Manchester United vs Leeds United Predictions and Betting Tips

The premier league is back for the 2021-22 season. Manchester United and Leeds will be facing off against each other in their opening fixture for this season. Who will win? Who will score? Find out more below…

Manchester United Preview

Manchester United finished runners up to Manchester City in the 2020-21 season which was one of their best seasons since Sir Alex left in 2013. Since Ole has taken the wheel United look like they are making massive strides towards recapturing the glory days.

United were on top of the league table in January and were seen as serious title contenders in spite of a squad that had several missing pieces.

United scored 73 goals last season which is the highest number of goals they have scored since Sir Alex left in 2013.

Reinforcements in the transfer window

Jadon Sancho

United finally managed to land Jadon Sancho after missing out on him last season, this time though they managed to land him in a cut price deal. This is a major coup for United considering United have been lacking a proper right winger for many seasons.

United has primarily built attacks from the left and the addition of Sancho gives them more balance in attack. 

Raphael Varane

Just a few weeks after signing Sancho, United signed Varane on yet another bargain deal. The Lindelof-Maguire partnership was prone to a lot of problems considering both of them were very similar players who were not very pacy.

Varane is one of the best center backs in the world and his pace complements Maguire’s positioning. With Varane’s signing United have plugged another hole in their squad in the 2021-22 season.

Manchester United lineup for United vs Leeds

In Spite of plugging some major holes in their squad United have struggled with major problems in it’s squad. We have mentioned them below:

  • Failure to sign a Defensive Midfielder– This position has been a position of concern since 2019.Matic is the only natural at this position and he has slowed down considerably which forces United to play a double pivot. Playing a double prevents United to get the most out of players like Pogba and Fred who are more of box to box midfielders and reduces their chances of progressing the ball from defence into attack.
  • Pogba contract situation- Pogba has been  wanting to leave United since 2019 but because of the financial strain on clubs around Europe because of the pandemic, United have been unable to offload him.

    Pogba could be convinced to stay perhaps if United return to their winning ways and Ole somehow is able to get the most out of Pogba. We talk about this in our United Tactics Breakdown section.
  • 2 First Choice Goalkeepers: United have 2 first choice goalkeepers, De Gea and Henderson. Most teams don’t have two first choice goalkeepers because the goalkeeper requires the full backing and confidence of the manager instead of worrying about being benched. This will put a lot of pressure on both Henderson and De Gea who will be worried about making mistakes.
  • Inability to offload deadwood: Manchester United’s squad is bloated with players they don’t need. Let’s start off with Phil Jones, who hasn’t played a single game in the last 2 seasons because of injuries, he was given a contract extension in 2019 in spite of mediocre performances.

    Then we have Jesse Lingard who performed quite well in West Ham after poor performances prior to Bruno Fernandes arrival. United are stacked with talent in attacking midfield,left wing and the right wing and they simply don’t need Lingard.

    Andreas Preiera, is another such player. Then you have the issue of Mata and Matic both of whom were offered new contracts in spite of being of their age. Both of them demand a high salary and are bit part players.

    United could easily raise close between  £35 to £50 million and buy and buy a young defensive midfielder like Rueben Neves or Camavinga and even have enough money to sell Diogo Dalot and buy Kieran Trippier as competition for Wan Bissaka at right back.

    A proper CDM would allow United to play a 4-3-3 with Bruno and Pogba as free eights and bring the most out of Pogba. Van De Beek also thrives in the free eight role and Fred as well.

Manchester United Tactics 2021-22 Season

What can we expect from Manchester United in the 2021-22 season? Well at the time of writing the transfer window hasn’t shut yet.But assuming United go into the new season with this squad and what we have heard so far we can expect the following tactical shifts this season:

  • United could play a more attacking style of football in a 4-3-3 formation:  Ole has signalled his desire to play a 4-3-3 season according to ESPN. This would mean that there would be more McFred with 2 defensive midfielders.

    This is great news because this would allow United to play Pogba and Bruno together which would increase the Xg(expected goals) per game and break down teams that sit back and defend.

    However in the preseason game against Everton, United still played a 4-2-3-1 but this time, with Matic and Van De Beek as the two holding midfielders. But there was minor change we noticed in the way they played this formation…
  • More Dynamic tactics and attack on the field- We noticed that that United were more fluid in this formation. They attacked in two ways:
    1)A back three with the CDM, with both full backs pushing high. As you can see from the image below. The center backs were not afraid to push high unlike last season.

