Leeds host Man Utd at Elland Road on Sunday afternoon in the Premier League. This match brings a heated rivalry and this fixture had no supporters last season. The hosts have lost six of their last nine matches and look like genuine relegation contenders. Man Utd’s performance levels have been below par but they have lost just once in 11 league matches since Ralf Rangnick arrived.
Bielsa’s side sit six points clear off the dreaded drop zone after a poor campaign. They average 2.0 goals conceded per match and have only netted 27 times, largely due to Patrick Bamford’s injury problems. Their last eight matches in all competitions have seen four defeats.
After a three-match losing run n the league, they picked up huge consecutive wins – 3-1 v Burnley and 3-2 at West Ham. A 1-0 home loss to Newcastle followed in a poor display before a crazy 3-3 draw at Aston Villa where they trailed 3-1 at one stage. Their most recent match was a terrible all-round performance to lose 3-0 at Everton. The Toffees played at a much higher tempo than Leeds and were the better team throughout.
Leeds Team News
Leeds continue to struggle with an injury crisis. Patrick Bamford is absent up front and none of the replacements has done particularly well. Dan James has scored a couple of recent goals as a striker so could get the nod in that role. Liam Cooper is still missing at centre back and so is Kalvin Phillips in central midfield.
Junior Firpo is nearing a return at left-back after injury but Stuart Dallas went off injured against Everton, a major blow.
Motivation for this match will be huge. The rivalry and the crowd noise will get Leeds playing at a very fast tempo. They will go for the win to ease their relegation troubles. At no stage are Leeds expected to settle for a draw in this one.
Man Utd Form
United are proving very hard to beat right now. They’ve lost one of 11 league matches under Rangnick – a 1-0 home defeat to Wolves – and have lost two of 17 in all competitions since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked.
Since that defeat to Wolves, the Red Devils are six unbeaten in the league. Three of those matches saw draws after leading (2-2 vs Aston Villa and 1-1 vs Burnley and Southampton). The side won 3-1 at Burnley despite conceding more than 2.0 xG and beat West Ham 1-0 in the 93rd minute. Their last match brought a 2-0 win against Brighton but the side were outplayed in the first half. A Ronaldo stunner and then a Seagulls red card three minutes later proved key.
Man Utd Team News
United could once again be without Nemanja Matic, Eric Bailly and Edinson Cavani due to injuries. There is a question mark of Raphael Varane after he missed the Brighton match due to illness. He could be on the bench as Victor Lindelof performed well.
Marcus Rashford is pushing for a recall but Anthony Elanga did well in the last match and could keep his place. With Fred back from illness, Rangnick now has options in midfield. Paul Pogba should start so it’ll be one of Fred or Scott McTominay.
Man Utd Motivation
Nothing less than a win will do. Wolves, Arsenal and West Ham have winnable matches so a Man Utd slip up could open the door to the top four for those rivals.
Rangnick’s side have been quite conservative, not pressing much high up the pitch. They will pick and choose their moments in this match.
Leeds have won 1 of 16 in the PL vs Man Utd (L10, D5)
Leeds have lost 4 of their last 8 matches (all comps)
Leeds are averaging 2.0 goals conceded per match
Leeds have lost 11-3 on aggregate across their last 3 PL matches vs MU (6-2, 0-0, 5-1)
Man Utd have drawn 4 of their last 7 matches (all comps)
Man Utd are 6 PL matches unbeaten (W3, D3)
Bruno Fernandes has scored 5 goals in 3 matches vs Leeds
Man Utd have scored in 14 consecutive PL matches
Man Utd should win this match due to Leeds’ poor defence and form struggles. Both sides should score and there could be goals in this game.
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