Scott McTominay became the first player to score twice inside the first three minutes of a Premier League game as Manchester United climbed to third in the table with a remarkable victory over old rivals Leeds at Old Trafford.
The midfielder found the bottom corner with a ferocious drive after just 67 seconds, before doubling his tally moments later with a clever finish from Anthony Martial’s pass.
Bruno Fernandes and Victor Lindelof increased the home side’s lead, with Liam Cooper’s header reducing the arrears at the end of a pulsating first 45 minutes.
Daniel James broke clear of the Leeds defence to restore the hosts’ four-goal advantage 20 minutes into the second half, before Fernandes added his second of the game from the penalty spot after Martial had been tripped by Pascal Struijk.
Stuart Dallas curled home a stunning second consolation for Leeds – a fitting end to one of the games of the season that included 43 shots.
The victory lifts Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side above fourth-placed Everton on goal difference, while Leeds remain seven points above the relegation zone in 14th.
Red Devils find their feet at home
Manchester United’s success on their travels has been in stark contrast to their poor Premier League form at Old Trafford, where they had won just once in the league all season coming into this game.
Remarkably, Solskjær’s team had managed just three league goals at home this term – despite netting at least three in all six away wins.
The Norwegian could not have wished for a better start from his team on Sunday, however, as McTominay stunned the visitors with two marvellous early goals.
The Scotland international, who had only netted six in his previous 68 appearances for the club, broke the deadlock with a fierce drive into the bottom corner after being teed up by Fernandes – the hosts’ first home league goal from open play since the first weekend of the campaign.
Barely a minute later, the midfielder latched on to Martial’s through ball before producing a finish the Frenchman would have been proud of.
It was 3-0 on 20 minutes, Fernandes reacting quickest to Luke Ayling’s challenge on Martial before slamming a powerful strike past Illan Meslier.
Lindelof capitalised on some dreadful Leeds defending from a corner to rub further salt into the visitors’ wounds, before Cooper’s header from a corner reduced the arrears.
James and Fernandes added gloss to the scoreline after half-time, but the hosts could have won by an even greater margin had Martial not spurned two one-on-one chances with Meslier prior to Dallas’ late strike.
United remain five points behind champions Liverpool at the top of the table, but Solskjaer’s team still have a game in hand on their Merseyside rivals.
Bielsa’s Leeds continue to entertain
There is rarely a dull moment with Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds this season.
The Yorkshire club have had no problems creating chances – only champions Liverpool had registered more shots in the Premier League coming into this game – and they were not without opportunities here as they registered 17 attempts at De Gea’s goal.
With the score still 2-0, Bamford dragged a shot wide from a good position before having a goal correctly ruled out for offside.
Leeds’ defending left a lot to be desired – particularly when Lindelof was allowed to ghost in at the far post to slot home the hosts’ fourth – but even at 4-1 Bielsa’s side refused to let their heads drop and twice went close to reducing the arrears prior to James’ second-half strike for 5-1.
Raphinha’s volley from Rodrigo’s cross was brilliantly parried onto the woodwork by De Gea, who was forced into another fine one-handed save from the Brazilian as the visitors continued to put pressure on the home side. However, James’ goal all but ended Leeds’ hopes of an unlikely recovery.
Jack Harrison should have made it 6-3 in the final stages, but somehow missed the target from close range.
Unwanted first-half record for Bielsa – the stats
- Manchester United have played more home Premier League games against Leeds without losing than against any other club (P13 W9 D4).
- Manchester United scored six goals in a single Premier League game for the first time since their 8-2 win over Arsenal in August 2011.
- This is the first time a club team managed by Marcelo Bielsa has conceded six goals in any competitive match since his Newell’s Old Boys side lost 6-0 to San Lorenzo in the Copa Libertadores in February 1992.
- Leeds conceded four goals in the first half of a Premier League game for the first time.
- Leeds have conceded more set-piece goals (including penalties) than any other Premier League team this season (14).
- Since the start of last season, Manchester United have taken (32) and scored (27) more penalties in all competitions than any other side in Europe’s top five leagues.
