Match preview: Leeds v United
Manchester United travel to Elland Road in the Premier League for the first time in 18 years on Sunday.
Our top-flight rivalry with Leeds United was renewed in December, as we triumphed 6-2 at Old Trafford, and a similar performance would be welcomed in the latest instalment of the cross-Pennines clash.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side recorded a fifth straight Premier League win last Sunday, while Marcelo Bielsa’s side are unbeaten in their last five, so something will have to give at the weekend.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the game…
HOW CAN I FOLLOW THE MATCH?
The game gets underway at 14:00 BST on Sunday and will be broadcast live in the UK via Sky Sports. You can also follow the action via ManUtd.com and our Official App, where you’ll be able to enjoy live, in-game data through our Match Centre. MUTV will also be providing build-up, live radio commentary and post-match reaction, and will show full reruns of the 90 minutes from the following day.
Eric Bailly could once again be available for the Reds. The Ivorian has missed out on each of our last five games after testing positive for COVID-19, but returned to training earlier this week. Anthony Martial and Phil Jones are still expected to be absent with knee injuries.
Leeds will definitely be without captain Liam Cooper, who is serving the second of a three-match suspension for the red card he was shown in the recent win over Manchester City. Forwards Raphinha and Rodrigo sat out the 1-1 draw with Liverpool and are still being assessed ahead of the weekend’s fixture.
We are the Premier League's most in-form at the moment, having won our last five games in succession, against Manchester City, West Ham United, Brighton & Hove Albion, Tottenham Hotspur and Burnley. The Reds are also unbeaten in 23 top-flight away matches, since a defeat to Liverpool in January 2020, and are chasing down Arsenal’s all-time record of 27, set between 2003 and 2004. There is also the prospect of joining the Gunners and Preston North End as the only clubs to complete a whole campaign without defeat on the road, if we can get through Sunday’s game, plus upcoming trips to Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers, unscathed.
Meanwhile, Leeds have enjoyed their first season back in the top flight, having been comfortably ensconced in mid table for much of this term. The Whites will come into the game with plenty of confidence: they secured a memorable victory over Manchester City recently, as well as credible draws with top-four chasing Chelsea and Liverpool.
Leeds v United is one of the fiercest rivalries in English football, although this is the first iteration of this particular top-flight fixture for a generation. Our last league visit to Elland Road came in October 2003, when a late Roy Keane goal gave us all three points, although two League Cup visits – both Reds victories – have come since. Our top-flight record in LS11 is largely positive, with 22 wins from 52 games (the remaining 30 matches are split 50/50 between draws and Leeds successes).
ONES TO WATCH
Leeds have won plaudits from neutrals this season for their attacking, possession-based style of football, with the Whites enjoying the fourth-highest share of the ball in the division. Key to this is midfield metronome Kalvin Phillips, who has established himself as an England regular since making his debut for the Three Lions in September. Forward Patrick Bamford has also shone, with Harry Kane the only Englishman to score more top-flight goals this season. Luke Ayling is a buccaneering right-back who ranks highly in both the passing and tackling charts, while on-loan Manchester City winger Jack Harrison has weighed in with some crucial goals and assists in recent months.
Bielsa is one of the most widely respected coaches in the modern game. Credited as an early adopter of many of the game’s key 21st-century developments, such as high pressing and heavy use of video analysis, the former Argentina boss managed Athletic Bilbao when they defeated United in the 2011/12 Europa League, eventually making it all the way to the final. Leeds are the 10th different club the 65-year-old has taken charge of and, in his three years at Elland Road, he has become a hero in West Yorkshire, guiding the Whites back to the Premier League last summer after 16 seasons away.
Referee: Craig Pawson
Assistants: Ian Hussin, Harry Lennard
Fourth official: Lee Mason
VAR: Mike Dean
Assistant VAR: Peter Kirkup
There are only eight league fixtures this weekend due to the Carabao Cup final, which takes place on Sunday.
FRIDAY 23 APRIL
Arsenal v Everton (20:00 BST)
SATURDAY 24 APRIL
Liverpool v Newcastle United (12:30 BST)
West Ham United v Chelsea (17:30 BST)
Sheffield United v Brighton & Hove Albion (20:00 BST)
SUNDAY 25 APRIL
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Burnley (12:00 BST)
Leeds United v UNITED (14:00 BST)
Aston Villa v West Bromwich Albion (19:00 BST)
MONDAY 26 APRIL
Leicester City v Crystal Palace (20:00 BST)