Who's in your United XI to face Leeds?

Wednesday 11 August 2021 12:00

The conversation around Manchester United’s first line-up of the season is only growing as the countdown to our Premier League opener against Leeds on Saturday (14 August) continues.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have a variety of options to chose from with cases for a range of different XIs being made by pundits and fans alike over recent days. 

The boss could opt to keep the same line-up that started the 4-0 win over Everton in our final pre-season friendly on Saturday or he could choose to integrate several Reds into that team that have more recently returned from later holidays, having represented their nations over the summer, such as Fred and Paul Pogba who both appeared from the bench in the weekend’s victory. 

Jadon Sancho could make his United debut having trained for the first time as a Red on Monday, while prospective new signing Raphael Varane and the imminently returning Edinson Cavani could also be options for Solskjaer.

Sancho is greeted by Solskjaer at training Video

Sancho is greeted by Solskjaer at training

United fans around the world, the wait is finally over: Jadon is officially training with the Reds…

With plenty of choices to be made, who better to ask for their starting XIs than The Debate panel of former Reds? MUTV’s Stewart Gardner posed the question to the quartet in the latest episode that dropped on Monday evening, and here is what they went for…

Ben Thornley: Matic deserves to start 

“Mine is exactly the same back five we saw on Saturday so David de Gea, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, [Victor] Lindelof, because I do think it is going to be too soon for [Raphael] Varane, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw. Then, I’m actually going to stick with Nemanja Matic because I think he’s been excellent, Scott McTominay I’m going to throw in there as well, with Bruno [Fernandes] just ahead. Then from right to left I’m going Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba. I think we’d all love to say we could put Varane, [Jadon] Sancho and Edinson Cavani coming straight back into the starting line-up but realistically I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think the manager would rather those players get some minutes under their belts, and I think he’ll look at the opposition, we know they’re high octane Leeds, they’re never going to change the way they play, they’ll be right up for it and I just think it’s a real tough game to be introducing players that haven’t had any minutes yet.”

Ben’s starting XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire (c), Shaw; McTominay, Matic; Elanga, Fernandes, Pogba; Greenwood. 
Danny Webber: Martial leads the line in my XI

“I think you have to [bear in mind Leeds’ way of playing when picking the team]. As much as you want to go with who your normal starting XI would be if everyone was match fit. I would stick with the same back five. You can’t just throw Varane in there, that’s a baptism of fire that is. Not played in the Premier League, first game, debut versus Leeds, no. I would say Elanga won’t start, I would say Mason will play right-hand side, [Anthony] Martial through the middle and then obviously on the left-hand side you would probably have Pogba just veering out to the left-hand side with Bruno in behind [the striker]. As a front man, it’s him [Martial] or Cavani to lead the line at this moment in time. Yes, you can put Mason through the middle, I can see that possibility. But I think I’d still go with Martial. I think in midfield he’ll go McTominay and Matic. Matic can hold, McTominay can be the engine and Bruno can pick up the pockets. You’ve got to make sure that if we get chances early on, like we did against Leeds last time, we put them away because they will create chances at some point.”

Danny’s starting XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire (c), Shaw; McTominay, Matic; Greenwood, Fernandes, Pogba; Martial.

Matic sets the tone for 2021/22


Nemanja outlines his mission statement for the new season, in a big interview for Inside United magazine.

David May: I would opt against starting the new signings 

“Same as Danny, I would have Pogba on the left, it’s too big of a game for Elanga to start but I would love to see him come on. Matic and Scott in there with Bruno as a no.10 and Mason on the right. I’m sure the lads will be champing at the bit because it is Leeds, but I think it is a bit too early to throw them in at the deep end and it would be throwing them in at the deep end. You go back to when when [Patrice] Evra and Vida [Nemanja Vidic] signed, the first game was against Man City in the derby, and they struggled because of the high intensity City play and Leeds are exactly the same. I would hang fire and give it another week so they’ve got that under their belt.”

Maysie’s starting XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire (c), Shaw; McTominay, Matic; Greenwood, Fernandes, Pogba; Martial. 

Wes Brown: Sancho to play a part from the bench 

“Sorry, Ben, I’m the same as the other two lads! I think Sancho will be a sub and play a part at some point even though he will have only trained for five days. I think Matic has got himself in the side with how good he was [against Everton], he was quick at passing, passing forward. I think everyone understands what this Leeds team are going to do. They’re a decent team but they’re very physical but I don’t think he can change much more than that.”

Wes’ starting XI: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire (c), Shaw; McTominay, Matic; Greenwood, Fernandes, Pogba; Martial. 

Will Sancho start against Leeds United? Video

Will Sancho start against Leeds United?

After looking back at pre-season, the lads assess if Jadon will play against Leeds and make predictions for 2021/22…


You can have your say on the team you think Ole will pick for our league opener against the Whites on Saturday while playing the first round of this season’s United Predictions!

The game, accessed via our Official App, sees fans predict the line-up, along with the correct score, first scorer and Man of the Match ahead of each game with correct guesses earning points that boost your score across the season, to put you in with a chance of winning prizes. 

The first starting XI predictor of the 2021/22 campaign opens 24 hours before Saturday’s kick-off and will close exactly 90 minutes before the game gets under way. 

Find out more about United Predictions ahead of our season opener at the weekend, via our Official App.