Preview: Manchester United vs. Leeds United - prediction, team news, lineups


The Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo hosts Manchester United's first pre-season friendly of the summer, as the Red Devils lock horns with recently-relegated Leeds United on Wednesday.

The Red Devils will endeavour to build on a steady period of progression under Erik ten Hag, while the Whites prepare for life back in the Championship after a dismal 2022-23.

Match preview

The naysayers were out in full force when Manchester United took zero points from their opening two games of the 2022-23 season against Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford, but by the final close of the curtain in May, much more of a buzz could be felt around Old Trafford.

Thanks to astute acquisitions, admirable defensive resilience on home soil and the red-hot form of Marcus Rashford in particular, Man United ended their six-year trophy drought in the EFL Cup, were only bested by treble winners Manchester City in the FA Cup and sealed their return to the promised land of the Champions League with a third-placed Premier League finish.

The less said about Man United's Europa League capitulation against Sevilla the better, but Ten Hag's first season at the helm will no doubt go down as a success, as the Red Devils won their final four top-flight matches of the season to fend off Newcastle United for the final podium place.

Ten Hag guided Man United through a tricky period of takeover negotiations - which are still moving at an incredibly slow pace in the background and foiling the Red Devils' transfer plans to a certain degree - but the marquee arrival of Mason Mount has already been concluded, and Andre Onana could be the next through the door.

While the powers-that-be will also attempt to bring in a high-calibre striker, Ten Hag has a tour of the United States pencilled into his diary - where the Red Devils will face Arsenal, Wrexham, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund - prior to which they will battle French giants Lyon in Edinburgh on July 19.

French powerhouses Lens and Athletic Bilbao also lie in wait for Man United before they kick off their 49th successive top-flight campaign against Wolverhampton Wanderers, but there will be no sojourn to Elland Road for a typically fiery affair after Leeds' recent misfortunes.

Not even survival specialist Sam Allardyce could save Leeds' top-flight bacon, as the Whites were made to pay for a spate of dire defensive displays and had their fate sealed in a 4-1 beating at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur on the final day of the season.

Spurs' previous away-day deficiencies gave Leeds fans a glimmer of hope before kickoff, but they were soon forced to witness their side being torn to shreds by the Lilywhites, and Everton's last-gasp win over Bournemouth would have rendered a Whites win inconsequential anyway.

Making the net ripple was not the issue for Leeds, who scored in 13 successive Premier League matches in the business end of the season, but new head coach Daniel Farke could do with taking a leaf out of Man United's book in a bid to solve his side's crisis at the back.

There were only four days between Man United and Leeds' pair of Premier League battles last year, with the Red Devils rescuing a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford prior to a straightforward 2-0 triumph at Elland Road, and the Whites will also tackle Monaco and Hearts this month before their quest for redemption begins.

Team News

Having begun his pre-season preparations at Carrington after shaking off a pelvic problem, Mount could be in line for his non-competitive debut for Man United on Wednesday, while Lisandro Martinez and Donny van de Beek are back in full training after missing the end of the season with their serious afflictions.

However, a plethora of international players - including Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Harry Maguire, Casemiro and Christian Eriksen - will only report back for pre-season on Monday, and Ten Hag should keep his big hitters in reserve for the time being as they build up their respective fitness levels.

As a result, the door could be open for young stars such as Amad Diallo, Shola Shoretire, Alvaro Fernandez and Hannibal Mejbri to make their mark, but the goalkeeping situation remains unclear after David de Gea's exit, as Dean Henderson will seemingly complete a permanent move away from the club in due course.

All of Nathan Bishop, Matej Kovar and Radek Vitek could battle to start in between the sticks in Oslo in that case, but Tom Heaton - the most senior shot-stopper in the ranks - has recovered from an ankle concern and is another option.

Meanwhile, Leeds still have a handful of long-term injury concerns bedevilling them, as Stuart Dallas (leg) and Luis Sinisterra (ankle) are still in rehabilitation and will not be able to play a part in Oslo, while Marc Roca and Junior Firpo are also reported to have picked up fresh problems.

Tyler Adams (hamstring) and Jack Harrison (hip) are making steady progress but will not be rushed back, while the inevitable exodus of players has already begun, as Tyler Roberts, Adam Forshaw, Joel Robles, Robin Koch and Brenden Aaronson have all sought pastures new.

Internationals such as Rodrigo, Dan James, Rasmus Kristensen, Max Wober, Illan Meslier, Crysencio Summerville and Wilfried Gnonto will also be given more time to get up to speed, although the latter's future remains a major talking point amid links with Everton and Aston Villa.

Manchester United possible starting lineup:

Heaton; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Fernandez; Mount, Fred, Mainoo; Antony, Martial, Diallo

Leeds United possible starting lineup:

Van den Heuvel; Drameh, Ayling, Cooper, Struijk; Rutter, Gyabi, Shackleton, Greenwood; Bamford, Gelhardt

We say: Manchester United 3-1 Leeds United

Neither team will be at full strength in Norway as their international representatives return in dribs and drabs, but Leeds boss Farke could have done without a lengthy injury list upon his arrival in Yorkshire.

With a host of in-game changes also on the cards, the result of this affair will pale into insignificance once the season gets underway, but we can only picture the Red Devils commencing their period of summer friendlies with a routine success

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