and the first good chance came as early as in the 8th minute, when Victor Lindelof played the ball deep from his own half however, Rashford couldn’t get enough power on the shot when through on the goal. Both the teams played high pressing game in the first quarter of an hour, trying to create something to break the deadlock. Midway through the half, Leeds United appealed for a penalty for a potential handball from Luke Shaw, only to see VAR rule it out as unintentional.
Bruno Fernandes had an excellent chance to put the Red Devils ahead, only to see his free-kick sail over the crossbar in the 31st minute. Ayling received the first booking of the match when he fouled Rashford from behind in the 36th minute. Manchester United came mighty close in the 44th minute, as Rashford’s free-kick from 35 yards was superbly saved by Meslier. The first half ended at 0-0, even though the visitors created more chances, both the teams lacked sharpness and were not clinical in the final third.
The second half went underway similar to the previous half, with visitors looking to create more in Leeds United’s half. The Red Devils created the best chance of the game from open play in the 56th minute, through some crisp passing only for Bruno Fernandes to fire the shot just wide from inside the 18-yard box. Greenwood came close to scoring in the 61st minute but Meslier saved his shot. At the other end, Helder Costa saw his shot being deflected over the crossbar. Just like the previous half, both the teams created chances, only to waste them in the final third.
As the game reached the final quarter Ole Gunnar Solskjaer threw all the cards in his hand by bringing on Pogba, Cavani & Van de Beek. On the other hand, Marcelo Bielsa changed his strategy by going more defensive and trying to break on the counter. While the visitors spent most of the game in Leeds United’s half, they were unable to breach the Leeds defensive wall and get the desired result.
Even though the scoreline of the game was 0-0, Leeds United absolutely gave everything and defended really well, which makes them unbeaten in the last six PL games. Manchester United hasn’t been beaten in the PL, since the Sheffield United game at Old Trafford. This fixture’s result also means that Manchester City could win the title if they beat Crystal Palace and Manchester United lose to Liverpool next weekend. With Manchester United’s title charge almost over, the Red Devils can focus on not losing the second spot and win the Europa League.
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