Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester United vs Leicester City

Competition: Premier League – Manchester United vs. Leicester City

Venue: Old Trafford – Sunday, May 1st – 14:05 GMT (09:05 ET)

Match Odds: Man United 1/1 – Draw 23/10 – Leicester 29/10

Match Preview

Manchester United welcome Leicester City to Old Trafford in what could be the day Claudio Ranieri’s side make history and win the Premier League.

United’s last Premier League game was their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. There is still a chance for them to finish in the top four, they sit five points behind but they do have a game in hand. The Red Devils are reliant on other results going their way.

Louis Van Gaal’s side will be full of confidence having dramatically reached the FA Cup Final last weekend, giving them a great chance of silverware this season.

Manchester United have won their last six home matches against Leicester so the away side will have to break that trend if they are to be crowned champions this weekend.

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Leicester City extended their unbeaten run to seven games last weekend with their 4-0 demolition over Swansea.

Ranieri’s side are within touching distance of the Premier League title, but only all three points will secure the silverware this weekend.

Leicester have won six of their last seven league games and kept six clean sheets along the way. We can expect them to be as difficult as ever to break down here.

A win here would cap off what has been an amazing season for Leicester, they have been in good form away, winning three on the bounce.

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Team News

Manchester United could be without up to five through injury as Bastian Schweinsteiger, Adnan Januzaj, Luke Shaw and Will Keane are all ruled out, while Phil Jones is a doubt.

Leicester City are still expected to be without Matthew James through injury, while Jamie Vardy is serving the additional game of his suspension.

Key Points

Manchester United’s last five Premier League games: W/W/L/W/W

Leicester City’s last five Premier League games: W/W/W/D/W

Key Stat: Manchester United have won their last six home matches in the Premier League.

Key Player: Kasper Schmeichel – The Danish ‘keeper could follow in his fathers footsteps and win the Premier League title at Old Trafford. We can expect both ‘keepers to be busy but Schmeichel’s performances have been an integral part of Leicester’s chase for the title. He has kept seven clean sheets in his last ten league games.

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Score Prediction

Manchester United 0-0 Leicester City – The champagne will have to stay on ice for at least another week for Leicester City. This will be a very tight tie with neither side looking weak at the back. Manchester United will have to do something not many sides have successfully achieved over the course of the season and break Leicester down. With both goalkeepers in fantastic form they will be the stars of the show here.

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Aston Villa vs Tottenham Hotspur

Competition: Premier League – Aston Villa vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Venue: Villa Park – Sunday, March 13 – 16:00 GMT (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Aston Villa 13/2 – Draw 16/5 – Tottenham 4/9

Match Preview

Premier League strugglers Aston Villa welcome title chasing Tottenham Hotspur to Villa Park on Sunday afternoon in a game between two sides with very different aims.

Villa are on a four game losing streak coming into this one and have been leaking goals in recent games. They lost 4-0 to Manchester City last weekend despite being 0-0 at halftime and looked a depleted side.

Rémi Garde’s side sit bottom of the Premier League. They are nine points away from safety and although relegation is not yet confirmed they’re favourites for the drop.

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Tottenham come into this tie off the back of their 2-2 draw in the North London Derby last weekend – although it was a good point they will rue not taking all three from being in a winning position.

Spurs trail leaders Leicester City by five points but this title race is still wide open. As the season has proved any side is capable of taking points off of one-another so Mauricio Pochettino will be expecting nothing than maximum effort from his players here.

A top four finish is not yet guaranteed for Spurs despite how good of a season they have had. Even though they are pushing hard for their first title since the 1960/61 campaign they must still ensure they are keeping the distance between them and the sides below.

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Team News

Aston Villa have five injury concerns heading into this tie. Libor Kozak, Adama Traore, Jordan Amavi, Carlos Sanchez and Jack Grealish are all expected to be out.

