Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Manchester United 2-2 Leeds: Main Talking Points As Erik ten Hag’s Side Snatch A Thrilling Point At Old Trafford

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, English Premier League 9 Feb 2023

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In what was a hugely enjoyable affair from Old Trafford on Wednesday night, Manchester United mounted a stellar second-half flurry as they snatched a 2-2 draw against historic rivals Leeds.

Left stunned in the opening minute as Wilfried Gnonto powered home from the edge of the box, Erik ten Hag’s side faced what appeared to have been a real banana skin in midweek.

However, while the Premier League giants might have also been caught cold after returning from the half-time interval as Raphael Varane poked into his own net and handed Leeds a shock 2-0 lead, United certainly showed their trademark resolve.

With ten Hag’s second-half subs clearly making an immediate impact, goals from the red-hot Marcus Rashford and a returning Jadon Sancho dragged Wednesday’s hosts to a hard-earned point on home soil.

Although United might have seen their remarkable winning run at Old Trafford come to an abrupt end, Leeds would have traveled back to Yorkshire knowing that they missed out on the chance to lay down a heavyweight marker.

In a showdown that is rightfully billed as one of the Premier League’s most iconic rivalries, we have taken a look at the main talking points following Wednesday’s action-packed 2-2 draw.

Rashford’s hot streak rolls on

While there might have been plenty of speculation regarding Rashford’s future at Old Trafford last summer, United’s homegrown superstar finds himself in the midst of what has been a remarkable purple patch.

Impressing with England during the festive break as the Three Lions reached the quarter-finals of last winter’s World Cup, the 25-year-old has only continued on the most clinical spell of his career.

Producing a sublime header just after the hour mark and dragging United back into Wednesday’s contest, Rashford has only underlined his status as ten Hag’s talisman this season.

Spearheading United to a much-needed Champions League return in 2023, the 51-cap international has now racked up 12 strikes in his 13 post-World Cup appearances across all formats.

In fact, Wednesday’s goal at Old Trafford means that Rashford has now scored in six consecutive Premier League contests on home soil – becoming the first player to do so since Wayne Rooney a decade ago.

Only continuing to receive a string of plaudits from across Europe, it is no surprise that ten Hag and Manchester United are so desperate to get their attacking MVP tied down to a new long-term deal with his boyhood club.

Sancho gets his dream return

While Rashford might have broken yet another Manchester United record on Wednesday night, it was Sancho who clinched ten Hag’s side a point on Wednesday night.

Dealing with some off-field issues this season and not initially seen when United returned from the festive break, there is no doubt that fans around Old Trafford will be excited to see the ex-Borussia Dortmund ace make his return.

Returning to first-team training in Manchester last month after an extended time working alone in Holland, Sancho certainly appears to be back enjoying his football.

Clearly left heartbroken after missing out on a spot in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad, Wednesday’s strike was the first Premier League goal that the 22-year-old has recorded since back on September 1st.

Making a real impact after once again coming off the bench in midweek, ten Hag has been quick to praise his returning star and has stated that Sancho has a key role to play during the second-half of the campaign.

Hoping to make a full start when United travel to Elland Road this weekend, Sancho could almost feel like a new signing at Old Trafford.

A bittersweet night for Leeds

Hit with a costly 1-0 win away at Nottingham Forest last weekend, that result was enough to cost Jesse Marsch his job at Elland Road after less than a year in charge.

However, while Leeds’ hierarchy might still be looking for a permanent replacement for the ex-RB Leipzig boss, the Yorkshire-based outfit came close to causing a huge upset at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.

Nevertheless, while the majority of Leeds fans might have jumped at the opportunity to leave Manchester with a point prior to kick-off, they will be left heartbroken by their second-half collapse.

Watching Varane poke into his own net just three minutes after returning from the half-time break and handing them a shock 2-0 lead, the traveling support could be feeling like they missed out on a golden chance.

Despite putting in a spirited display away at their historic rivals here, Leeds have shown a string of issues on either side of the World Cup interval.

Parting ways with Marsch last weekend and recording just a pair of victories from their previous 18 straight Premier League appearances, the Whites still hold just a one-point advantage from slipping into the drop zone.

Match Report

Manchester United: De Gea, Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw, Fred, Sabitzer, Rashford, Fernandes, Garnacho, Weghorst

Subs: Malacia, Sancho, Lindelof, Pellistri

Leeds: Meslier, Ayling, Koch, Wober, Struijk, Adams, McKennie, Gnoto, Harrison, Sinisterra, Bamford

Subs: Joseph, Greenwood, Rutter, Summerville, Aaronson, Firpo

Goals: Manchester United: Rashford (62′), Sancho (70′) – Leeds: Gnonto (1′), Varane (48′ OG)

Yellow Cards: Manchester United: Sabitzer – Leeds: McKennie, Adams, Firpo

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Simon Hooper


Tom Dunstan

Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan



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