PREVIEW: LEICESTER CITY VS MANCHESTER UNITED, INJURY-STRUCK UNITED SEEK TO KICKSTART STUTTERING CAMPAIGN AGAINST DOWNBEAT FOXES

travel to the King Power Stadium on Oct 16 to take on as both sides look to turn the narrative around their season of being ‘underachievers’. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side sit just two points off the top but have failed to convince with their performances, having not played any of the traditional top-6 yet. Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester have been struggling even more, sitting 13th in the table after winning just two of their seven games.

 

 

Manchester United started the season in sterling fashion. They put five past a hapless Leeds United to cement their status as title contenders. While the expectations around the side are at an all-time high following the signings of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo, their performances have flattered to deceive. The Red Devils are coming off of a two-game winless streak, and worryingly, sub-par performances stretching for much longer.

Leicester City’s travails have been worse than Manchester United’s. The Foxes, now regularly established as the club that broke the ‘top-6’ ceiling, have started the season in an underwhelming fashion. They are winless in their last four games and have a loss to Legia Warsaw in the Europa League in between as well. Defensive issues have come to the fore, having conceded 12 goals in the league so far. Highly-rated attacker James Maddison has failed to find his stride, leading to a blunt attack as well.

 

TEAM NEWS

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a couple of big selection headaches in defence. Both his first-choice defenders, Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane, will be missing this match through injury. An unlikely CB partnership of Lindelof and Eric Bailly will take the field so Leicester might fancy their chances of scoring against an already defensively suspect Manchester United. Fred and Edinson Cavani will be the other absentees as they return late from their international commitments.

On the returning front, United will be boosted by the return of Marcus Rashford, who has fully recovered from his ailments in ankle and shoulder. Long-term absentee Phil Jones might make an appearance on the bench as well.

 

 

Manchester United Predicted Lineup: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Bailly, Shaw; McTominay, Pogba, Greenwood; Fernandes, Sancho, Ronaldo

 

Brendan Rodgers could welcome back Jonny Evans which would signal a change in the system. Evans could form a back three with Soyuncu and Vestergaard. This system would allow Rodgers to play both Iheanacho and Vardy up-front. Tielemans and Barnes are certain starters, something which can no longer be said about Maddison. The Foxes would set up to hit United on the counter and Boubakary Soumare’s ball-playing ability and industry could be crucial to their prospects.

Leicester City Predicted Lineup: Schmeichel; Castagne, Vestergaard, Evans, Soyuncu; Bertrand, Tielemans, Soumare; Barnes, Iheanacho, Vardy

 

 

GAME CHANGERS

 

For Manchester United, look no further than Cristiano Ronaldo to be the game-changer. The Portuguese forward has taken to the like a duck to water, despite spending his peak years abroad. He won the PL and the club’s Player of The Month award in his first month back at United. On the defensive side, United will look for a secure showing from Lindelof and wild card Bailly.

 

 

For Leicester City, both Iheanacho and Vardy will be licking their chops at the prospect of facing Man United without their first-choice defence. Iheanacho has started coming into his own at the club and Vardy has rolled back the years with his performances so far this year. Lindelof and Bailly will be facing an uphill battle to contain the wily duo.

 

PREDICTIONS

Both teams have looked defensively suspect so far and feel more comfortable playing on the counter-attack. Ceding possession and territory might be easier for Man United as they are the away team and the crowd will push the Foxes forward. While Man United might not keep a clean sheet, their own forwards should prove too much to handle for a brittle Leicester City. FootTheBall predicts it will end Leicester City 1-3 Man United.

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