Leeds United 0-0 Manchester United: 5 Talking Points as Red Devils drop points at Elland Road | Premier League 2020/21

Leeds United v Manchester United - Premier League
Leeds United v Manchester United - Premier League
Sai Teja
Modified 25 Apr 2021

It was a strange afternoon at Elland Road as Manchester United and Leeds United — two of the most historic rivals in English football — played out a frustrating 0-0 draw.

The last time the two sides met was at Old Trafford, where the Red Devils ran riot over Marcelo Bielsa's side as they won 6-2 on the night. On Sunday, however, the game was at the other end of the spectrum as it was bland, lacking a cutting edge, and didn't live up to the lofty expectations of a game between two of the most entertaining sides in the league.

Leeds United v Manchester United - Premier League
Leeds United v Manchester United - Premier League

The first half, in particular, was a difficult watch for the neutrals as it was poor in many ways. Barring a stunning free-kick attempt from Marcus Rashford, which Illan Meslier excellently parried away, there was not much else of note.

Leeds were definitely the side with a more physical approach during the game, and saw two of their players, including captain Luke Ayling, receive yellow cards for a couple of rash challenges on Rashford and Dan James.

The game opened up a lot more in the second half as the spaces in behind were opening up for the Red Devils and their fierce rivals. Bruno Fernandes came close to scoring with a superb attempt from close range but dragged his shot just wide, and Mason Greenwood squandered a great chance after being released by Fred.

Dan James was guilty of missing out on a couple of great opportunities, which were arguably some of the best for either side on the afternoon. Leeds were resilient in defence, and it was a much more mature display from Bielsa's men as they marshaled the threat carried by Manchester United's attackers excellently.

Manchester United took their point tally for the season to 67 for the season as they take one step further towards UEFA Champions League football next season. On the other hand, Leeds are on course to finish in the top half of the Premier League table — a remarkable achievement for Bielsa and co.

Here are five major talking points from the game.

#5 Manchester United's lack of creativity without Paul Pogba

Leeds United v Manchester United - Premier League
Leeds United v Manchester United - Premier League

The first 45 minutes was a dismal watch as the Red Devils were extremely sluggish and failed to create any opportunities of note. Leeds United did an excellent job at blocking out all their avenues in central areas, forcing Manchester United to try and break them down from wide areas.

This was certainly a game that was craving for a player of Paul Pogba's ilk to dominate. The Frenchman has been in fantastic form over the last few weeks and was rested for this game with the UEFA Europa League semi-final coming up in midweek.

His absence was sorely missed as Manchester United lacked precision in the final and were frustrated by Leeds' excellent defensive organization. Perhaps the game would have panned out differently had Pogba started in place of James, as he could have provided more of a threat around the box.

#4 A nightmare return to Leeds for Dan James

Leeds United v Manchester United - Premier League
Leeds United v Manchester United - Premier League

Dan James was just a few hours away from sealing a transfer to Leeds United in 2019 before moving to Old Trafford next summer. On Sunday, he was handed a start against the club that he almost joined, and it was anything but an auspicious game for the Welshman.

James had a very poor game, spurning a couple of great opportunities for Manchester United, which could have led to a possible opener. Bruno Fernandes spotted his darting run into the box, and his poor touch gave Ezgjan Alioski enough time to recover and steal the ball.

The second was a mix-up with Fernandes during which both players left the ball for each other, but James would have been better suited to take the shot. James' attacking threat on the night was nearly non-existent apart from these two chances, and his poor decision-making cost his side on several occasions. A forgettable evening at Elland Road for the Welsh winger.

Also read: 5 Legendary footballers who had their shirt numbers retired

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Published 25 Apr 2021
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