Whenever Manchester United seem to be hitting some form, that’s the moment when they prove you wrong. And just when you expect them to do well, they falter. And that’s what happened in the mid week too. A majority of the people were expecting United to beat PSV Eindhoven and assure themselves of a spot in the knock out stages of the Champions League, they ended up drawing the game 0-0, making the task of qualification more than just tricky.
And when it comes to the Premier League, another stiff task awaits them, if the Red Devils want to top the pile once again. It’s Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City they’d be up against in what promises to be a rather intriguing game. It doesn’t promise to be entertaining though and we very well know the reason for it.
United did win their previous away game, that being at Vicarage Road against Watford. It was a win United had to fight for until the end and Watford gave them a run for their money for all three points. As far as the Foxes are concerned, they picked up a dominant 3-0 win over struggling Newcastle the last time they took to the pitch at St. James’ park. Leicester have looked more hungry and engaging than Man United throughout the season, considering United’s incapabilities to score freely.
United have recovered from an injury derailment as Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney are now fit to feature, after starting against PSV in midweek but still, Louis van Gaal’s men have some injury concerns going into the clash. Both Ander Herrera and Phil Jones are doubts to feature while the trio of Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick and Luke Shaw won’t play.
On the other hand, Leicester have a more un-crowded medical room, with all players fit to play apart from former United play Matty James as he continues his recovery from a knee injury. There were some concerns regarding Vardy’s fitness, but Ranieri has clarified his presence
Leicester possible starting lineup: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs; Drinkwater, Kante, Albrighton, Mahrez; Ulloa, Vardy
Man Utd possible starting lineup: De Gea; Young, Smalling, Jones, Blind; Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger; Lingard, Rooney, Mata; Martial
The eight-goal thriller will long be etched in the minds of both Leicester and United fans alike, but both would have different associations to it. It was a 5-3 win for Leicester, and it came after they were 3-1 down and United were flying, after goals from Ander Herrera, Angel di Maria and Robin van Persie but the heroics of David Nugent, Leonardo Ulloa and Jamie Vardy had left United reeling.
United had avenged a bit of that loss after a 3-1 win over the Foxes at Old Trafford in the reverse fixture. Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao had got the goals, apart from a Wes Morgan own goal. Marcin Wasilewski had pulled one back during the fag end of the game.
United have dominated the fixture in the past and have won a total of 10 times in 11 outings against Leicester City.
It would be an acid test for United, who have the meanest defense in the league. They would be up against one of the most threatening attacks in the league, a one full of exuberance, expansiveness and energy. The likes of Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez have given an impetus of energy and zeal to Leicester’s attack and the Vardy- Smalling battle would be a one to watch out for.
But more than that, it would be United’s attack that would steal some attention. It’s come under a lot of criticism and scrutiny with a majority of it not clicking. Lack of ideas in the final third and incisiveness is something that is letting United down big time and the fans expressed their discontent by booing the side at Old Trafford in mid week.
The game promises to be an interesting one but not a gripping one. It won’t be a one full of goals and they would few of them. But, I would fancy a 1-1 draw.