Tottenham have just three injury concerns. Pochettino rested a number of his key players in their Europa League loss midweek but is still expecting to be without Clinton N’Jie and Jan Vertonghen, while Danny Rose is a doubt.

Key Points

Aston Villa’s last five: W/L/L/L/L

Tottenham’s last five: W/W/W/L/D

Key Stat: Aston Villa have conceded 15 goals in their last four games.

Key Player: Harry Kane – The Tottenham goal-machine has netted 17 in the Premier League this season including that stunning effort against Arsenal last weekend, as always we expect him to be key and full of confidence.

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Score Prediction

Aston Villa 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur – Spurs should’t have too much trouble taking all three points here, as last weekend proved it’s a case of getting the first goal against Aston Villa. Hugo Lloris will be desperate to keep a clean sheet and Pochettino’s side have to keep applying the pressure to Leicester so if there is a slip up from the leaders they can capitalise and gain ground.

Stats: Is Harry Kane on track to beat last season’s Premier League goal haul?

Today we explore if Harry Kane is on track to top his Premier League goal tally of 21 from the 2014/15 season in the final nine games of the current campaign… 

Tottenham Hotspur are chasing their first domestic league title since the 1960/61 season. They are currently in second place, five points behind leaders Leicester City. To stand the best chance of winning the title, they will need their key players on form for the remaining nine games of the season.

And one man who will need to carry his side through the final stages is Harry Kane. The English forward has played a pivotal role in a vast amount of games again this season, including his stunning strike in the 2-2 draw with Arsenal last weekend – but is he going to better last season’s tally of 21 Premier League goals in the remaining fixtures?

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Below are his standout offensive statistics from the current Premier League season, compared to his figures from 2014/15 campaign.

 Harry Kane Apps Goals Shot Acc Strike Rate Shots Per Game Minutes Per Goal Mins Played
2015/16 29 17 63% 0.58 4 150 2561
2014/15 34 21 58% 0.61 3.3 123 2582

Table: Harry Kane’s attacking statistics over the last two Premier League seasons (statistics provided by Squawka).

As we can see Kane netted 21 goals in 34 appearances last season, compared to his total of 17 in 29 so far in 2015/16. He has improved his shot accuracy by five percent but his strike rate has marginally dropped.

Kane is averaging four shots per game, which is an increase of 0.7 from the 14/15 campaign but his minutes-per-goal ratio has increased by 27 minutes over the past year, meaning goals are coming less frequently for the 22-year-old Spurs star.

He has played almost the same number of minutes (2561) in his 29 appearances this season compared to 34 appearances (2582) from the 14/15 campaign and will continue to be relied upon through the final stages of the campaign.

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With those statistics in mind, Kane would fail to reach a higher amount of goals by the time he reaches 34 games. He will hypothetically only find the net three times in his next five appearances, based on his current goal output figures.

But it must be noted that, providing Kane stays injury-free until the end of the season, he has nine games left in the Premier League. If he features in all nine – which is more than likely – he will have made four more appearances than in the 14/15 season and would have played in every Premier League game this term.

With the remaining nine outings offering 810 minutes at the very least, Kane’s output of 150 minutes-per-goal would see him find the net at least five more times.

So with that in mind, Kane’s overall tally this season should approach the 22 goal mark, going one better than he manager last year.

Can Harry Kane fire Tottenham to the Premier League title? Will he beat his tally of 21 Premier League goals from last season?

Liverpool legend urges Arsenal to strengthen this summer

Liverpool legend Graeme Souness has urged Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to strengthen his squad this summer.

The comments come as Arsenal drew 1-1 against Manchester United on Sunday, and Souness suggested that to win the title, Arsenal would need to strengthen over the summer.

“Forget spine, forget any names, if you’re a big football club and you’re not strengthening, you’re standing still as all the other big clubs will be strengthening.” Souness said on Sky Sports.

Arsenal’s title drought has stretched another year and it’s now eleven years without winning the league for the Gunners.

