Match Time: 7/17/2019 19:00 Wednesday(GMT+8)
Manchester United and Leeds United will lock horns for the first time since 2011 when the pair meet for a pre-season friendly at the Optus Stadium in Perth on Wednesday night. The Red Devils opened their preparations for the 2019-20 campaign with a 2-0 win over Perth Glory on Saturday, while Leeds have beaten York City and Guiseley in their two pre-season matches thus far.
Second-half goals from Marcus Rashford and James Garner saw United record a 2-0 victory over Perth Glory at the weekend in a match which allowed Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka to make their debuts for the club. James was a starter at the Optus Stadium and impressed down the left, while Wan-Bissaka was a half-time substitute for Diogo Dalot and also showed plenty of positive signs in his first outing for the Red Devils. It was United's first game since losing 2-0 at home to Cardiff City on the final weekend of the 2018-19 Premier League season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side ultimately ended the campaign in sixth position and there is no question that the supporters will be looking for an improvement in the new season. The arrivals of James and Wan-Bissaka must be seen as positives, but United are still active in the market and have been linked with both Sporting Lisbon's Bruno Fernandes and Leicester City's Harry Maguire in recent days. United have a busy pre-season when considering that they will take on Leeds, Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur and Kristiansund before the end of the month - then comes a clash with AC Milan on August 3 ahead of their first game of the new Premier League season at home to Chelsea on August 11. The 20-time English champions have a tough start to the new campaign when considering that they host Chelsea before visiting Wolverhampton Wanderers on August 19, while the month will end with clashes at home to Crystal Palace and away to Southampton ahead of the September international break. There is still a lot of work for Solskjaer and his staff to do before the start of the 2019-20 campaign, with the likes of Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku also being strongly linked with moves away. Both players have high valuations, though, and it appears that the pair could ultimately be priced out of summer exits. It is performances and not results that matter most during pre-season, but there is no question that United will be keen to get one over on their old rivals, who will again play Championship football next term.
Recent form: LLDDLW
Leeds are ahead of United in their preparations for the new season, having already taken on York and Guiseley over the last week. The Whites opened their pre-season with a 5-0 victory at York, before making it two wins from two matches with a 2-1 success at Guiseley one day later. Somewhat surprisingly, Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa has decided to split his squad in two, with half of the team heading to Australia while the other half have remained in England to work on their fitness. The Whites will actually only play two matches Down Under - facing United in Perth before travelling to Sydney to take on Western Sydney Wanderers ahead of a return later this month. The team's final pre-season match will be against Cagliari on July 27 before opening their 2019-20 Championship campaign away to Bristol City on August 4. For long spells of last season, Leeds were seen as the team to beat in the Championship. It did appear that Bielsa would be leading the team back into the Premier League, but defeat to Derby County in the Championship playoffs means that the Whites will play second-tier football for at least another year. Leeds are well placed to make another strong challenge for promotion, though, and it is expected to be a busy end to the summer transfer window, even though the likes of Ben White and Helder Costa have already arrived on loan. As mentioned above, both Leeds and United will be looking for a strong performance over a strong result, but there is a long-standing rivalry between the two teams. Wednesday's clash will actually be the 110th meeting between the two sides over the years, although it will be their first clash since 2011. Bielsa's side will be far from at full strength for Wednesday's fixture, but a strong travelling squad includes the likes of Liam Cooper, Jack Harrison, Pablo Hernandez, Kalvin Phillips, Patrick Bamford and Kemar Roofe.
Recent form: DLWLWW
Solskjaer could well have a full squad to choose from for Wednesday's match, with Luke Shaw returning to training after suffering a slight hamstring injury last time out. Lukaku, Lee Grant, Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof also all took part in Monday's session and all four could be involved in some capacity against the Whites. Rotation will once again be the name of the game for this match, with David de Gea, Juan Mata, Scott McTominay and Wan-Bissaka all expected to be handed spots in the XI. It will also be interesting to see whether Pogba makes the side with the Frenchman's future continuing to be the subject of much speculation - the midfielder was a half-time substitute against Perth Glory, though, and could now be handed a place in the starting team. As for Leeds, Bamford and Roofe should both start in the final third of the field, with Harrison and Hernandez also expected to feature in the starting XI. The nature of Bielsa's 16-man squad means that there will not be too much room for change, with Phillips, Stuart Dallas and Cooper also expected to line up in the starting side on Wednesday.
Manchester United possible starting lineup: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; McTominay, Pogba; James, Mata, Greenwood; Rashford
Leeds United possible starting lineup: Casilla; Douglas, Cooper, Berardi, Dallas; Forshaw, Phillips, Hernandez; Harrison, Bamford, Roofe
Head To Head
As mentioned, the pair have locked horns on 109 times throughout history, with United leading the head-to-head 47 wins to Leeds's 27, with the remaining 35 matches finishing level. It will be the first time that United and Leeds have met since the Red Devils recorded a 3-0 win in the third round of the League Cup at Elland Road in 2011. Meanwhile, the two teams have not locked horns in the Premier League since February 2004, when Paul Scholes and Alan Smith were on the scoresheet in a 1-1 draw.
Manchester United VS Leeds United
Handicap Pick: Manchester United -1.25