Monday morning brought news of the sacking of Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch. After rescuing them a season ago from relegation, he found himself out of a job after not winning a match in over three months and having averaged less than one goal scored per match during his tenure.
Now they travel to face rivals Manchester United under the leadership of interim manager Chris Armas, who was an assistant for the Red Devils for five months this past season. He will be hoping to find a way to stop Man United’s impressive run of form at home, where they’ve won 13 straight matches in all competitions.
Can the Red Devils continue their home dominance despite a lack of depth in their midfield? Or will this be the moment that Leeds turns their season around with crucial points? Find out in our Manchester United vs Leeds United picks and predictions for Wednesday, February 8.
Manchester United vs Leeds best odds
Manchester United vs Leeds picks and predictions
Manchester United have taken the pitch at Old Trafford 19 times this season in all competitions. They’ve tasted defeat just twice — both in the first four matches — and now haven’t dropped a point since a 0-0 draw with Newcastle on October 16.
Saturday saw the Red Devils jump out early behind a Bruno Fernandes goal, but their 2-1 win over Crystal Palace came at a cost. Casemiro, their rock at the base of the midfield, was sent off after VAR determined he had choked an opposing player, and he will now serve the first of a three-match ban.
This adds to a midfield absentee list including Christian Eriksen and Scott McTominay. As such, Marcel Sabitzer, on loan from Bayern Munich, will likely make his first start alongside Bruno and Fred in the middle of the park.
While this could be a cause for concern in some situations, this isn’t one of those times. Leeds have been abysmal since returning from the World Cup. In nine matches since the break, they’ve found the back of the net 15 times — but only four of those have come against Premier League sides in six outings.
Away from home they’ve yet to score in three, and their inability to get past Keylor Navas on the weekend cost Marsch his job as they sit just outside the relegation zone.
While Leeds search for a permanent manager, it’s likely that Armas will continue to keep the side in their current system — which bodes well for Manchester United. Leeds have been quite poor at dealing with pace, and while they’ve been doing a better job defensively of late they conceded a total of seven goals against Manchester City and Tottenham, the last “Big Six” clubs faced.
Since the World Cup, Manchester United have played four Premier League matches at home. They’ve scored 10 goals while conceding just twice, and in only one of those four matches — against rivals Manchester City — did they fail to lead after 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, Leeds have trailed at halftime in each of their last two away, and in three of their last four. Making matters worse, they’ve managed just one first-half goal in their six Premier League matches since play resumed after the World Cup.
Manchester United may miss Casemiro in some aspects, but if Leeds couldn’t even get to halftime against Nottingham Forest without trailing they won’t do so at Old Trafford. Take the Red Devils to lead at halftime — just as they have in three of the four meetings since Leeds returned to the Premier League — while the visitors continue to backslide even under new leadership.
My best bet: Manchester United first half moneyline (-105 at bet365)
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Manchester United vs Leeds side analysis
Manchester United’s 4-3-3 setup continues to bear fruit down the left side. Marcus Rashford scored yet again this weekend, giving him 10 Premier League goals and giving him 15 goal contributions in his last 13 matches. His form is a big reason why the Red Devils are prohibitive favorites in the 3-way money line.
Leeds have taken just three of their last possible 21 points, and with only two victories in their last 17 matches, they’ve secured just 11 of the last 51 possible in the Premier League. They’ve not won in seven straight, and away from home they’ve suffered seven defeats in 10 matches, amassing only five points from a possible 30.
Manchester United have won 11 of the last 17 meetings with Leeds at Old Trafford, drawing the other six. Leeds have defeated Man United just once in their last 17 meetings overall, losing 11 times. The Red Devils have won the last two meetings at Old Trafford by a combined score of 11-3.
Manchester United vs Leeds Over/Under analysis
Manchester United can’t stop scoring at home. The Red Devils have found the back of the net multiple times in each of their last 10 home outings, and in 14 of 19 in all competitions. They have 10 goals in their last four Premier League home matches, each of which saw a total of three or more goals scored.
Leeds haven’t been the leaky defensive side they were earlier in the season, but they’ve kept just one clean sheet in 10 away Premier League outings. They’ve seen six of their 10 away fixtures feature three or more goals, but their three away matches since the World Cup have featured a total of just four goals.
A 0-0 draw in April of 2021 is the outlier when these teams face off. Since returning to the Premier League, the two teams have combined to score 20 goals in the other three fixtures, with the Red Devils bagging 15 of those.
That’s why the Over 2.5 for this match is heavily juiced, and not worth playing outright. If you’re looking for an Over, I’d recommend instead taking a glance at Manchester United’s team total.
Manchester United vs Leeds game info
|Location:||Old Trafford, Manchester, England|
|Date:||Wednesday, February 8, 2023|
|Time:||3:00 p.m. ET|
Manchester United vs Leeds key injuries
Manchester United: Christian Eriksen M (Out), Donny van de Beek M (Out), Scott McTominay M (Out), Casemiro M (Out), Anthony Martial F (Out).
Leeds: Rodrigo F (Out), Stuart Dallas M (Out), Sonny Perkins F (Out), Archie Gray M (Out).
Manchester United vs Leeds recent form
|Teams||Last five matches|
Manchester United vs Leeds weather
It will be a cold but dry evening in Manchester on Wednesday. Temperatures will be near freezing throughout, while a slight chance of rain is in the forecast. That chance goes up significantly around the end of the match, but should hold off impacting play.