After part one of the Leeds vs. Manchester United Premier League double-header ended in an entertaining 2-2 draw on Wednesday night, they meet again just four days later at Elland Road. We preview the match with our usual Opta prediction.
Leeds vs Manchester United: The Quick Hits
- After a 2-2 draw on Wednesday night, the Opta Supercomputer predicts a Manchester United win on Sunday.
- Bruno Fernandes was instrumental in Man Utd’s midweek comeback and he’ll be key again.
- Leeds United to lose a record-equalling 17th Premier League match versus Man Utd this weekend.
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).
Manchester United 2-2 Leeds United: 8 February 2022 (Premier League)
Part one of this Premier League double-header ended in an entertaining 2-2 draw at Old Trafford on Wednesday night. Life after Jesse Marsch couldn’t have started much better, with Leeds’ Willy Gnonto opening the scoring after just 55 seconds – the second earliest goal by an away team against Man Utd at Old Trafford in Premier League history after Edin Dzeko for Manchester City in March 2014 (43 seconds).
Coming into this game, Leeds had not won either of the two Premier League games at Old Trafford when they’d scored first (D1 L1) – it would become three games, despite them going 2-0 up thanks to a 48th-minute Raphaël Varane own goal.
Marcus Rashford scored for a sixth successive league appearance at Old Trafford to cut the lead in half on the hour mark, before Jadon Sancho equalised eight minutes later with his third Premier League goal of the season – that equals his tally from the entire 2021-22 campaign.
After losing a 2-0 lead, Leeds have now dropped 15 points from winning positions in the 2022-23 Premier League – only Leicester City (19) have dropped more. This result also meant that the Yorkshire side are winless in their last 18 away league games against Man Utd (D7 L11), equalling their longest away winless run versus an opponent (also 18 games vs. West Ham United between 1921 and 1956).
With 43 points from 22 Premier League matches so far in 2022-23, Erik ten Hag’s start as Man Utd manager has seen them collect five points more than they had at this stage last season under Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Ralf Rangnick. Two of the five Premier League defeats that United have suffered this season under Ten Hag came in their opening two matches – since gameweek three, only Arsenal (43) have won more points than Man Utd (42).
With this match taking place on a Sunday, Man Utd fans might feel nervous. They have lost six of their last 11 Premier League games on a Sunday (W4 D1), including four of nine this season. Only in 2013-14 (five) and 2018-19 (six) have the Red Devils lost more Sunday games in a single campaign in the competition.
Only in 2003-04 (when they were relegated) have Leeds collected fewer points from their first 21 games of a Premier League season (17) than they have in 2022-23 (19).
The Whites are currently on an eight-game winless run in the Premier League, having lost against Tottenham Hotspur, Man City, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest and collected draws against Man Utd, Brentford, West Ham and Newcastle United. That eight-game winless streak is the current longest in the Premier League.
Players to Watch
Leeds United: Wilfried Gnonto
Wilfried Gnonto is one of the most exciting teenagers in the Premier League, having arrived at Leeds United from FC Zürich in September.
Despite only making his home debut for the club in November, and playing just five home games, only Rodrigo (six) has scored more goals at Elland Road for Leeds in all competitions this season than Italian international Gnonto (three).
Gnonto (19y 95d) became the youngest player to score a Premier League goal against Man Utd at Old Trafford since Jermain Defoe (19y 62d) for West Ham in December 2001. In fact, Gnonto was the youngest overseas player to score an away goal versus Man Utd. A lot of Gnonto’s threat comes from his ability to carry the ball and beat opponents with his pace and guile. Despite only playing 716 minutes of Premier League action in 2022-23 for Leeds, he’s already been involved in 12 shots following a ball carry.
Manchester United: Bruno Fernandes
Bruno Fernandes could be classed as one of those footballers you either love or hate – there’s little in between. The majority of Manchester United fans understand his importance to Ten Hag’s side, with that value even higher with Christian Eriksen out injured.
The Portuguese player is the leading chance creator from open play in the Premier League this season (51) ahead of Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne (46), while he also leads the way with open play attacking sequence involvements leading to shots (145) with a match-high 11 of those coming on Wednesday evening against Leeds at Old Trafford.
Since making his Premier League debut for United on 1 February 2020, the former Sporting CP midfielder has been involved in 70 goals in 108 league apps (41 goals, 29 assists) – that tally is only fewer than Harry Kane (88), Mohamed Salah (75) and Son Heung-min (72).
Leeds vs Manchester United Prediction
The Opta Supercomputer rates Manchester United as favourites to pick up their 17th Premier League win over Leeds United on Sunday, therefore equalling Liverpool’s record-tally of wins against the Whites in the competition.
Ten Hag’s side are being given a 46.3% chance of defeating Leeds at Elland Road, which is nearly double the chance of a home win (26.8%).
You’ve seen how the Opta supercomputer thinks the match will play out this weekend, but what do you think will happen? Let us know…
Part I on Wednesday night ended in a draw, but how will Sunday’s game end?— Opta Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) February 10, 2023
Following the midweek 2-2 draw between these clubs at Old Trafford, Manchester United find themselves in third position and with an 87.9% chance of finishing in the top four and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League next season in the Opta season predictor.
Leeds, meanwhile, will look at winning a point away at Old Trafford as an unexpected bonus. However, that still leaves them only one point above the relegation zone and with a 38% chance of finishing in the bottom three at the end of 2022-23 in the Opta season predictions – lower than the current bottom three sides Everton (56.4%), Bournemouth (82.7%) and Southampton (77.5%). With a new permanent manager expected to take over soon – rumours to be Rayo Vallecano boss Andoni Iraola, who might even be in charge for this match – they’ve still got much work to do to avoid the much-dreaded drop to the Championship.