Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side opened their Premier League campaign with an emphatic victory over their biggest rivals. Bruno Fernandes’s hat-trick and Paul Pogba’s four assists made the difference as the hosts in this battle of the War of the Roses.
The match came into life in the second half as the home side scored four in 16 minutes. This was after a first half which saw both sides create chances. However, Fernandes opened the scoring after a through ball from Pogba. Going into the break, the hosts had created 0.96xG to Leeds’ 0.20 according to Understat, undoubtedly the lead was deserved.
The visitors got their equaliser just three minutes after the interval. Luke Ayling’s clean strike from outside the box went sailing into the goal to give the Whites hope. However, this was short lived as within five minutes, Greenwood had restored the host’s advantage.
Pogba got his third assist in the 54th minute, again for his Portuguese teammate. It was only six minutes later the former Sampdoria midfielder completed his hat-trick. However, Pogba wasn’t done. The former Juventus star set Fred up for Man United’s fifth goal of the game and the Frenchman’s fourth assist.
Despite the result, Marcelo Bielsa can take positives from the match. According to xG, they had lost the game 1.64 to 0.57. Although this is far from the Leeds United of 2020/21, they can build on this performance. Personal errors let them down which can happen with their brand of football it won’t discourage them.
In fact, after the game, Bielsa said the game was lost as his side couldn’t react to the “succession of goals.” As always, the former Lille manager was optimistic about his side as its his belief which has helped the team get out of tough periods.
In contrast, Solskjær said, “I couldn’t have asked for more” when asked about his side’s performance. Old Trafford was bouncing as the fans were clearly up for arguably their biggest game of the season – it is great to see fans back in stadiums.
However, what wasn’t great was 50/50 scarves. Quite a few Man United fans could be seen with these scarves despite the huge rivalry between the two clubs. Although they got beat 5-1, Leeds fans hadn’t lost their sense of humour with the images.
Next up for Solskjær’s men is a trip to Saint Mary’s next Saturday. They will face Ralph Hasenhüttl’s Southampton who will be coming off their 3-1 loss at Everton.
For the Whites, they host Everton. Rafa Benítez’s side are coming off the aforementioned 3-1 victory.