Two Things That Stood Out in Manchester United Win Over Leeds

Manchester United beat Leeds United 2-0 in a Premier League match at Elland Road on Sunday. Following Manchester City’s victory in the other Sunday game, United remained in third place on 46 points.

Marcus Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho scored for the visitors in the 80th and 85th minutes, respectively. Now, a look at two things that stood out in the match.

Leeds United looked the more energetic and purposeful in the first half

Leeds United looked the better of the two sides from the get-go with their intense pressing and quick passing. They kept moving the ball around quickly and gave the Manchester United defenders no breathing space. Manchester United played off a low block, but that did not stop the Leeds players from winning the ball repeatedly inside the opposition half.
Manchester United started the match with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Casemiro and Raphael Varane missed the match for various reasons. Diogo Dalot started at right-back. staying inside his own half to play as the third central defender. Tyrell Malacia shifted to the central areas to play as a defensive midfielder when the visitors had possession.
However, Malacia was given a tough time by Crysencio Summerville down Leeds’ right flank. Summerville could also have scored the opening goal following a terrible mistake by Dalot. Instead, his shot sailed over the bar.
That was to be the only time either side came close to scoring in the first half until Bruno Fernandes failing to score from a one-on-one situation after having intercepted a pass by a Leeds United defender during the stoppage time.
Rashford, meanwhile, lacked the space to make his darting runs into the box. Furthermore, Wout Weghorst largely retained a peripheral figure. Jadon Sancho tried to get involved down the right flank, but lacked the incisiveness to breach the opposition defense.
Marcel Sabitzer gave a good account of himself with timely challenges and his ability to win the ball back. Still, Leeds had the upper hand during the first 45 minutes. Manchester United did not look like a side that could seriously challenge for the league title.

Manchester United absorbed pressure and won the match through substitutes

Leeds started the second half in a strong manner, as well. They had four attempts within the first seven minutes of it. The visitors’ defense struggled to deal with Leeds’ intensity and aggression. However, Ten Hag then decided to take off Sancho and introduce Alejandro Garnacho and also threw in Martinez in place of Malacia.

As a result, Shaw started playing at left-back, as Garnacho became the left winger. Rashford moved to centre-forward and Weghorst adopted a withdrawn role. However, Wilfried Gnonto tormented the United defense through the inside-left channel. United replaced Dalot, whose only significant contribution was to take a shot that rattled the crossbar in the second half, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Martinez and Wan-Bissaka’s introductions gave United’s defense some much-needed solidity.

In the 80th minute, Sabitzer, who was very impressive throughout the match, played a ball across the pitch to an overlapping Shaw. The English international brought the ball under control with a great first touch. He then played a cross to Rashford inside the box as the latter scored his 21st goal of the season with a perfectly splayed header.

A few minutes later, Fred won a ball near the half-line before playing it to Weghorst. The Dutchman’s one touch pass found an onrushing Garnacho in the left. The Argentine winger ran into the box to finish with his right foot and ensure the visitors’ victory. Manchester United then succeeded in putting the ball into the net in two more times, but the flag was raised for offside on both occasions.

In the end, the score line probably flattered Manchester United, but Erik ten Hag’s side will accept it happily.

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