Leeds United played two preseason games on Wednesday, 17 July in two different continents, 9000 miles away from each other. Leeds played old enemy Manchester United in Perth, Australia at noon BST, and then played local Yorkshire non-league side Tadcaster Albion seven hours and 45 minutes later in Tadcaster.
FULL TIME: The referee brings the pre-season friendly to a close in Perth, and Manchester United win 4-0— Leeds United (@LUFC) July 17, 2019
FULL TIME: A hat-trick for Edmondson, with added goals from both Clarke and Gotts, seals a 5-1 win for the Whites— Leeds United (@LUFC) July 17, 2019
And with one side a top six Premier League side and the other playing in the North West division of the Northern Premier League, level seven in the English football pyramid, the results for a split-squad friendly were somewhat predictable. Leeds lost to Manchester United 4-0 and beat Tadcaster 5-1.
Mum moved from Leeds to Perth in the 60’s and has always wanted to see @LUFC play. This is very special #MOT #ALAW pic.twitter.com/ejWbC0xHEP— Chad Neylon (@chadneylon) July 17, 2019
Despite a relatively strong side taken to Australia, Leeds were always going to struggle against Manchester United, a team with a squad value of over £700 million. And while it was hyped as a “Battle of England” by the local press, in reality it was an opportunity to for loyal Leeds fans down under to see their team up close and in person. Ryan Edmondson scored a hat trick against Tadcaster in the 5-1 victory, with Jack Clarke and Robbie Gotts also chipping in goals.
So what was learned about Leeds during these preseason matches? Not a whole lot. Preseason matches are all about building match fitness and getting everyone used to playing together. Preseason tours, while fun for fans overseas, aren’t necessarily good indicators of a side’s progress, especially when the manager skips the build-up to the first game, as Marcelo Bielsa did.
Last season, Leeds looked significantly off the pace during preseason, only to come out on fire against Stoke City in a dominant win to open up the season.
So will the loss to Manchester United in preseason mean very much? Of course not. Will the big win over Tadcaster mean very much? Of course not. Neither the big loss nor the big win will matter in about a month after Leeds start the season. Don’t believe the hype nor get too depressed about the loss. These results don’t matter to Bielsa, and they shouldn’t matter to you.