Why are Manchester United playing Leeds United in back-to-back Premier League games?

Manchester United Leeds United Premier League
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Manchester United are due to host Leeds United at Old Trafford on Wednesday 8 February, before heading to Elland Road to take on their bitter Pennines rivals just four days later, with both games coming in the Premier League.

But why are they playing back-to-back games - especially when considering Manchester United have already faced Arsenal, Manchester City and Crystal Palace twice this season, while Leeds have come up against Aston Villa and Brentford on two occasions already. 

The first match, due to be played at Old Trafford, was originally postponed in September due to the Queen's death. 

With Manchester United still competing in four competitions this season - the only English side to do so - the Premier League attempted to get the fixture played as soon as possible, regardless of the fact the return game is just a few days afterwards.

Indeed, Manchester United are set to face Barcelona over two midweek legs in the Europa League this month, with the Carabao Cup final against Newcastle United subsequently causing the Red Devils' home game against Brentford to be postponed, too. 

They also have to play West Ham in the FA Cup fifth round on March 1, leaving limited opportunities for the club to fulfil the fixture amid the already-condensed season.

Should they progress in the Europa League, there will be even fewer midweeks available for the game to be played, thus giving reason as to why Manchester United are playing Leeds United back to back. 

If either side had drawn their FA Cup fourth round ties, though, then the replays would have taken precedence and caused the Wednesday game between Manchester United and Leeds United to be delayed once again. 

Fortunately, both managed to make it through to the next round unscathed, meaning they'll therefore play each other twice in four days in the league.

Manchester United are currently in third place and have won the last 13 games at home in all competitions. They're eight points off of Arsenal in third, having played a game more already.

Leeds, meanwhile, are sitting precariously in the table, just a place above the relegation zone on goal difference. They haven't won in the league since returning from the World Cup, with Jesse Marsch's position currently under threat. 

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Ryan Dabbs
Staff writer

Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.