Leeds United met rivals Manchester United for the first time since promotion only to be humbled by a dominant performance.
Scott McTominay shocked Marcelo Bielsa’s side with a brace just 3 minutes into the match. Bruno Fernandes and Victor Lindelof added to the deficit before Liam Cooper managed to beat David De Gea on the brink of half-time.
Despite a very admirable performance by Illan Meslier, the Red Devils managed to add 2 more goals via Fernandes and surprise inclusion Daniel James. Stuart Dallas’ long-range effort did dent United’s lead but came too late to inspire a comeback as the tie concluded with the scoreline at 6-2.
1. A Dominant Home Display, At Last
The Mancunians had suffered one of the worst starts to a campaign in decades based on their home performances this season. But it seems like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has finally started to turn that around.
Old Trafford has historically been a fortress that teams were wary of heading to but the early stages of this season showed contrasting results. Losing to Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur were two of the biggest losses at home of recent.
Nevertheless, the gaffer will hope scoring 6 goals on home turf will provide enough confidence boost to improve their form at the Theatre of Dreams.
2. Surprise Selections From Solskjaer Surprised Everybody
The United boss raised some eyebrows today with an unexpected starting XI. Mason Greenwood was omitted for Daniel James, which seemed to upset fans as the latter is not exactly the most popular player amongst them. Paul Pogba was probably the most notable drop as Fred, McTominay, and Fernandes made the midfield.
However, despite a very questionable selection of starters, Solskjaer’s decision delivered what was arguably their best performance of the season. The Brazilian and the Scotland international dominated the midfield with their physicality as the battles won there was key to the Old Trafford outfit’s triumph.
James on the other hand justified his inclusion with a good performance and a goal to top it off.
3. 17 Years Wait For THIS
The Whites had waited nearly 17 years to return to the top flight and face their fierce rivals. The fixture came with a lot of expectations and hope as the fans stayed excited to finally witness the historic rivalry in action again.
However, Solskjaer’s side thwarted those hopes away early into the first half and established a very apparent dominance. There is no doubt as to which team was more dominant today.
This also means that all this wait from the fans ended in pain as Leeds returned home having conceded a humbling 6 goals.
4. Only One Approach
Marcelo Bielsa is respected all around Europe for his attacking philosophy and adherence to his principals.
However, the Argentine seems to lack a sound plan B or even fails to come up with one even if his side are trailing. It is almost as if the veteran is too stubborn to take any other approach and hopes sticking to his philosophy will eventually bring him results. This was apparent during the loss against Liverpool as well.
If Leeds want to face top teams and fetch results, they need to tweak their approach a bit. Especially now as they are the holders of the worst defensive record in the league.
The last time 6 goals were scored by a team at Old Trafford, Spurs were humbling the hosts.
Since then, not only has the former Molde boss managed to get 6 goals at home in a game, he has taken his team ahead of Mourinho’s side with a game in hand. This is no light feat as the Londoners are considered title challengers and the record champions were supposedly having a ‘disastrous’ season.
A revival might be on the cards for the Norwegian and his men.
A convincing result, but this is not a time to get complacent. Unless they remain focused and use this result’s momentum to propel them further, Manchester United may still fall back into mediocrity.