2021-22 Premier League: Week One – Manchester United vs Leeds United

Manchester United welcome Leeds United to Old Trafford in the first Saturday Lunchtime kick-off of 2021-22 Premier League season. 

Utd enter this season looking to challenge for the title after finishing runners-up last season, whereas Leeds are looking to build on an impressive ninth-placed finish.

 

Team News

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Jadon Sancho could make his debut for Man Utd after joining from Borussia Dortmund in July in a £73m deal.

Eric Bailly is unlikely to be risked after only recently returning from Tokyo after representing Ivory Coast at Olympics.

Dean Henderson (fitness) is unlikely to feature as he continues to recover from a bout of Coronavirus, which caused fitness issues.

Alex Telles (ankle), Marcus Rashford (shoulder), Jesse Lingard, Phil Jones and Edinson Cavani (all fitness) are ruled out.

Leeds could hand Junior Firpo a debut after the Spaniard shook off a knock suffered during pre-season.

Diego Llorente (knee) and Adam Forshaw (hip) are ruled out.

 

Stat Attack

  • Man Utd have lost just one of their last 15 league matches against Leeds (W9, D5, L1).
  • Leeds are winless in 13 Premier League trips to Old Trafford (D4, L9).
  • Six yellow cards were handed out in this fixture last season, although Utd’s Daniel James was the only player cautioned during Utd’s 6-2 home win last season at Old Trafford.
  • Utd have lost just one of their last six opening weekend matches in a new season (W5, L1).
  • Leeds have won three of their last five opening weekend fixtures in a new season, although they have scored three goals in each of their last four opening matches.

 

Prediction

Having moved to strengthen his squad, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be keen to see his Man Utd squad make a strong start which could well be crucial to a potential title challenge given their decent opening run of fixtures compared to their rivals.

Leeds meanwhile will be as strong as ever but I do wonder whether Ezgjan Alioski’s exit will impact them on the left given his consistency at the club in the last four seasons, yet his exit offers Leeds a chance to strengthen and evolve.

On that note, I expect to see a good contest if their meeting here last season is anything to go by but Utd’s firepower looks weakened with Rashford and Cavani absent leaving Anthony Martial to lead the line alongside Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho.

The first goal consequently feels like it could be key because if Leeds score first then I can see them pushing on to get a win, although Utd need Martial to find his scoring boots ASAP after a lacklustre 2020-21 campaign so this could get scrappy and Sancho could make a winning debut if he settles quickly.

Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Leeds United

Result: Manchester United 5-1 Leeds United

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