Manchester United Vs Leeds United Premier League Football Match 2023
By Ben Knapton, Senior Reporter | 4mo Only four days after playing out a pulsating 2-2 draw at Old Trafford, Leeds United and Manchester United renew hostilities at Elland Road in the Premier League. Wednesday’s four-goal draw left the Red Devils third in the table on 43 points, while their managerless hosts rose above West Ham United into 16th place. Becoming only the second player in history to score a first-minute Premier League goal against Man United at Old Trafford, Leeds’ effervescent starlet Wilfried Gnonto could hardly have given Michael Skubala a more unbelievable start to life in the hotseat.
A penny for Jesse Marsch’s thoughts as Leeds went 2-0 up just after the break courtesy of Raphael Varane’s own goal, but Man United’s never-say-die attitude soon came to the fore, as Marcus Rashford and the returning Jadon Sancho forced a share of the spoils. While Leeds continue to search for Marsch’s permanent successor, the Elland Road faithful will enjoy the new manager bounce while it lasts under Skubala, who would have been disappointed to leave the Theatre of Dreams with just one point in the bag rather than three. Still mired in relegation danger, the hosts’ draw in midweek was enough to see them jump up a place to 16th, but only one point is separating them from 18th-placed Everton, who enjoyed their own dose of the new-manager bounce effect under Sean Dyche against Arsenal last weekend.
There were positives in abundance to take away from Wednesday’s game, but the Whites are now winless in eight successive Premier League matches, and they conceded at least twice in four consecutive games at Elland Road prior to holding Brentford to a goalless draw on January 22. Without their first-choice midfield pairing of Casemiro and Christian Eriksen due to suspension and injury respectively, Man United’s start on Wednesday was nothing short of disastrous, while Erik ten Hag also made the questionable decision to deploy Rashford on the right-hand side. However, a tactical tweak paid dividends after the break, and Sancho marked his first Premier League appearance since October with a calm and collected finish to level proceedings, in what Red Devils fans will hope is the catalyst for better fortunes for the ex-Borussia Dortmund man.
Man United missed the chance to go level on points with Manchester City on Wednesday night, and while they remain in a podium position, Newcastle United are just three points worse off with a game in hand as Ten Hag’s side experience a sticky patch of top-flight form. Indeed, the Red Devils now just have one win to boast from their last four in the Premier League – during which they have failed to beat Crystal Palace and Arsenal on the road – and it is now five league games without a clean sheet for Ten Hag’s crop. Thoughts of Barcelona in the Europa League may also be playing on the minds of the Red Devils, who bested Leeds 4-2 at Elland Road back in February, and there have been a whopping 24 goals scored in five Premier League games between Leeds and Man United since the Whites returned to the big time in 2020.
Leeds’ point at Old Trafford came at quite the cost, as Luis Sinisterra trudged off with a hamstring strain just eight minutes in, while Pascal Struijk felt the full force of a Rashford effort and was withdrawn as a concussion substitution. The severity of Sinisterra’s issue is still unclear, but concussion protocols will render Struijk unavailable – Junior Firpo should come in at left-back as a result, while Crysencio Summerville can feel confident of taking Sinisterra’s place in the final third. Stuart Dallas, Rodrigo, Archie Gray and Adam Forshaw also remain sidelined for the hosts, while Liam Cooper and Marc Roca will need once-overs in training, so Weston McKennie can expect a second successive Premier League start if the latter misses out here. In contrast, Man United came through the midweek stalemate unscathed, but Casemiro is serving the second of a three-game ban and remains out alongside Eriksen, Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay and the luckless Anthony Martial, who is now dealing with a fresh hip problem.
Antony (leg) and Aaron Wan-Bissaka (illness) were both absent from Wednesday’s game and remain doubts for this one too, and the former missing out again would only increase Sancho’s chances of coming in for a first Premier League start since October 22. Wout Weghorst is yet to set the world alight since joining Man United on loan in January and came off after just 59 minutes on Wednesday, but the Dutchman’s spot should be safe for the time being.
Part two of the Leeds vs. Man Utd saga takes place just four days after they met in the Premier League at Old Trafford in a brilliant 2-2 draw. The four-day gap between the Old Trafford/Elland Road double-header isn’t the shortest gap between two Premier League meetings between two clubs, however. That accolade falls to Arsenal and Bolton Wanderers, who met twice in three days back in January 2010.
This is the first time Leeds have faced the same opponent in consecutive top-flight fixtures in the same season since April 1974 against Sheffield United (0-0 at home, 2-0 away), and the first time they’ve faced Manchester United in consecutive league fixtures since April 1947 (1-3 away, 0-2 home). This is the first time Man United have faced the same opponent in consecutive top-flight fixtures in the same season since December 1967 against Wolves, winning 4-0 at home and 3-2 away enroute to a second-place finish that season. Leeds lost this exact fixture 4-2 last season but haven’t lost consecutive home league games against Man Utd since October 1976. In fact, the Red Devils have scored four or more goals in three different Premier League away games against Leeds, winning 4-0 in September 1996, 4-3 in March 2002, and 4-2 last season. Only Arsenal (four times) have scored four or more goals at Elland Road as visitors in the competition more often.
In the Premier League, Leeds have had a win ratio of just 14% and a points per game average of 0.72 against Manchester United, which is lower than any other opposition that they have faced more than five times, while they have only lost more often against Liverpool (17) overall in the competition than they have against the Red Devils (16).