MAN UNITED 6, LEEDS UNITED 2
Manchester United hit Leeds United for six as Roses rivalry was renewed in the Premier League after an absence of almost 17 years.
The Reds produced a display which had the hallmarks of champions as they climbed to third place in the table, an ominous sign after inconsistent form this season.
Indeed, had their finishing been more clinical they would have reached double figures as they created 26 goal attempts, 14 of which were on target.
And if United win their game in hand, they will go second and be only two points behind leaders Liverpool. Yet three week ago at Southampton they were 2-0 down and 14th in the ‘live’ table.
It was an extraordinary game with Leeds playing their part as they had 59 per cent possession and had 17 goal attempts.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer joked before kick off that he might need to burst a balloon to spark his side to life as they have been notoriously slow starters this season.
He need not have worried this time as Scott McTominay created Premier League history by becoming the first player to score two goals in the opening three minutes of a match.
The goals ignited United as Bruno Fernandes also scored twice while Victor Lindelof and Daniel James also found the net as this was their biggest home league win since the 8-2 demolition of Arsenal in 2011.Embed from Getty Images
Solskjaer said: “That was a fantastic job by the boys from the first minute. We had a plan to get after them, go forward when we had the ball and Scott McTominay got two goals in the first three minutes.
“We found a way of getting them going, Just imagine if there were 75,000 people in, it would have gone down in history as one of the great performances against Leeds.
“We had to earn the right by running as much as them, that’s a challenge. It could have been 12-4! It was that kind of game.
“I am very happy with the way we created chances and created some great moves with individual skills.
“Sometimes you wish we could score more, but we cannot be greedy. I am so happy.
“I enjoyed it, it was frantic, hectic. No matter what the score is they (Leeds) have a certain attitude or style, if they are 5-0 up or down.
“We are not even at the halfway point, the league position is not something we look at we look at the improvement of the team.
“Now we are getting fitter and stronger. Our fans needed that one.”
Bielsa, who suffered his heaviest defeat in management since 1992, said: “It is hard to take. We are sad.
“The difference was in the finishing. They took their chances, we didn’t.”
Solskjaer made five changes to the team that started at Sheffield United on Thursday.
David de Gea returned in goal, while Luke Shaw, Fred, McTominay and James were also handed recalls.
The players to lose out were Dean Henderson, Alex Telles, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Mason Greenwood.
Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa named the same team that defeated Newcastle 5-2 in midweek.
Luke Ayling, Liam Cooper and Stuart Dallas continued in defence with Robin Koch and Diego Llorente still sidelined through injury.
United made an electrifying start taking only 67 seconds to take the lead.
Fernandes made a powerful break before squaring a pass to McTominay whose shot on the run from 20 yards arrowed into the bottom corner,
And it got better and McTominay, who had failed to score this season, added a second in the third minute.
This time Anthony Martial played a delighted through ball to release McTominay who slotted a left-foot shot low to the left of goalkeeper Illan Meslier.
In a remarkably open game, Leeds had a great chance to half the deficit in the eighth minute when Patrick Bamford was put in the clear but he sliced his shot wide.
Bamford had the ball in the net but had clearly strayed offside as he latched on to Rodrigo’s blocked shot which rebounded to him.
United remained rampant going forward and added a third goal in the 20th minute.
Fred burst forward and Martial touched the ball on to Fernandes who drove low past Meslier from the right of the box, the Portuguese midfielder’s 12th goal of the season.
Leeds continued to carve out chances and Bamford headed over from eight yards following Mateusz Klich’s cross while Raphinha was superbly denied by the legs of David De Gea and they could not be discounted.
It got worse for Leeds as United added a fourth goal in the 37th minute.
Fernandes’ corner was flicked on at the near post by Martial and Lindelof stole in at the far post with an easy finish from within the six-yard box, the defender’s first goal since December 2019.
It was the ninth set-piece goal conceded by Leeds this season, the highest number by any team.
Leeds were rewarded for their attacking efforts with a 41st minute goal as Liam Cooper headed home Raphinha’s corner for his first strike in the Premier League.
United came close to a fifth goal when Rashford forced a decent diving save from Meslier.
Bielsa made a double change at the break as Pascal Struijk and Jamie Shackleton replaced Kalvin Phillips and Klich.
Martial ought to have added to United’s goal tally in the 47th minute when he bent a shot wide as he looked set to convert after being released by Fernandes.
Leeds remained a threat and Raphinha’s volley from six yards was superbly saved by De Gea and the ball rebounded on to the upright.
United made their first change after an hour when Telles replaced Shaw at left back.
De Gea was also alert to turn Raphinha’s drive round the post for a corner.
United scored their fifth midway through the half when James was put clear by McTominay’s through ball and his drive went through the legs of Meslier. It was the Welsh winger’s first goal of the season and first in 33 Premier League appearances.
And it got even better when United won a penalty after a trip by Struijk on Martial as Fernandes stepped up to slot home his second and the team’s sixth of the match.
United made a double change as Fernandes and Rashford made way for Edinson Cavani and Donny van de Beek.
It might have been seven moments later when McTominay set up Martial who was denied by the legs of Meslier.
Leeds found the net for a second time in the 73rd minute when Raphinha provided the assist for Stuart Dallas who found the top corner from 20 yards, an exquisite finish.
In the latter stages United ought to have scored even more goals as Meslier prevented his side suffering an even heavier defeat.
In the space of two minutes, the goalkeeper made four excellent saves to deny Cavani, James, Fred and Telles while Martial headed just over.