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Manchester United 2-0 Leeds United: Three talking points from Red Devils’ battling win against arch-rivals

A late flourish helped Manchester United to beat Leeds United 2-0, courtesy of goals from Marcus Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho. 

After a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford in midweek, it was time for the two teams to battle out at Elland Road.

Leeds were the better side for most of the game but failed to take their opportunities. 

Crysencio Summerville had two fine chances in either half but couldn’t find a way past David de Gea.

Diogo Dalot came closest to scoring for Man United, but his thunderbolt strike came back off the bar.

Erik ten Hag rang a few changes of personnel and tactics after the hour mark, which helped the Red Devils gain the edge in the game.

With two goals in the final 10 minutes, the visitors boosted their hopes of a top-four finish.

Who else but Marcus Rashford?

Rashford had a fairly quiet game until he was switched to the centre-forward position. 

He is usually more threatening on the left flank but had barely anything to offer, with his team struggling to find him in space.

The 25-year-old got more involved when he was switched to the centre-forward position. 

Luke Shaw floated a delightful cross into the box after a brilliant switch of play from Marcel Sabitzer. Rashford rose the highest and thumped his header past Illan Meslier to score his 21st goal this season. 

Ten Hag was every Man United fan when he embraced the star forward at the full-time whistle.

A scrappy affair but three points matter

The scoreline of 2-0 will deceive United fans who didn’t watch the game, as it does not tell the whole story.

The Red Devils were unable to get the ball out of their own half in the first 45 minutes.

Summerville looked bright and lively as he tried to exploit the space provided to him on the right flank.

Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams were again impressive in midfield as they curtailed attacks from central areas.

In a league as competitive as the Premier League, it is impossible to perform well in all 38 games. All that matters are the three points which will delight the 20-time league champions.

Ten Hag masterminds the victory

The Dutchman has often shown that he is tactically shrewd, and yesterday was just another example.

With Lisandro Martinez suspended for the upcoming Europa League clash against Barcelona, Ten Hag started Luke Shaw on the left side of central defence so he could get his eye in for the midweek clash.

Seeing his team failing to play line-breaking passes, he replaced Tyrell Malacia with Martinez. The Argentine showed excellent ball distribution and brought tranquillity to the back.

Shaw was shifted back to his left-back spot from where he delivered a magical cross for Rashford’s goal.

Garnacho was unleashed to take on Luke Ayling, who kept tabs on Rashford all game.

The 18-year-old used his blistering pace to go past two defenders and beat Illan Meslier at his near post, with the goalkeeper expecting a shot across him.