United to end struggles against Leicester City?
Manchester United travel to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester City on Saturday afternoon. United went into the international break on a two game winless streak and need a win fast with a tricky run of games coming up. Leicester have been in even worse form. They have failed to win a league game since the end of August and sit 13th and six points behind Manchester United. With this awful form, you would expect a lot of confidence from Manchester United but injuries to Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire, coupled with the absences of Fred and Cavani have left United bare in some crucial areas. Will United return to winning ways? Here’s all you need to know:
Leicester City vs Manchester United Match Information:
Teams: Leicester City and Manchester United
Location: King Power Stadium
Date: Saturday 16th October 2021
KO Time: 15:00 GMT
Managers: Brendan Rodgers and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Referee: Craig Pawson
The Build-Up and Team News:
Leicester City have a few injuries that leave them with some thinking to do for squad selection. Wesley Fofana, Wilfred Ndidi and James Justin all remain injured with long term injuries. Jonny Evans could also be absent against his former team after injuries and illnesses prevented him from representing Northern Ireland during the break but it could be a late call from Rodgers to see if he’s fit. Jan Vestegaard could also be out with a knock and this could leave Leicester with limited options at the back. Ricardo Pereira push for a start over Castagne and Soumare could return to the lineup over Hamza Choudhury who failed to impress against Palace before the break.
Manchester United have bigger concerns than Leicester. Raphael Varane came off in the first half against Spain in the Nations League final and will be out for ‘a few weeks’ as Manchester United confirmed earlier this week. Harry Maguire was injured during the loss to Aston Villa but has returned to training on Thursday morning and may be rushed back to prevent the calamatious combination of Lindelof and Bailly from being thrown together again.
Manchester United will also be without Fred and Edinson Cavani who played against eachother early on Friday morning in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers. This leaves Pogba, McTominay, Matic and van de Beek as central midfield options for the Leicester trip and Ole may have a tricky decision whether to go for an energetic pivot or a midfield three with a holding midfielder.
One bit of good news is Marcus Rashford is back in full contact training and could feature against Leicester. He could make his first appearance of the season and is injury free for the first time since September 2020 and could be a huge boost ahead of a tricky run. Whether he starts on Saturday or is eased into it is still up in the air.
- Manchester United failed to beat Leicester in all three meetings last season (1D 2L) but scored in all three matches.
- Leicester City and Manchester United have scored in six of their seven Premier League matches this season. Their only goalless performances coming in 0-1 home defeats to Manchester City and Aston Villa respectfully.
- Mason Greenwood has two goals in two games against Leicester City but both goals came in defeats.
- If Ronaldo scores against Leicester City, it will be the 25th different Premier League team he has scored against.
- Manchester United have had the most shots of any Premier League team so far this season (120) and have missed 14 big chances with only Liverpool missing more.
Predicted XI and Predicted Score
I expect Leicester to drop to a five at the back with their current defensive issues. This would then allow a more attacking midfield duo of Tielemans and Soumare to drive forwards and press behind Maddison in the 10 role. Both Vardy and Iheanacho have good records against United so they could start up front in a classic Leicester striking partnership to harrass the weakened United defence.
As for the away side, whether Maguire is fit or not will be key. As much as some people want to believe, he makes the team better with his prescence and influence. I think if he’s ready to train, he’ll return to the team alongside Lindelof.
The midfield is also a massive question mark as it has been since the start of the season. It’s a big question whether Matic or McTominay lines up with Pogba. Ole has to decide whether he goes for a pivot or a three and whether he picks defensive workrate or possession and incisive passing. It’s a coin-toss but I think McTominay is the better option for Leicester.
In attack I think Ronaldo starts up front with Sancho on the left and Greenwood on the right. Rashford has only just come back and may be on the bench to start with while Sancho’s confidence is growing and Greenwood has been training all week at Carrington.
Leicester City (5-3-2): Schmeichel; Pereira, Castagne, Soyuncu, Vestegaard, Bertand; Tielemans, Soumare, Maddison; Iheanacho, Vardy
Manchester United (4-3-3): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Pogba, Fernandes; Greenwood, Sancho, Ronaldo