Adrian Clarke looks at the standout fixtures from the opening weekend of the 2021/22 Premier League.
On the back of a commendable return to top-flight football in 2020/21, Marcelo Bielsa’s side will cross the Pennines with a point to prove.
They were ripped apart 6-2 in this fixture shortly before Christmas last season, blown away by a lightning start from Man Utd, who led Leeds by four goals after just 37 minutes.
While they restored pride in the return meeting at Elland Road, a goalless draw, Leeds rode their luck on their way to that clean sheet.
Across their two meetings Bielsa’s men faced 42 shots, of which 18 were on target.
|MUN 6-2 LEE||LEE 0-0 MUN|
|Shots on target||14-4||3-4|
Man Utd’s excellent pass-and-move football, coupled with a desire to make forward runs, caused Leeds problems at Old Trafford.
Bielsa’s man-to-man marking strategy was exposed, with Solskjaer’s players running off markers too easily.
It will be interesting to see if the Argentinian changes his tactical approach at the Theatre of Dreams.
If he persists with a man-to-man set-up, his players must perform it in a more disciplined way.
One of the most likeable traits of Bielsa’s Leeds is their determination to play positively, both home and away.
On their travels they won 10 of their 19 away matches, losing the other nine.
Only four clubs scored more than Leeds' 34 away goals, and they failed to find the back of the net in only four away matches.
|Most away wins||Times conceding 3+ goals|
Their main issues were from a defensive standpoint, especially against the league’s stronger sides.
Leeds conceded an average of three goals per away match to the top eight sides. For them to make progress in 2021/22 this is an area to address.
For all of Man Utd’s excellent football last term, they were defensively unconvincing at Old Trafford, where both teams scored in 63 per cent of the 19 matches played there last season.
Only four teams let in more home goals than the 28 Solskjaer’s men conceded, which was more than Sheffield United's 27.
While both managers are bound to focus on improving off-the-ball solidity in 2021/22, this opening-weekend meeting does look to promise goals.
Leeds' away matches featured the most goals last season, while the ball hit the back of the net more often at Old Trafford than at any other Premier League stadium.
This should make the match one to savour on opening weekend.
Tomorrow: Adrian Clarke on Spurs v Man City