With the likes of Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur dropping points in their respective games in gameweek 14, it allows Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United to make full use out of this advantage should they beat rivals Leeds United. Marcelo Bielsa’s men have proven to be an exciting and thrilling team so far this season, as his side play with pure energy and incredible intensity.
Looking at the match as a whole, the visitors had unsurprisingly dominated 60% possession of the ball but had only went onto to create three big chances and complete three shots on target. On the other hand, the Red Devils proceeded forward with 26 shots, 14 shots on target and seven big chances being created, something that hasn’t happened at Old Trafford for a really long time.
Manchester United started the match off in quick fashion, catching the Leeds United midfield high up the pitch and scoring twice through Scott McTominay in the first few minutes of the games. The hosts continued to pile on the misery, with a well-taken goal from Bruno Fernandes in the penalty box and a headed attempt from Victor Lindelof in the 37th minute of the match. Even after being down by four goals, Leeds continued to attack and attack in their usual manner, which rewarded them with a late consolation goal by Liam Cooper just before the half-time break.
The second half consisted of the same intensity and creativity that was seen by both sides in the first half, however, a number of chances were missed by the two teams. Nevertheless, Daniel James scored the side’s fifth goal of the evening in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper, before Bruno Fernandes added another goal from the penalty spot at the 70th minute mark. The Whites were able to get a goal back through Stuart Dallas, but a comeback was impossible for Bielsa’s men.
Overall, with Manchester United thrashing Leeds United, it allows the team to move into third place and with a game in hand. Meanwhile, for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, they continue to remain in 14th place, seven points above the relegation zone and with a goal difference of minus six.
Here are the three things we learnt from United’s latest league game…
Manchester United’s home form has finally been turned around
The Red Devils have had issues time and time again at Old Trafford this season, where they have conceded cheap goals, failed to control the match for majority of the game and had problems with not taking their chances. However, it looks like the side are starting to turn a new page with their home, as they managed to raise the bar of their energy, intensity and urgency on and off the ball.
Following the side’s huge victory over Leeds United, the team’s results at home in the league so far this season are as followed; two wins, two draws and three losses. In order for Solskjaer and his men to put forward a potential race for the league title, they will have to keep the consistency up in the energy levels, the performances and most importantly, the results at home, as they did so today.
Scott McTominay came to Old Trafford with his shooting boots on
With Kalvin Phillips expected to mark Bruno Fernandes very closely in the early moments of the game, the instructions looked quite clear from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, for both Fred and Scott McTominay to be high up the pitch to help the team attack effectively. On that note, the Scottish international made some good late runs into the penalty box, which was rewarded in full, as he went on to become the first player in Premier League history to score two goals in first three minutes.
When growing up as a teenager, McTominay used to play as a striker before he became a central midfielder, which should not been seen as a surprise as he took both of his goals with excellent composure. Along with his goals, he provided the much needed presence on both sides of the pitch, especially with the team proving to have a leaky defence and not enough numbers in the final third.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got it spot on with his setup and line-up selection
A lot of questions were raised by the Manchester United supporters on social media ahead of the match, in relation to Daniel James starting, Donny van de Beek and Paul Pogba on the bench as well as what formation would be used against Leeds United. However, any doubts or overthinking of the manager’s setup and line-up selection were forgotten by the half-time break, as the Red Devils had a 4-1 lead over the Whites, leaving the visitors with absolutely no chance of making a comeback.
Along with having the setup and the line-up selection spot on, it does seem like Solskjaer’s pre-match talk with the team made a huge difference, as many individuals barring the English players in the first XI would not know about the rivalry between Manchester United and Leeds United. If the manager and the players can build on from this performance and result, it can allow the side to confidently finish in the top four positions, or even go on to putting on a potential title challenge.