Manchester United had to be content with a point against fierce rivals Leeds United as they came back from two goals down to end the game 2-2.
The Whites took the lead, both times from the start of either period, with Wilfried Gnonto scoring before the minute mark while Raphael Varane scored an unfortunate own goal early on in the second.
United did show heart as Marcus Rashford scored a stunning header to bring the Red Devils back into the contest before substitute Jadon Sancho struck the equaliser, much to the delight of the Old Trafford crowd.
No midfield solidity
But in the end, the hosts suffered due to the absence of their midfield general Casemiro and their playmaker Christian Erisken.
As soon as David de Gea had the ball, the centre-backs were allowed to have the ball but Leeds packed the midfield and closed all passing angles to the middle.
Jack Harrison essentially blocked out Marcel Sabitzer, who was making his first start, and Fred was nowhere to be seen either
Fred and Sabitzer’s positioning has been hilarious this game, neither really seem comfortable sitting so fight over who should engage the opposition player
— Casey Evans (@Casey_Evans_) February 8, 2023
Ten Hag’s team this season have always had either of Casemiro and Eriksen to relieve the press as they have the quality of finding space in congested areas and know how to pick the out ball.
But the Austrian is clearly not used to the intensity of the Premier League and he struggled to impose himself at times.
Fred was chaotic as usual with his erratic passing costing the team on occasions. Neither midfielder supported each other and nobody knew who was supposed to sit and who was supposed to go forward.
Wout Weghorst is not a target man and that also allowed Leeds to sustain pressure better, which did change when Rashford went through the middle.
Weghorst was not supposed to be starting game after game and it is not the manager’s fault that he is having to start substitutes in important games.
In and ideal world, Weghorst, Fred and Sabitzer are all substitutes who come on to change the game.
Ten Hag’s injury and squad depth issues will remain going into the next game against the same opposition. How will he roll the dice in a couple of days time?
United Matchday Magazine – be in the know about everything in red!
Still itching for more United content? Get everything you need right here. For just £2 for the Leeds extended issue/£3.75 a month you’ll receive unique insights into United, straight to your inbox – before every match and throughout the month.
- Get the exclusive build-up to each match, plus team news, tactics and history.
- Not only that – United Matchday is jam-packed with articles, news, transfer news, puzzles, nostalgia and humour.
- Impress your friends and be in the know about everything in red!