This was the first league meeting between the two sides in 16 years. A fierce rivalry renewed but the one thing that was missing were the fans…
The home side came flying out the traps and took the lead after just two minutes! Fernandes found McTominay on the edge of the Leeds box and the Scott drove the ball in to the back of the net. Meslier had no chance.
United were swarming all over Leeds and on the third minute they doubled their lead. Martial found McTominay with a brilliant ball and the United midfielder took it in his stride before slotting the ball calmly past Meslier, 2-0! Leeds were shell shocked!
Leeds were all over the place and they couldn’t contain Solskjaer’s side. United were playing Leeds at their own game and Bielsa’s men had no answer. The movement from United’s front men were causing Leeds huge problems and on the twentieth minute it got even worse. Fred played in Martial and the ball broke kindly to Fernandes who fired the ball in to the bottom corner to make it 3-0! Fantastic finish and United were in cruise control.
Leeds finally got a foothold in the game and carved a chance of their own. A dangerous cross found Bamford but he couldn’t keep his shot down. It was a chance he should of done better with. He’d had the ball in the net moments before United got their third but it was ruled out for offside.
Just as Leeds were finding their feet United added a fourth. A Shaw corner was flicked on by Martial and Lindelof unmarked was able to tap in his first goal of the season. This was incredible and Bielsa must of wanted the ground to swallow him up!
Just before half time Leeds gave themselves a glimmer of hope. A Raphinia corner was headed in superbly by Liam Cooper and once again United had conceded from a set piece!
Half time arrived and Solskjaer would of been delighted with what he’d just seen. The start of the second half saw Leeds make two changes. Phillips and Klich were replaced by Shackleton and Struijk. Bielsa had to do something to try and steady the ship.
It was the away side who had the first big chance of the half. Wan Bissaka misjudged a cross and Raphinha brought a smart save out of De Gea in the United goal. It was certainly going in.
Although Leeds were 4-1 down there style of play hadn’t changed and they were pushing forward in numbers to try and get the next goal. It was brave from the away side and you had to admire them for continuing to play in such an expansive way.
Raphinha, Bamford and Rodrigo had looked lively all afternoon for Leeds and they were certainly keeping the United back four on there toes.
With Leeds pushing forward it left them light at the back and with just over 25 minutes left United added a fifth. McTominay found James with a precise pass and the pacey winger took it in his stride before firing the ball through the legs of Meslier to make it 5-1. Bielsa looked on in disbelief as his Leeds side were getting torn apart.
This will do James’s confidence the world of good. He’s had a tough time of late and struggled for game time. His electric pace and relentless pressing is always going to be a nightmare for defenders.
No sooner had Leeds kicked off they found themselves even further behind. Rashford teased and tormented the Leeds defenders before the ball broke to Martial. The Frenchman was brought down by Pascal Struijk and Anthony Taylor pointed straight to the spot. Fernandes stepped up and stroked the ball into the back of the net for his second of the game. United now lead 6-1 and this wasn’t how Leeds would of wanted a first league meeting in sixteen years going!
Bielsa’s men had been cut to ribbons but even though they were 6-1 down they were still full of running and incredibly still creating chances! Moments after the home side had gone further ahead Stuart Dallas curled a fantastic right foot shot past David de Gea into the top corner. Wonderful goal, the goalkeeper had no chance. 6-2.
Leeds were still pouring forward and with nine minutes left Jack Harrison missed a great chance to grab a third for the away side. He really should of scored.
Sub Edinson Cavani had barely had a kick but with five minutes left he nearly added a seventh. He got in on goal but his right foot shot was well saved by Meslier and thankfully for Leeds the rebound didn’t fall to anyone in red.
Fred had been fantastic all game and in the closing stages he nearly got a goal to cap off a fine performance. The Brazilian pounced on some untidy defending and once again Leeds had Meslier to thank that the score was still 6.
The final whistle went on what had been an enthralling game of Football. United had played Leeds at their own game and come out on top in emphatic fashion. The team selection and tactics from Solskjaer had been spot on and United are now third just five points off Liverpool with a game in hand.
Man of the match: Scott McTominay