Manchester United vs Leeds result: Five things we learned in Old Trafford goal fest


Manchester United hammered Leeds 6-2 at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Scott McTominay started the goalscoring with a brace inside three minutes, with Bruno Fernandes adding a third.

Victor Lindelof and Liam Cooper then traded goals at either end off corners, while the likes of Anthony Martial, Patrick Bamford and Raphina all squandered further chances to score as the game continued to be absurdly open.

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Dan James finally scored the fifth for United and Fernandes netted a penalty won by Martial, before Stuart Dallas pinged one top corner for Leeds to wrap up the scoring.

Here are five things we learned from the match at Old Trafford.

Unleashed

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Considering the dour nature of the recent derby, perhaps Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will look at this game, the quality of his attacking players and let Manchester United off the leash somewhat more in future.

Of course, there are different horses for different courses and not every game is a basketball-style slugfest of the most clinical, but after three goals in six home fixtures before today, this is more like the expected outlook of United at Old Trafford.

Attacking teams with purpose, pace and runners from deep tend to win games more often than not – as long as they can maintain shape and solidity off the ball – and that’s what’s required for United to keep pushing this high up the table.

Naive Leeds or willfull belief?

On the other hand, this is just how Leeds play: full-throttle, wide-open, expectation of outscoring the opposition.

It is for precisely nobody to suggest that Marcelo Bielsa, of all people, should change tack – so what’s the alternative or the plan for Leeds after two games in a week yielding a total of 15 goals?

More of the same is likely the answer; they’ll have fun, they’ll almost certainly survive and they’ll add better players to the same system as they go along – it’s still largely a Championship-level team in some areas.

Set-piece frailty

Both sides had been poor off set-pieces this season and, accordingly, both conceded from them here.

Indeed, both were in the top four of the league for goals allowed off corners and free-kicks, with Leeds now the only side to allow into double figures for that particular column.

There’s a case to be made that both teams simply need to improve defending as a whole, on the evidence of the huge gaps and constant shots in this 90 minutes, but while attacking styles leave space as a consequence, set plays are eminently improvable from a defensive standpoint because of the predictable and controlled nature of their set-up.

Solskjaer and Bielsa will surely both be looking to perform better in this regard in future.

McTominay steps up

It’s not often Bruno Fernandes is overshadowed for United, but he was here despite scoring twice.

Right from kick-off, McTominay was the man driving forward, making use of space, cleverly exploiting the gaps in Leeds’ midfield and picking passes in the channels and inside the box.

His two goals were expertly taken, power and precision in turn, but it was the off-the-ball movement which really allowed him to find the net each time – then he showed great strength, poise and timing of the pass to claim an assist on Dan James’ goal.

It was arguably the performance United have been waiting for from Paul Pogba.

Top form, top four

Into third place United go, but the result gives them much more than a boost in the standings.

This was a long-overdue second win of the season at Old Trafford, a helpful boost to the goal difference column and an opportune weekend to find their scoring boots after Spurs dropped points.

Over the last seven, United are the form team in the league – ignoring, or perhaps making up for to an extent, their Champions League disappointment – and only Leicester and Liverpool now sit higher in the table.

Consistency is the watchword for Solskjaer’s side and all eyes will be on the Boxing Day clash at Leicester.

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