Manchester United and Leeds United fans will be seeing a lot of each other in the coming days as they face back-to-back Premier League meetings.
Erik ten Hag’s United have continued their impressive start to 2023 as they push for a top-four spot, whilst Leeds opted to sack head coach Jesse Marsch following a poor string of results.
Michael Skubala will take temporary charge of Leeds along with Paco Gallardo and Chris Armas for their visit to Old Trafford on February 8, with the club working towards a quick appointment on Marsch’s successor at Elland Road.
Based on Leeds’ form, Whites supporters will be cursing their luck at taking on their old rivals twice in less than a week, but what is the reason behind the strange fixture list?
Why are Man United and Leeds playing twice this week?
Despite appearing to be an odd quirk of the Premier League match calendar, there is a confirmed reason behind the move, as the English top flight continues to battle against fixture pile-ups.
The February 8 fixture, at Old Trafford, is the game that was originally scheduled to take place in September but was postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, which impacted Premier League matches on September 10-11 and the following weekend due to her state funeral.
The Premier League has been unable to find an available window for the game since then, with the 2022 World Cup pushing it back further, alongside both sides reaching the FA Cup fifth round. United are also in action in a Europa League playoff tie against Barcelona, which takes place over two legs in the coming 16 days.
This slot is the only option based on a packed season run-in, with the Premier League acknowledging the “unique circumstances” but insisting it is necessary to “to avoid potential fixture congestion later in the season”.
The ‘return’ fixture, at Elland Road on February 12, remains in its original spot.
Why is Man United vs Leeds United not on TV in the UK?
Broadcast regulations surrounding live football in the UK are complex and this game will not be shown live in the country for an odd reason.
The original fixture was pencilled in for a Saturday 3 p.m. kickoff, meaning it would have fallen under the UK broadcasting embargo that prohibits matches in that time slot from being shown live on TV.
Although the match was then moved to Sunday, September 18 at 2 p.m. local time, neither Sky Sports nor BT Sport selected it as a game to screen live, and because changes to those broadcast lists cannot be made once they are confirmed, neither broadcaster is allowed to show the match live on the rearranged date.
Is Man United vs Leeds United available on TV outside the UK?
Despite the late changes imposed by the Premier League, the fixture is available via live broadcast in other areas of the world, with full details of the major territories below.
|USA||NBC USA Network, Universo||NBC Sports website/app, Universo NOW, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo|
|New Zealand||Sky Sport Premier League||Sky Sport NOW|
|India||Star Sports Select 1, Star Sports Select HD1||Jio TV, Hotstar VIP|
|Hong Kong||Now Premier League TV (Ch. 620-621)||now TV|
|Malaysia||Astro Super Sport 3||
Astro GO, Sooka
USA: This match is available live via NBC’s USA Network platform for subscribers in both English and Spanish.
Canada: Every Premier League game this season is live streaming exclusively via fuboTV in Canada.
Australia: Fans in Australia can stream every match live and on demand on Optus Sport.
India: Star Sports network has the rights to show Premier League matches in India. As well as an English broadcast on Star Sports Select, select matches will be available via regional feeds on Star Sports 3 (in Bengali, English, Kannada, Malayalam), Star Sports 1 (Bangla) and Star Sports 1 (Tamil).