The new Premier League season is finally here! Manchester United are set to start the new Premier League campaign, after a few months of wait since the last one ended. The Red Devils are starting it in great mood, after a positive summer during which some important signings were made. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will know how big of a challenge is in front of him this season, as his United finished runners-up last year. Therefore, the step up will be expected and Manchester United should do their best to get as much into a title race as possible. That will not be an easy feat considering the incredible signings champions Manchester City and European champions Chelsea are lining up. Man United start the season against Leeds United on Saturday, so let’s see what is ahead of us.
As it’s usually the case after a summer which had Euros and Copa America, several players are still not match fit to play. The situation with United is as follows – Edinson Cavani is having match fitness problems after playing for Uruguay at the Copa America, Marcus Rashford will be unavailable at least until October due to shoulder surgery, while Jesse Lingard was Covid-19 positive. Alex Telles has ankle problems and will miss out, while Dean Henderson has match fitness problems, thus leaving David de Gea as the realistic option to start the match. We will not see Jadon Sancho in the starting lineup just yet, while Raphael Varane’s contract signing is still taking some time.
Leeds are in a somewhat better situation, as four of their players are struggling only with match fitness, not real injuries. Those players are Kalvin Phillips, new signing Junior Firpo, Diego Llorente and Jamie Shackleton. Apart from them, Marcelo Bielsa will have a good team to pick from.
Looking at form, there is not much to say about either club, considering these are their first matches of the new campaign. We can, thus, only take a look at how their pre-season went by. Man United played a total of just four matches. They defeated Derby 2-1, lost 4-2 to Queens Park Rangers and then drew 2-2 against Brentford. After the Preston North End game was cancelled, the final friendly was a brilliant 4-0 win against Everton. However, those early matches had seen many rotations and players that usually don’t get much playing time, so it is not a great idea to look too much into them.
As for Leeds, they have hade a total of six games played and their opponents were quite interesting. They started off with a 3-2 win against Guiseley, then a 1-1 draw against Blackburn preceded the three losses: 2-1 at Fleetwood Town, 3-2 against Betis and 4-0 against Ajax. Ultimatelly, they drew 2-2 against Europa League winners Villarreal last weekend. As we all know, Bielsa’s teams play these games just to build as much fitness as possible and we can expect them to run like mad men at Old Trafford this Saturday.
Leeds could take a while to take up their speed this season and find their rhythm, considering the style they adore playing under Bielsa. Man United, on the other hand, will play in front of a packed Old Trafford, with the feel-good vibe around the club this summer, and although without several players and new signings, will be expected to win this one.
Therefore, we predict Manchester United will win 2-1.