Five Manchester United problems that Leeds United must exploit in upcoming clash

Leeds United have had plenty of issues this season, but Manchester United have had fair few of their own as the two teams prepare to do battle.

Saturday, 19th February 2022, 4:45 am

Leeds United are gearing up for another difficult outing as they look to address their poor form.

Marcelo Biela’s men are in serious need of a win as they slip further towards the relegation zone following a run of three games without victory.

The Whites were comfortably beaten last weekend, losing 3-0 to Everton, and that followed a draw with Aston Villa and a defeat to Newcastle.

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

Leeds still have a six-point gap over the bottom three, but a win would go a long way to bringing some much needed comfort for all involved.

The problem is that Bielsa’s men take on Manchester United this weekend, and it will be no easy task.

But Ralph Rangnick’s men also have issues aplenty, and that will give Leeds plenty of hope coming into this one.

Here we take a look at some of Man Utd’s biggest problems ahead of their trip to Elland Road:

Frosty relationships

All is not well at Old Trafford, and that is clear for anyone looking on.

There have been several reports of frosty relationships, and it seems interim head coach Rangnick is not the most popular with some players.

That includes Cristiano Ronaldo, who is said to be unhappy with Rangnick’s appointment.

Man Utd need all hands on deck to finish in the top four, currently off the pace due to teams below them having games in hand, and frosty relationships cannot be part of that equation.

Ronaldo discontent

Ronaldo’s discontent with Rangnick has been shown in his poor form, with just one goal in his last six Premier League games.

Rangnick recently admitted that Ronaldo ‘needs to score more’, and it’s clear the Portuguese superstar is not at his happiest, both with circumstances off and on the pitch.

Despite a goal during the week, that frustration continues to build, and that could help Leeds, though it could also go the other way.

You won’t like him when he’s angry, and all that.

Defensive issues

The Reds seem to have had defensive issues for years at this point, spending large amounts of money only to find themselves back in the same place.

A combined spending of around £140million on Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane hasn’t helped put these issues behind them.

And that has been shown recently with just two clean sheets in their last seven games.

Rangnick’s men have conceded 32 goals so far this season, which is the second highest in the top nine.

Scoring problems

At the other end of the pitch, it’s just as bad, with Ragnick recently admitting as much.

He said: “I think we are creating enough chances and enough opportunities in the last couple of games but we just didn’t score enough goals, but this is not only an issue with Cristiano, it’s an issue with the other players, especially the offensive players. We don’t score enough goals.”

Man Utd have netted six goals in their last five games, and paired with their poor defensive record, their inability to outscore teams is one of their biggest issues.

Cavani injury

Part of their scoring issues is the absence of striker Edinson Cavani, a player the Reds could clearly do with.

Cavani is a proven goalscorer who almost always pops up in the right areas, and that’s what the Man United are lacking - someone to take the chances they are creating.

But Cavani has struggled with injury throughout this season, missing 14 Premier League games alone, and that has included the last two.

He is a serious doubt for this weekend, and Rangnick has already resisted risking him once this week.

The interim boss said: “It is always sad if you have players unavailable, no matter if it is Edinson or another.

“If they are injured, they are injured. If a player says he is not available because he is injured and we do a scan, and realise there is an injury, even if it is a minor muscle injury, if the player says he cannot fully sprint it makes no sense to have them in the squad.”