Man United had 24 shots on goal against Leeds in the 2-2 draw during the week, while Leeds had 8, if Leeds go out with much the same line up and tactics they will get beaten heavily.
They will be without Pascal Struijk at left back with Firpo possibly coming in. Firpo has been a disaster signing for Leeds. Signed to play left back but now can’t get in the team and Leeds are playing a centre back there in his place. The team have concede 2 goals per 90 when he has played this year and most of those game were against midtable teams. He was playing regularly for Leeds when they were on a bad run last year conceding four (Man City, Spurs, Man United), six to Liverpool and seven to Man City.
I will be waiting for the teamsheets before deciding but the management would better to play Wober and left back and Cooper at centre back if he is fit, currently rated doubtful.
Secondly, McKennie has a poor game in his first start for Leeds last week. His tackling and passing were really poor. Three tackles in this game, winning one, with one of the three in the defensive third. 62% passing suggests he struggled to find his feet. Adams also had a poorer than usual game, with only two tackles, winning one.
That leads me to believe that Leeds were jus too open allowing United too much space to play through them and around them. A look at the heat maps for Bamford, Harrison, Summerville and Aaronson looks a little scattered by comparison to Ngonto who held his position on the left hand side.
Personally, I would like to see them try a 4-3-3 formation today and put Aaronson in with Adam and McKennie. Or Roca and he might add a bit more composure to the team. That is a quality that Jesse Marsch’s side haven’t been described as this year so it is unlikely to be the case today.
Ten Hag will have learned from this game and be ready attack Leeds with the right formation from the start – if Leeds keep the same formation. ETH showed many times this year that he typically gets his big formation calls right. In the opening games of the season when he was still getting to grips with his players he made poor calls, but since then he has done excellent.
With Eriksson and Casemiro I would expect him to play the same double pivot in Fred and Sabitzer. Ahead of him he will likely have to play Rashford, Fernandez and Sancho assuming Antony is not fully fit. He brought on Sancho for Weghorst in the midweek game and that worked. So he will probably keep Weghorst as he likes consistency and doesn’t tend to tinker week to week.
United have some weak points. While Rashford is on fire, most of the rest are not. Antony, Sancho, Fernandez and Weghorst have not been chipping in with enough goals. Since the World Cup Fernandez has had 28 shots on goal with only six on target, a 21% SoT rate. From those shots he has had four goals which helps to save his record somewhat. He has put in an average of four tackles in the past four league games so he is working hard for the team.
United have also conceded in their past six matches and in four of those games they have conceded goals in the final fifteen minutes. This can be put down to tiredness as they have played 12 games in the past 42 days, with little squad rotation. United also have a trip to Barcalona on Thursday which will be in the mind of ETH when he picks the team.
Initially I was very bullish on a Man United win. However, given the high tempo game Lees have been playing and the high level of fixtures United have been playing it feels like it will be a closer game.
The fact that Leeds are still no where near having a new manager in place is also a problem. Garnacho had the highest xG from the midweek game of 0.72 and he is up against Firpo or Ayling (on right) and Leeds play their same formation (likely) then I will likely place a bet on him. He has 1.29 shots on target per 90 this season, a 41% Sot rate and one goal (20%). He had three shots in 58 minutes midweek.
However ETH subbed on Pellistri to allow Rashford to move to his preferred left wing position, which worked. Given that you’d expect Antony to start if fit and Rashford to start on the left. If Antony isn’t fit he may choose to start Sancho on the right ahead of Pellistri.
My overall view of Leeds hasn’t changed much since writing his overview which worrys for their EPL status.
Dalot had two shots on goal and an assit in the last game. He is 19.0 on Betfair to have two shot on target in this game and 21.0 to score. He’ll have his hands full with Ngonto so might be a bit reluctant to get that far foward in this game, so I think I’ll pass as he also got subbed late on. Varane looked like he wanted to make amends for his own goal and had three shots at goal. He is 100.0 to have two shots on target in this game, which looks like good value.
Assuming Rashford starts on the left and Shaw is a left back, Shaw might have more space when he gets forward and might also have more responsibility to carry the ball forward given they are without Eriksson. He is 55.0 to have two shots on target. There is no liquidity in the to score market so will stick with the shot on target market.
On the Leeds side, as it should be more end to end in this game, Ayling has gotten into goalscoring positions in the past few matches with four shots in the past two games with one on target. (He had 12 tackles in the United game, immense!). Firpo had 11 shots on goal last season but only one on target so will avoid him. However if Wober is left back then back him to have a shot as he has a good record at getting headers and shots off.
Varane to have a shot on target, €14 @ 8.2
Shaw to have two shots on target, €4 @ 55
Other bets subject to team sheets.