- Leeds’ Raphinha is the first away player to assist two goals against Manchester United at Old Trafford in a Premier League game since Tony Hibbert for Everton in a 4-4 draw in April 2012.
- Since his debut in February, Bruno Fernandes has both scored and assisted a goal in seven different Premier League games; only Matt Le Tissier in 1994 (8) and Mo Salah in 2018 (9) have done so on more occasions in a single calendar year in the competition’s history.
‘What a game of football’ – what the managers said
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “What a game of football. Unfortunately there was no crowd to watch it. This will go down as one of the great Manchester United v Leeds games.
“Leeds play the same way whether they’re 4-0 up, 4-0 down or at 0-0. They do that every three days, every game. You have to run until the whistle goes.
“It’s one third of the season gone. You can’t start talking about league positions. We’ll keep carrying on, working hard. Maybe when we get to March or April we can take a look [at the table].”
Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa: “We could have come back throughout the game, there were always opportunities to come back into it.
“We lacked efficiency; they scored their opportunities and we didn’t. In the second half we played on an even keel until the 80th minute. After that they created chances easier than we could. We fought all game, that’s an obligation.”
Solskjaer’s team travel to Everton in the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup on Wednesday, 23 December (20:00 GMT) before a visit to Leicester City in the Premier League three days later on Saturday, 26 December (12:30).
Leeds welcome Burnley to Elland Road in their next league fixture on Sunday, 27 December (12:00).
Player of the match
with an average of 8.47
Squad number39Player nameMcTominay
Squad number18Player nameBruno Fernandes
Squad number10Player nameRashford
Squad number17Player nameFred
Squad number21Player nameJames
Squad number2Player nameLindelöf
Squad number5Player nameMaguire
Squad number9Player nameMartial
Squad number1Player namede Gea
Squad number29Player nameWan-Bissaka
Squad number23Player nameShaw
Squad number27Player nameAlex Telles
Squad number34Player namevan de Beek
Squad number7Player nameCavani
Squad number15Player nameDallas
Squad number18Player nameRaphinha
Squad number1Player nameMeslier
Squad number20Player nameRodrigo
Squad number6Player nameCooper
Squad number2Player nameAyling
Squad number22Player nameHarrison
Squad number9Player nameBamford
Squad number46Player nameShackleton
Squad number10Player nameAlioski
Squad number24Player nameDavis
Squad number21Player nameStruijk
Squad number43Player nameKlich
Squad number23Player namePhillips
- 1de Gea
- 23ShawSubstituted forTellesat 60′minutes
- 39McTominaySubstituted forat 90+1′minutes
- 21JamesBooked at 52mins
- 18Bruno FernandesSubstituted forvan de Beekat 71′minutes
- 10RashfordSubstituted forCavaniat 71′minutes
- 34van de Beek
- 6CooperSubstituted forDavisat 72′minutes
- 23PhillipsSubstituted forStruijkat 45′minutes
- 18Dias Belloli
- 43KlichSubstituted forShackletonat 45′minutes
- 17Hélder Costa
Match ends, Manchester United 6, Leeds United 2.
Second Half ends, Manchester United 6, Leeds United 2.
Stuart Dallas (Leeds United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Fred (Manchester United).
Scott McTominay went off injured after Manchester United had used all subs.
Attempt saved. Edinson Cavani (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Donny van de Beek.
Attempt missed. Jack Harrison (Leeds United) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.
Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Stuart Dallas.
Attempt missed. Harry Maguire (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Alex Telles with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Illan Meslier.
Attempt saved. Fred (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt saved. Harry Maguire (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Alex Telles with a cross.
Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Illan Meslier.
Attempt saved. Alex Telles (Manchester United) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Anthony Martial.
Attempt saved. Daniel James (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt saved. Edinson Cavani (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Anthony Martial.
Attempt missed. Luke Ayling (Leeds United) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Raphinha with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Corner, Leeds United. Conceded by Harry Maguire.
Attempt blocked. Jack Harrison (Leeds United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.