Preview: Manchester United vs. Leeds United

Manchester United will endeavour to stretch their winning run at Old Trafford to 14 games in all tournaments when they face managerless Leeds United – in the first of two meetings in the space of a week – in Wednesday’s Premier League battle at Old Trafford.

Erik ten Hag’s 10 men saw off Crystal Palace 2-1 at the weekend, while the Whites’ relegation fears deepened following a 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest.

Match preview

Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes celebrates scoring against Crystal Palace on February 4, 2023

Being forced to navigate the final 20 minutes of their clash with Crystal Palace with 10 men was not what the doctor ordered for Man United, especially when the player sent for an early bath was one-man midfield screen Casemiro after he inexcusably grabbed Will Hughes round the neck with two hands.

However, the Red Devils had already put themselves two goals to the good by that point through Bruno Fernandes’s penalty and Marcus Rashford’s 10th Premier League goal of the season, and the hosts held on despite Jeffrey Schlupp’s looping consolation.

Those early-season defeats to Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion now feel like an eternity ago for Erik ten Hag’s men, who are in the driving seat for Champions League football as they sit comfortably in third place in the Premier League table, and Manchester City are now just three points clear of their local adversaries following their defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

A fourth successive win in all competitions only helps further build up a head of steam for Man United ahead of their double-legged Europa League tie with Barcelona and EFL Cup final versus Newcastle United later this month, and each of the Red Devils’ last 13 home games has ended in victory.

Ten Hag’s prolific charges have found the back of the net at least twice in 12 of those contests – the exception being a 1-0 win over West Ham United in October – and a tally of six league goals conceded at Old Trafford is the joint-best home defensive record in the league alongside Newcastle.

Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch pictured on October 23, 2022

Fiery past contests between Man United and Leeds from years gone by have been firmly consigned to history for those in white, whose brief three-game unbeaten run in all tournaments came to a bitter end against Forest last time out.

The in-form Brennan Johnson struck a sublime 14th-minute volley to settle the match, and despite their best efforts, Leeds could not find a way through inspired Forest debutant Keylor Navas, further extending their miserable winless run in the Premier League.

Now without victory in seven top-flight games since their thrilling 4-3 success over Bournemouth on November 5, Jesse Marsch’s brief time at the helm was brought to an end earlier this week, and Michael Skubala takes temporary charge with the Whites sat 17th in the rankings.

Furthermore, seven of Leeds’ last nine away matches in the Premier League have ended in defeat, and their record against teams in the podium spots is not a pretty sight, as they have drawn one and lost seven of their last eight Premier League encounters against sides starting the matchday in the top three.

Man United have taken 10 points from 12 on offer against Leeds since the Whites earned promotion back to the top flight in 2020 – winning 6-2 and 5-1 at Old Trafford in that time – while their most recent showdown also ended with a glut of goals being scored in a 4-2 Red Devils success at Elland Road in February.

Team News

Manchester United's Casemiro is shown a red card by referee Andre Marriner on February 4, 2023

Casemiro was seen putting his hands on Hughes’s throat during a mass brawl between Man United and Palace’s players – sparked by a late Schlupp challenge on Antony – and the Brazilian will serve the first of a three-game ban here.

With Scott McTominay still building up his fitness, a full debut should come the way of Marcel Sabitzer after the Bayern Munich loanee came off the bench on Saturday, while Eagles loanee Jack Butland is eligible to feature once again.

Antony, Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek and Christian Eriksen are also sidelined for the hosts, who now have Diogo Dalot back in contention, and the fresh-legged Portuguese will push to return over Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Charges of attempted rape, engaging in coercive and controlling behaviour and assault occasioning actual bodily harm against forward Mason Greenwood were recently dropped, but the Red Devils are conducting their own internal review before deciding the 21-year-old’s future with the club.

As for Leeds, Robin Koch will return from a ban of his own for the trip to Old Trafford, but Archie Gray, Rodrigo, Stuart Dallas, Sonny Perkins and Adam Forshaw all remain in the infirmary.

On a brighter note, Crysencio Summerville was fit enough for a substitute cameo at the City Ground and may be considered for a recall as Skubala refreshes the Whites attack, with Brenden Aaronson and record signing Georginio Rutter also knocking on the door.

An off day for Marc Roca against Nottingham Forest will also benefit Weston McKennie’s chances of coming in for his first start since joining on loan from Juventus.

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Sabitzer, Fred; Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford; Weghorst

Leeds United possible starting lineup:
Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Cooper, Wober; Adams, McKennie; Sinisterra, Aaronson, Gnonto; Rutter

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