Competition: Premier League – Manchester United vs. Leicester City
Venue: Old Trafford – Saturday, September 24 – 12:30 BST (07:30 ET)
Match Odds: Man Utd 4/6 – Draw 29/10 – Leicester 4/1
We may only be six weeks into the new season but United are already under pressure after losing their last two league games on the bounce. While reigning champions Leicester need to pick up after a really inconsistent start.
Jose Mourinho watched his side lose three games on the spin before Wednesday’s EFL Cup win over Northampton. He needs to get more out of his expensive side and Saturday’s clash with Leicester offers a stiff test for the players.
The home fans will be expecting a win here. But given their sluggish displays of late, that’s far from a formality. They are unbeaten in seven home league games against the Foxes and that record needs to continue past this weekend for Mourinho to alleviate some pressure.
Leicester travel to Old Trafford off the back of Tuesday night’s EFL Cup defeat to Chelsea in extra-time. Claudio Ranieri will hope fatigue doesn’t affect his side too much in what is a huge game for the champions.
With only two wins from their first five, Leicester need to pick up quickly if they are to challenge at the top end of the table for the second year running. They enter the weekend in the bottom half but a win here would be a huge boost.
New striker Islam Slimani bagged a brace in last weekend’s 3-0 win over Burnley and his partnership with Jamie Vardy could cause the United defence a number of problems here.
Leicester are looking to win at Old Trafford for the first time since 1998 and given the home side’s recent struggles, that looks more than possible.
Manchester United have doubts hanging over Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan ahead of the game, with Bastian Schweinsteiger still well outside the first-team picture. Wayne Rooney is under pressure over recent performances but may still retain his place in midfield alongside Paul Pogba. Juan Mata will be hoping to force his way back into the starting lineup, given the fact United have won all three games in which he’s started this term.
Leicester’s only injury concern ahead of Saturday’s game is summer signing Nampalys Mendy, who remains sidelined through injury. But the bigger issue for Claudio Ranieri will be how he rotates his side after having to play 120 minutes against Chelsea on Tuesday. Shinji Okazaki scored a brace in that loss but Islam Slimani is expected to come back in to partner Jamie Vardy in attack.
Man United’s last five: W/W/W/L/L
Leicester’s last five: L/D/W/L/W
Key Stat: Jose Mourinho has now beaten a Claudio Ranieri side in his last four attempts, losing two and drawing two of his last four clashes against the Italian.
Key Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic – The big United striker has hit a bit of a dry spell over the past couple of weeks, failing to score in any of his last three games. A home tie against Leicester gives him a great chance to end that run and he will be expected to cause Wes Morgan and Robert Huth plenty of problems.
Manchester United 1-1 Leicester – This is set to be an intriguing battle between two sides that need to start winning games consistently. The pressure is certainly on United to deliver here but Leicester are a tough unit to break down and will be in good spirits after their 3-0 win over Burnley last time out. Goals are expected but ultimately, these look set to play out a draw at Old Trafford on Saturday.