Here we can see that Van de Beek is in a bit more of a free role but he is looking to cover the space left by Wan Bisakka in case of a counter and United have 6 men in attack.

2) Wan Bissaka Forms a back 3 with the two center backs. This frees up one of the holding midfielders to be more attacking and either burst into the box if the winger stays wide or roam wide if the winger cuts inside. We saw Van De Beek doing in the pre season game against Everton.

How Will Manchester United line up against Leeds United?

Jadon Sancho joined training on August 9,2021. He could start for the game against Leeds. But we think Sancho will come on as a substitute.

Varane is training alone for now and he is set to be unveiled on Wednesday. We think that is not enough time for him to start.

We expect De Gea to start in goal and Cavani to return. Rashford is preparing for an operation so Martial will start on the left.

The midfield is a big question mark. The Matic-Van De Beek partnership worked well. We might see Pogba and Matic start just like they used to at the end of the 2019-2020 season where the two worked well. This would possibly allow Pogba to be a little bit free just like Van De Beek was in the Everton game.

4-2-3-1
De Gea,Shaw,Maguire,Lindelof, Wan Bissaka,Pogba,Matic,Martial,Bruno Fernandes,Greenwood,Cavani
Subs:Henderson,Bailley,Fred,McTominay,Van De Beek,James,Sancho

Leeds United Preview

While Manchester United scored the second highest number of goals during the 2020-21 Premier league season, Leeds United also scored 62 goals and were tied with West Ham on the 6th spot for the most number of goals scored. 

Leeds finished the season in 9th and love to go out and score goals. Leeds ended last season on a high after winning their last 4 games and scored 12 goals during those games. Rodrigo was in fine form during this game and scored 4 goals and provided 1 assist. He is a sure starter for the game against Manchester United.

Leeds United have signed Jack Harisson after the left winger impressed them on loan from Manchester City. 24 year old Junior Firpo was signed from Barcelona and he is capable of playing both as a left back and a midfielder. Firpo is a first team signing and seen as Ezgjan Alioski’s replacement.

Leeds United’s manager Bielsa is a very intelligent tactician. He could set up Leeds in an unheard of 3-3-1-3 formation or switch it up depending on the opposition. More on that later.

Leeds United Tactics

Leeds are a team that love to press and they do it pretty well. In fact, in the top 5 leagues, Leeds United are 2nd when it comes to successful pressures per game. As soon as Leeds lose the ball they press aggressively and they are also adept at man to man marking. Their adeptness at pressing has seen the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool concede goals.

Since United will play a 4-2-3-1, Leeds will press them in 4-1-4-1 shape and this is the line up we predict for Leeds.

Leeds Lineup vs Manchester United

We expect Firpo to start and Rodrigo to start in place of Tyler Roberts because of his form.

Formation 4-1-4-1.

Manchester United vs Leeds Predictions

Opening games are hard to predict because the teams are just getting started. That being said, we expect United to play cautiously. We put Matic in the midfield in place of Fred because his reading of the game and calmness under pressure is essential against a team like Leeds that presses aggressively.

Sancho will start on the bench and will be brought on later to shake things up, The score will be hard to predict but what will be easy to predict is the amount of action.

There will be a lot of chances created and a lot of action on both ends of the pitch.

We expect United to start strong and win the game 3-1.

Manchester United vs Leeds Odds

Bookmakers are predicting the following odds for the Manchester United vs Leeds game on Aug 14, 2021.

  • Manchester United 1.54
  • Draw 4.60
  • Leeds United 5.60

We can clearly see that bookmakers favor Manchester United for this one. If we convert the odds into probabilities we can see that the probability that Manchester United will win is  64.9% while Leeds have a probability of 17.9% for winning this one.

Manchester United vs Leeds Betting Tips

If you are looking for a profitable football betting tip, our number one bet would be not to place a simple match winner bet on Manchester United. The reason for that is explained in our article on football betting tips

To make a long story short, the reason we don’t recommend betting on Man United is because the odds are below 2.0.

For this game, we recommend you to make some combo bets to increase your odds. You can build your own combo bets based on the following betting tips for the Manchester United vs Leeds in gameweek 1 of the 2021-22 Premier League seasons:

  • Manchester United to win
  • Total of 3 or more goals to be scored
  • Bruno Fernandes to score
  • Both teams to score
  • Handicap 0 to Man Utd, 2 to leeds, result draw
  • No clean sheets for both teams.

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