Five things we learned as Manchester United draw 0-0 with Leeds
Manchester United’s first league match at Elland Road in 16 years has ended in a 0-0 draw.
Here is a look at five things we learned from the game…
Protests dominate discussion
Even before a ball had been kicked, the topic of the day was United supporters’ frustrations with owners The Glazers.
United fans kept this at the top of the agenda with a banner seen flying over Elland Road ahead of kick-off.
Supporters demonstrated outside Old Trafford yesterda and another is expectected next weekend ahead of the Liverpool fixture.
The message on the banner was important. This is not about the Super League, that was the tip of the iceberg. This is about United being bought in debt, and being sunk further into debt each and every year.
Dan James doesn’t grab chance
James was outstanding in the 6-2 home win over Leeds and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer repeated the trick again at Elland Road. It didn’t work out as well.
The Welshman was involved in a mix-up with Bruno Fernandes when through on goal in the second half, which summed up his afternoon.
He then lost possession in the penalty area when put through on goal by Marcus Rashford after an hour. United needed him to be a far sharper.
Long wait for changes
It took until the 76th minute for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to make a substitution, with Paul Pogba replacing Dan James.
With United struggling to break Leeds down, it made no sense to wait this long.
United do have a big week ahead, but the players have also had a rare week’s rest. Solskjaer should have forced the issue much earlier.
Edinson Cavani was missed, only coming on with five minutes left. Mason Greenwood has played well lately, but he wasn’t having much success this afternoon.
Donny van de Beek coming on in the 89th minute summed up his season, and felt a little unfair after his impressive display and assist from the bench last week.
Quality lacked but effort was there
United will be disappointed not to have won the game, but truthfully, we didn’t do enough.
This wasn’t down to a lack of effort. The players competed, matched Leeds physically and won individual battles.
The difference was just a failure to take the chances we did create, and some questionable substitutions.
The players put the work in, and while the game took a little while to get going, it said a lot about the way United played and competed, that Leeds never looked like scoring.
This was an opportunity missed though, to build some momentum ahead of the Europa League semi-final first leg with Roma.
Title looks to be over
United’s title aspirations were already hanging by a thread. A point gained was not enough here to keep those faint dreams alive.
That’s now eight years without the title, re-emphasising why supporters are protesting against the Glazers and their running of the club.
In terms of Champions League places, United look secure, now 12 points ahead of fifth place.
A win at home to Liverpool next weekend could end their top four hopes, and that is an opportunity this team should relish.
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