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Prediction: Man United vs Leicester

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

Under-pressure Manchester United prepare to host reigning Premier League champions Leicester City as Jose Mourinho and his side continue the search for form that would make all of the summer investments worthwhile.

Manchester United

Summer behind us brought big expectations to Old Trafford, with fans relishing the opportunity to see their heavily bolstered team lead by a new manager. The Special One proclaimed his desire to get Manchester United back to the top and was rewarded with his friend Zlatan Ibrahimovic and world-record signing Paul Pogba as the most prominent arrivals during the transfer market. Early signs were promising as Red Devils notched three wins on the trot, but the last couple of weeks exposed weaknesses when Mourinho’s team succumbed to three-match losing run that was initiated at the Manchester Derby. Having lost 2-1 to Pep Guardiola’s team, United suffered a 1-0 beating at Feyenoord and 3-1 at Watford. Mourinho singled out a couple of his players as the ones to be blamed for poor performances, but failed to put the blame on captain Wayne Rooney who has been one of the most talked about United players in England over the last couple of weeks. England international is not the same player anymore and it was visible once more during the week, in United’s stuttering 3-1 EFL Cup win at Northampton. One of the brightest spots in United’s underwhelming campaign has been Marcus Rashford, the 18-year-old striker who got his name on the score sheet once again this week.

Team News

Phil Jones remains the long-term absentee for the home side, while Henrick Mkhitaryan is another name on the injury list.

Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial have both picked knocks and will be unavailable for selection due to their groin strain and concussion, respectively.

Leicester City

Having gone through a difficult summer during which Claudio Ranieri successfully guarded off his most prized possessions – Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez – the Foxes had a slow start to the new season as they needed some time to get used to a life without their powerful midfield engine N’Golo Kante, who has been sorely missed at the beginning of the season. Community Shield defeat to Manchester United was followed by a 2-1 Premier League loss at Hull with back-to-back blows raising plenty of questions over Leicester’s ability to cope with the pressure during their reigning season. Ranieri’s men refused to back down under pressure despite suffering another huge blow, 4-1 defeat at Anfield, since they bounced back with successive 3-0 victories over Club Brugge in the Champions League and against Burnley in the Premier League. During the week Ranieri’s men went through another disappointment as they were beaten 4-2 after extra time by Chelsea in a pulsating EFL Cup tie which could have gone both ways. Claudio Ranieri is making a good use of his summer signing and Foxes are likely to be a respectable opposition once again in the 2016-17 season.

Team News

Marcin Wasilewski is undergoing his red card suspension and will be unavailable for selection at Old Trafford.

Matthew James, first-choice goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and Kante’s replacement Nampalys Mendy are all suffering injury problems and are out of the game against United as well.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Man United lost three games in eight days prior to their EFL Cup midweek win
  • Red Devils failed to beat Leicester in their last two Premier League meetings
  • Ranieri’s men lost four of their last five games on the road
  • Marcus Rashford scored 6 goals in last 6 matches for club and country
  • Leicester City are yet to win against Man United at Old Trafford

Conclusion

Manchester United did manage to recover during the week, but Jose Mourinho’s men will once again be under huge pressure against the Champions at the weekend. Both sides endured mixed fortunes at the beginning of the new season and the game at Old Trafford will be a perfect chance to kick-start their respective campaigns.

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

Thu 22 Sep, 2016
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