Manchester United v Leeds United Premier League Saturday 14th August 2021

This was the 1st game of both of these teams seasons and it was the 1st Saturday with capacity crowds for 19 months, as well as being the first Saturday of the new Premier League season.

Man United have made two signings so far this summer:  Jadon Sancho from Dortmund who started on the bench and Raphael Varane from Real Madrid who was anno8nced on the pitch just before kickoff.  Leeds haven’t really made any signings apart from one whos a defender.

It was in front of a crowd of just over 72,000 so could Manchester United start the season with a bang and to lay a marker down for the rest of the season, and could Leeds show that last season wasn’t a fluke?

It was played at Old Trafford

After 2 minutes,  Struijk’s header went straight to McTominay whose shot was blocked by Cooper.  A minute later, Leeds gave the ball again and Fernnades had a shot blocked and out for a corner which came to nothing.

After 6 minutes, Fernandes’flick sliced Leeds open in the middle and Greenwood shot from 30 yards out but he scuffed it with his left foot.

Two minutes later, Klich was slotted in by Raphinha who stood the ball up into thr middle but Mctominay headed clear for a corner which came to nothing.

After 11 minutes, Raphinha played a poor ball back towards Struijk, it wwas charged down and blcoked by Greenwood and it looked like it may loop over Meslier, but Meslier made a superb reflex save to turn it behind for a corner. Then a minute later, a massive Man United chance, as  they won the ball back and swarmed forward in numbers, Pogba was set free on goal down the elft wing and only had Meslier to beat. He stepped over, sat Meslier down and lifted the ball toiwards goal and half the crowd thought it was in, but it drifted just wide.

After a quarter of a hour, Raphinha was released into acres of space down the right, he drilled a teasing ball intot he middle towards Bamford but Lindelof intervened.

A minute later, Klich worked a yard, cut onto his favoured right foot before shooting low with a curled effort  which De Gea had to save.

After 20 minutes, Greenwood played ball to Jmaes who couldn’t sort his feet out and he cut the ball back into 6 yard box which was cleared to safety.

Just after the midway point of the first half,  there was a big chance for Leeds as Raphinha’s freekick was crossed in from the left and Rodrigo headed just wide of the post, and also Fernades clipped a a cross in which wa sinches away from Greenwood.

1st Manchester United goal

Just after the half hour, Man United had liftoff in the Premier League with their first goal and Pogba floated a brilliant ball over the Leeds defence which Fernandes brought down with a superb first touch, Meslier came off his lione again and Fernandes produced a clinical finish through Meslier’s legs, Man Unite deservedly ahead as they had been on top.

A couple of minutes later, Fernandes flick invited Shaw forward and he had a venomous near psot dirve similar to the one in the Euro final but this one went just the wrong side of the post.

After 36 minutes, Fernandes and Greenwood burst into the Leeds defensive third, Shaw then got the ball before shifting it to James who thundered a shot towards the near psot, but it went over the bar.

Two minutes later, Bamford nearly latched onto Raphinha’s pass but Lindelof intercepted.

Then, three minutes later, Fernandes show from outside area deflected wide.

There were two more Man United chances before halftime as Greenwood sent a cross to the back post and McTomiany rose to meet it and sent it wide after 42 minutes, then the last chance came a minute before halftie as James worked it well on the edge of the are but he shot straight at Meslier.

Halftime score:  Manchester United 1-0 Leeds United

It was a good half for Man United as they got the goal, they maybe could have been further in front, but Leeds had moments too, what would the 2nd half bring?

Leeds equaliser

Three minutes into the 2nd half and Leeds were elvel thanks to a rocket from Ayling as Klich rolled the ball into Ayling’s path who unleashed an increidble shot into the corner from 25 yards out.

2nd Man. United goal

Four minutes later, Man United were back in front as they were at their counter-attacking best as Pogba played an inch-perfect pass behind Struijk which Greenwood latche don with a great first touch, and he drilled a clinical low effort across Meslier and in off the post.

3rd Man. United goal

Two minutes later, United took control of this game as again Pogba created it as he released Fernandes in space down the left, he cut it back onto his left foot and fired a shot through bodies, Ayling looked to have cleared it of the line, but the goal-line technology said goal, could Leeds recover from this?

4th Man. United goal

On the hour mark, Man United made it four and a hat-trick for Fernandes as he latched onto Lindelof’s precise pass and smashed a 1st time shot on the boucne into the roof of the net, VAR had a look for offisde but the goal stood, Leeds had to be careful this didn’t get too embarassing.

5th Man. United goal

With just under 20 minutes remaining, Man United made it five as Pogba assisted his 4th goal as he crossed the ball and Fred stroked it home and this was getting embarassing for Leeds. You know it’s a bad game for you when you play Man United and even Fred scores, because he doesn’t score at all really.

With 15 minutes rmeaining, it was nearly six as Greenwood shot wide from ana gle.

After 80 minutes, Costa shot well over for Leeds.

Five minutes later, Raphinha had a chance for a consolation but he slammed a shot wide with the goal at his mercy.

Fulltime score:  Manchester United 5-1 Leeds United

So the perfect start for Man United, five excellent goals, Pogba and Fernandes on fire and an all round good performance from Man United, can they make a proper title challenge? Too early to say but they’ve made a great start.  For Leeds, it’s the 2nd time they’ve been thrashed handsomely  at Old Trafford, but I don’t think they should have too much to worry about, they just came up agaisnt a opponent on the top of their game.

Highlights of this game are at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWH-bjW0iI4

Next up for Man United is their 1st away game of the season at Southampton on Sunday 22nd August 2pm kickoff, whereas for Leeds they have their 1st home game of the season at a packed Elland Road against Everton on Saturday 21st August 3pm kickoff.

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