Man Utd teach Leeds harsh lesson by hitting six as rivalry reignites

Date published: Sunday 20th December 2020 6:30 - Samuel Bannister

Manchester United scored six goals in a single Premier League game for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired as their long-awaited battle with Leeds ended 6-2.

There had been much anticipation ahead of the fixture, as the two rivals prepared to meet in the Premier League for the first time in 16 years.

It took no time at all for the game to spark into life. Man Utd took a two-goal lead inside the first three minutes, with a brace from Scott McTominay.

His first goal came just after just 69 seconds. Completely unmarked on the edge of the box, he swerved a shot into the bottom corner.

With the very next action of the game, McTominay made it two. The Scottish midfielder ran in behind the defence to latch on to a pass from Anthony Martial and fire home with his left foot.

It made the challenge even more daunting for Leeds, who would have hoped for a different outcome when Patrick Bamford then dragged a shot wide in their first big chance.

Bamford did have the ball in the back of the net after 18 minutes, but was offside when he volleyed home, so it did not count.

Man Utd responded instantly. The hosts showed good link-up play on a counter attack, before Luke Ayling got a foot in to disrupt the attack.

However, the ball went straight into the path of Bruno Fernandes, who powered home to extend the lead to three inside 20 minutes.

At the other end, David De Gea used his feet to save a strike from Raphinha. But once again, the hosts struck again moments later.

This time, Martial flicked on a corner into the path of Victor Lindelof. Leeds failed to pick up the Swedish international, who tapped home to make it 4-0.

Leeds pulled one back through a corner of their own when Liam Cooper headed in a cross from Raphinha three minutes before half-time.


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Marcelo Bielsa knew he had to change something at the break, so he withdrew two of his most trusted players – Kalvin Phillips and Mateusz Klich – to be replaced by Pascal Struijk and Jamie Shackleton.

But it was the hosts who had the first chance of the half, when Martial shot wide from almost the exact same place Bamford had early in the first half. Like his opponent, the Man Utd striker should have hit the target.

Leeds’ first chance after the break came courtesy of Raphinha, who did well to divert a volley on target from a Rodrigo cross. De Gea was equal to it, though, making a good reactionary stop.

James extends Man Utd lead

One of the more suprising names on the teamsheet for Man Utd was Daniel James, who had almost joined Leeds in the past and reportedly remains a target for them.

He showed them what they are missing by taking an excellent first touch from McTominay’s pass, before setting himself up with another and firing past Illan Meslier to restore the four-goal cushion.

The Red Devils were given the chance to extend that lead further when they were awarded a penalty after Martial went down under a challenge from Struijk.

Fernandes made no mistake as he sent the ball into the bottom corner from the spot to make it 6-1 with more than 20 minutes still left on the clock.

That made it the first time Man Utd had scored six goals in a league game since the days of Ferguson. It is also the second time they have managed the feat in any competition this year, after also hitting six in an FA Cup game against Tranmere Rovers back in January.

Leeds hit back with a goal from Stuart Dallas that was as spectacular as it was ultimately insignificant. He curled a shot home from outside the box to reduce the deficit back to four.

The visitors could have had a third in the final minute of normal time. Two attackers dummied the ball before Jack Harrison pulled a shot wide.

The damage had long since been done, and all three points stayed with the home side. It lifts Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side into third place, with a game in hand over their nearest rivals in the table.

Leeds, on the other hand, are in 14th place. That was their heaviest defeat under Marcelo Bielsa.

 

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