Michael Normanton of The Square Ball recently featured on The Phil Hay Show to discuss the club’s midweek victory over Newcastle United and the upcoming trip to Old Trafford.
On Wednesday, Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites earned their fifth league win of the season with a 5-2 win over the Magpies thanks to goals from Patrick Bamford, Rodrigo, Stuart Dallas, Ezgjan Alioski and Jack Harrison (as per BBC Sport). On Sunday, however, it could be argued that the Yorkshire-based club will face a much more difficult opponent in their old adversaries, Manchester United.
The two clubs haven’t met in a top-flight fixture since the 2003/04 season, prior to Leeds’ relegation and 16-year absence from the Premier League, although they did manage to knock Sir Alex Ferguson’s side out of the FA Cup in January 2010 thanks to Jermaine Beckford’s goal.
However, Normanton, speaking on the podcast, suggested that in his view, the rivalry between the two clubs may have lost its edge. Here is what he had to say:
“There’s no trace of the old Man Utd about it. When we played them in the cup, there was still Ferguson there, there was still [Ryan] Giggs, there was [Gary] Neville, there were players that we remembered hating before. This is a completely new crop, and as much as I can be slightly annoyed watching [Bruno] Fernandes diving around, it’s not personally happened to Leeds yet, so I’ve not got that grudge in place and [Marcus] Rashford seems like a very nice boy, so how can you possibly hate him?”
Can Leeds win at Old Trafford this weekend?
TIF Thoughts on Michael Normanton’s comments regarding the fixture versus Manchester United…
As mentioned prior, it’s been a long time since these teams last went head-to-head in a league game, and given the turnover of players and managers since that last meeting, you can understand why Normanton might be suggesting the rivalry between the two clubs has become somewhat diluted.
Bielsa and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have never faced each other as managers (as per Transfermarkt) but although the Argentine has far greater experience, in our view, you could be forgiven for making the hosts the favourites on this occasion given their impressive domestic form of late.