Leeds v Man Utd – Preview, Predictions and Best Bets
Leeds host Man Utd at Elland Road on Sunday in what is a heated rivalry. Marcelo Bielsa’s side are having a fine season and their recent results in taking points against three of the top six shows their improvement as a team. Man Utd are outstanding on their travels and haven’t lost an away league match since January 2020. The reverse fixture was a 6-2 defeat for Bielsa and the Argentine will want to exact revenge on Solskjaer.
Leeds had a terrible start to 2021 as their first 13 matches in all competitions saw eight defeats, with six of those seeing Bielsa’s team fail to score. Leeds did also manage away wins at Newcastle and Leicester at home to Crystal Palace and Southampton in that streak.
Since then, with their season threatening to peter out, Bielsa had gotten a major reaction out of the players. A 0-0 home draw with Chelsea was followed by wins at Fulham and against Sheffield United. Leeds then won 2-1 at Man City despite having played half the match with ten men and having only two shots all game. In their last match, they came from 1-0 down to get a 1-1 home draw with Liverpool.
Leeds Team News
Leeds have two major absentees for this match. Captain Liam Cooper is suspended at centre back but Diego Llorente and Pascal Struijk did well against Liverpool. Robin Koch is also back from long-term injury so Bielsa is well stocked in that area.
Rodrigo is expected to be out injured again which reduces attacking options but Raphinha should return. He missed the draw with Liverpool with a knock but is expected to be fit to play on the right with Helder Costa dropping to the bench.
With the big rivalry against Man Utd, Leeds will be very motivated for this match. Despite being safe from relegation, they have fought very hard to get draws with Chelsea and Liverpool in recent weeks and in burgling a 2-1 win at Man City – the players are certainly not complacent or “on the beach”.
Bielsa has been a little more solid in his setup in some of the recent tough matches and could again look to stifle Man Utd and not commit as many bodies forward as usual. The approach certainly won’t be defensive, nor will they actively set up to draw the match.
Man Utd Form
Solskjaer’s team have been inconsistent in their recent performances have had lost just one of their last 20 matches in all competitions and have won their last five in a row. That sole defeat came at Leicester in the FA Cup quarter finals with league wins against Brighton, Tottenham and Burnley following that (as well as winning both legs against Granada in the Europa League).
The side have kept eight clean sheets in their last 13 matches but there three most recent Premier League wins have relied on late goals with seven of their eight strikes coming from the 57th minute onwards. Man Utd are 23 away league matches without defeat and have conceded three goals in their last nine on their travels.
Man Utd Team News
Man Utd are still without Anthony Martial in attack for this match. Edinson Cavani should play up front with Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford in wide areas. That would mean Paul Pogba dropping into a deeper midfield role and either Fred or Scott McTominay being benched.
Eric Bailly is close to a return after COVID-19 but is not expected to start anyway. Solskjaer will once again have to decide between David De Gea and Dean Henderson in goal. The latter made a couple of mistakes that nearly lead to goals against Burnley and may find himself taken out of the firing line.
Man Utd Motivation
United will certainly not settle for anything less than a win in this match. Leeds are heated historical rivals and Solskjaer knows the fans will want a victory and a few goals scored.
However, Man Utd have a short turnaround time until they host Roma in the Europa League semi final on Thursday so they may have one eye on that match.
Man Utd have lost 1 of their last 20 matches (W12, D7)
Man Utd have won 5 matches in a row
United are 21 away PL matches without defeat
Man Utd have conceded 3 goals in their last 9 away PL matches
Leeds are 5 PL matches unbeaten (W3, D2)
Leeds have kept 3 clean sheets in their last 6 home PL matches
This should be an entertaining grudge match. Leeds are playing well against the top sides and will fancy their chances of a result from this match but Man Utd are outstanding on their travels and have been scoring plenty of late goals to win matches.
Best Bet: Draw with goals at 4.45
Alternative Bet: Man Utd win and both to score at 3.00
Wildcard Bet: Leeds HT/Man Utd FT at 24.00
Anytime Goalscorer: Edinson Cavani at 2.30