Manchester United take on Leeds United on the opening weekend of the 2021/22 Premier League season and the whole footballing world is eagerly anticipating the resumption of this old, storied rivalry.
Manchester United and Leeds United are set to face in their opening top-flight league matches of the season for the first time since 1970-71, with Leeds winning 1-0 at Old Trafford with a goal from Mick Jones ahead of finishing runners-up in the league that season.
Leeds are winless in their last 16 league visits to Old Trafford against Manchester United (D6 L10) since a 1-0 win in February 1981, and lost 6-2 there last season. Leeds have played more Premier League matches at Old Trafford without winning than any other stadium (13).
United lost their first Premier League match last season, losing 3-1 at Old Trafford against Crystal Palace. They haven’t lost their opening top-flight match in consecutive seasons since 1972-73 and 1973-74, going on to be relegated in the latter season.
After going 14 consecutive top-flight seasons without losing their opening match between 1990-91 and 2003-04, Leeds suffered a 4-3 defeat against Liverpool last season. They last lost their first top-flight league match in consecutive seasons in 1980-81 and 1981-82.
Manchester United conceded 28 goals at home in the Premier League last season, their most at Old Trafford in a single campaign since 1962-63 (38). Indeed, Old Trafford saw more goals scored than any other stadium in the Premier League last season (66 – F38 A28), while Leeds’ away games were more prolific than any other side (67 goals – F34 A33).
Manchester United Team News
Marcus Rashford, Alex Telles and Phil Jones are all injured, while Eric Baillyand Amad Diallo are not available due to their involvement for Ivory Coast at the Tokyo Olympics.
Dean Henderson, meanwhile, is struggling with the after-effects of coronavirus, while Jesse Lingard is still in isolation, having tested positive for the virus earlier this month.
Edinson Cavani is also unavailable, as he has been given extra time off following his involvement for Uruguay at the Copa America, but Jadon Sancho could make the bench, with the England international joining up with his new teammates earlier this week.
There is a chance that Raphael Varanecould be among the substitutes if his move is completed in time, but it is difficult to imagine the Frenchman starting, so Victor Lindelof should feature alongside Harry Maguire at the back.
Nemanja Matic might get the nod in midfield due to his pre-season involvement, while Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood are in line for starting roles.
Cavani’s absence means that fit-again Anthony Martial is expected to feature through the middle, and head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be looking for a better return from the Frenchman this season.
Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay are also options for starting roles, but Fred should get the nod alongside Matic against an energetic Leeds side.
Man United possible starting lineup: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Matic, Fred; Pogba, Fernandes, Greenwood; Martial