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A topic that has sparked debate is Arsene Wenger’s transfer policy recently. Arsenal have made a marquee signing in each of the last two summer transfer windows, adding Mesut Ozil in 2013 and Alexis Sanchez in 2014.

Both players have been brilliant recently and Souness has suggested that Arsenal should once again look to spend big in the market.

Should Arsenal look to strengthen again it would be interesting to see who they target, as it seems that they will be competing with rivals: Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea for the biggest names available.

Do Arsenal need to strengthen this summer, and which players should they be looking at?

Arsenal legend thinks the club can win the league with French striker

Olivier Giroud has been the topic of public debate for little under a week now after it was suggested that Arsenal would fail to win the Premier League title with the French international as the lone striker.

Arsenal invincible Thierry Henry suggested that Arsenal need another forward after Chelsea clinched the title on Sunday against Crystal Palace, continuing Arsenal’s ten-year wait for another championship.

“I’m afraid, they need a top, top quality striker to win this league again,” Henry said.

However, Sky Sports pundit and former Arsenal star Charlie Nicholas has argued that Gunners boss Arsene Wenger doesn’t “particularly want or need a new striker”, going on to suggest that Arsenal “can win the league with Olivier Giroud”.

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The last time Arsenal won the coveted title was in the 2003-04 season when they unprecedentedly went unbeaten. During that season Thierry Henry scored an unbelievable 30 league goals.

Currently Giroud has an impressive 14 league goals in just 23 games, although his season has been hindered by injury.

Thierry Henry Appearances Goals Goals Per Game
2003-04 Season 37 30 0.81
Olivier Giroud Appearances Goals Goals Per Game
2014-15 Season 23 14 0.61

As you can see from the table above, Giroud falls short once again of the proficiency required to propel his club to the title and maybe with more consistent output, Arsenal can regain the Premier League.

Do you think Arsenal can win the Premier League with Olivier Giroud as their main striker?

Chelsea star praises character of the team

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas scored a last-gasp winner for the Blues at Loftus Road to secure a 1-0 victory over QPR on Sunday afternoon, and the Spaniard has praised the character of the team.

“The win was vital. We are playing for the most important trophy of the season and we are up there since the first day so we have to continue that,” Fabregas told Chelsea’s official club website.

“We know that some teams are putting pressure on from behind and we want to be solid, win out the games and this shows the character of this team.”

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The win restored a seven-point lead over Arsenal at the top of the Premier League for Jose Mourinho‘s side, although Fabregas admitted that it wasn’t an easy game and QPR’s performance, as well as the conditions, were tough on Chelsea, but feels they dealt with it well.

“It was very difficult to play this game with wind, the pitch was very dry, and it was not the circumstances we want to play football. That obviously is a positive advantage for QPR but we still showed great mentality and we never gave up.

“Even in the difficult moments we coped very well with the game and Didier Drogba played a big part because he held onto the ball very well up front and that gave us life through the game.”

Chelsea welcome third-placed Manchester United to Stamford Bridge next weekend before a visit to the Emirates Stadium to take on second-placed Arsenal the week after in two games that will surely play a huge part in determining the final outcome of this Premier League season.

How good is the character of this Chelsea team?

Manchester City star says his club will ‘fight to the end’ for the title

England and Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart has fired a warning to Chelsea, claiming his club will fight to the end for the Premier League title.

The 27-year-old stopper has said Manchester City have a history of late season resurgences, and thinks that could be a factor in the title race.

Speaking ahead of City’s tie on Monday night against Crystal Palace, Hart knows his side won’t give up.

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“We will never give up. It’s kind of how we do it. We like to do it a different way,” he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.

“We’ve not necessarily reached the standard week in, week out that we wanted to, but the beauty of football is that you get another chance – and that starts on Monday.”

In 2012, City came from eight points behind leaders Manchester United to win the league and again in 2014, where they were nine points behind Liverpool.

