The first Premier League Saturday of the 2021-22 season gets underway with a classic clash between Manchester United and Leeds, two teams who are ‘derby’ rivals in all but name.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side welcomes the Whites to Old Trafford on opening weekend, hoping to get its campaign rolling in victorious fashion as it eyes a genuine challenge for the title.
How to Watch
Date: Saturday, August 14
Time: 7:25 a.m. ET
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester, England
TV: NBC Universo
Live Stream: You can stream the match on fuboTV: Start with a 7-day free trial!
Solskjaer comes into the new season with brightened prospects after finishing as runners-up to Manchester City last term, while Leeds came ninth in its return to the top flight.
The Red Devils have finished among the top four in back-to-back campaigns for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013, and a busy summer transfer window could help them climb again.
United announced at the end of July that a $56.5 million deal was in place to sign Raphaël Varane from Real Madrid, although he’s almost certain to miss Saturday’s game given the signing isn’t yet official.
Solskjaer will have far higher hopes of handing an official debut to Jadon Sancho after he completed a $100 million transfer from Borussia Dortmund last month.
Captain Harry Maguire is among those expecting big things of his England teammate after the winger completed a long-awaited move back to England following four successful years in Germany:
Leeds hasn’t signed stars of the same scale this summer, but Junior Firpo promises a lot at left-back after he joined from Barcelona, while former Birmingham starlet Amari Miller is highly rated.
Firpo is currently recovering from injury, however, and may be delayed in making his Premier League debut, meaning Northern Ireland’s Stuart Dallas may have to fill in.
Arguably their best bit of business was extending Marcelo Bielsa’s contract until 2022, with the club recently confirming the Argentinian will indeed lead their charge again this term after his previous deal ended in June.
Bielsa—who is sure to go down in Leeds folklore—secured a 0-0 draw when these teams last met at Elland Road in April, but his side suffered a 6-2 humiliation at Old Trafford last term.
United’s extensive list of injuries and absences is cause for hope, however. Marcus Rashford is a long-term absentee following shoulder surgery, while Alex Telles is also out with an ankle knock and Edinson Cavani looks likely to be missing after he was granted extra holiday to see family.
Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo competed with the Ivory Coast at the Olympics and won’t be in contention, while Jesse Lingard and Dean Henderson are still returning from Covid-19 diagnoses.
Solskjaer will be leaning on a spine of Maguire, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes to inspire his team to victory in a tricky opener, while Leeds look for their first win at Old Trafford since 1981.
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