Hart knows his side are capable of a late upset and becoming league champions in 2012 “set a DNA” for the team.

“We’ve proved it and the fans have proved it. That is one thing that is part of Manchester City, which we’ve taken with us from the olden days. We’ll never give up while anything is possible. We’ll go for it.

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“We know that the way we won the league the first time set a DNA.

“We have definitely moved on as a team since then. That was a massive achievement, but now we expect it of ourselves.”

Manchester City will need to win all of their remaining games and hope for a Chelsea slip-up after they extended their lead at the top of the table yesterday to nine points, with a game in hand.

Arsenal and Manchester United both moved ahead of City yesterday so the pressure is really on Pellegrini’s men to get a result at Crystal Palace on Monday night.

Can Manchester City still win the Premier League this season?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Liverpool vs. Arsenal

This week’s Sunday evening kickoff sees Arsenal travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool in search of redemption after the 5-1 beating they received there last season.

Hosts Liverpool are far from the force they were last season and lie in 11th place in the league table due to some indifferent performances this term.

Arsenal are much the same, however summer signing Alexis Sanchez has proved to be worth his price tag as he has inspired his side time and time again since arriving from Barcelona.

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Sanchez has a total of nine Premier League goals this year and has laid on five assists for his teammates. An impressive season so far from the Chilean.

Liverpool have yet to fill the void left by Luis Suarez, who joined Barcelona this summer. Which in turn allowed Sanchez to join Arsenal.

The Reds have lost their talisman, and with it their title hopes. Last week’s 3-0 loss at Old Trafford leaves them needing a result against the Gunners.

Liverpool look low on confidence and defensively look weak. However, so do Arsenal and this could be an early Christmas present for neutrals as a result.

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This is a tie that has always produced drama, and of course Anfield was the scene of the 4-4 that saw Andrey Arshavin score all four for the Gunners as Arsenal sneaked a point in 2009.

Last year’s 5-1 Liverpool win saw six goals in what was another memorable game, though not so much for fans of Arsenal.

Liverpool have lost four of their last seven in the league and were recently knocked out of the Champions League, so spirits need lifting on Merseyside.

Arsenal have scored in their last nine Premier League games and we don’t see that changing on Sunday.

Score Prediction: Liverpool 1 – 2 Arsenal

Key Player: Raheem Sterling – Many will say that Sanchez will decide this tie, but young Sterling has the potential to open this game up and cause havoc to this makeshift Arsenal defence.

Manchester United enjoying six-game win streak – is Michael Carrick the reason why?

Manchester United have finally got into full swing and Louis Van Gaal looks like a great appointment for the Red Devils, as they sit in third place in the Premier League.

United extended their winning run to six with victory against Liverpool on Sunday and look like a side that can challenge for the title once again.

After a poor start to season by United’s standards they have stormed up the table into third and are just eight points off league leaders Chelsea.

Incredibly, it seems that the return of experienced midfielder, Michael Carrick, has been the catalyst as they have a 100% record when he has started for them this season, compared to a win rate of just 30% when he hasn’t.

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He also possesses the highest pass completion rate of United’s midfielders this term and can even play a role for them at centre-back – where he was positioned for the win on Sunday at Old Trafford.

Carrick has become part of a formidable midfield trio that also involves Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata, both of whom were seemingly heading for the exit door before this fine run of form.

It seems that Van Gaal has decided to structure his line-ups around the pass-master Carrick and his decision has served him well so far.

Louis Van Gaal hasn’t set the world alight in the Premier league as of yet, but his team is sneaking up the table. And with Carrick, they have improved dramatically.

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With a strike force that boasts Robin Van Persie, Radamel Falcao and captain, Wayne Rooney, they could well mount a serious title challenge.

The consistent performances of key players like Michael Carrick will be crucial and the Red Devils will be enjoying what they are seeing at the moment.

Are Manchester United good enough to win the Premier League title?