This weekend will see another frantic round of fixtures where Claude Puel’s Leicester City will aim to pile more misery on Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United.
The Foxes have enjoyed an upturn in form since the Frenchman took over from Craig Shakespeare. Leicester have won 5 of the last 10 games, drawing 2 and losing 3 – they sit comfortably 8th in the league – only five points separating the 2015/16 Champions and Tottenham Hotspur. However, they will go into this game on the back of a penalty shootout defeat against Manchester City in midweek and should be upbeat and determined to put that disappointment behind with a good result on Saturday. The home side had won four matches in a row before last weekend’s surprise 3-0 defeat at the King Power Stadium to relegation-threatened Crystal Palace.
Manchester United are suffering another wobble again in the season. The Red Devils failed to defend the League Cup after going out in midweek away to Championship side Bristol City, whose spirited performance thoroughly merited the historic result. Mourinho’s side are still hanging by a thread by all accounts when it comes to the chase for the league title, largely held by a rock-solid record at Old Trafford.
Their results away from home have gradually improved as they racked up consecutive wins on the road against the likes of Arsenal, Watford and West Bromwich Albion in the last few weeks and it will be interesting to see if they could add a good Leicester City side to that list.
The visitors ran out 2-0 winners when the sides met at Old Trafford in August thanks to second-half strikes from substitutes Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini.
United will still be without Eric Bailly who is set to miss the next two or three months to undergo surgery on his injured ankle, while captain Michael Carrick and fellow midfielder Marouane Fellaini have been absent for a while.
Meanwhile, Leicester City are again expected to be without experienced defender Robert Huth with a foot injury and former Manchester United midfielder Matty James with an Achilles problem.
- United have lost just two of the 23 Premier League encounters between the sides – winning 15 and drawing six.
- Mourinho has won all 4 encounters against Leicester since he took over the reins at Old Trafford.
- Jesse Lingard has scored in each of his last three Premier League away matches, netting four goals in total.
Riyad Mahrez – Leicester City
Alongside Demarai Gray, Riyad Mahrez is the most talented footballer that Leicester City have got in their ranks. The 26-year old has scored and assisted a combined total of 9 goals in 17 starts – showing he is approaching his very best in 2017/18 under the new manager.
Gifted with a natural ability to go both ways with the ball and a left foot as good as anyone’s in the country, it’s imperative that he is given the ball in the right areas where he could really hurt United’s back-line which has looked shaky in the last few weeks.
Paul Pogba – Manchester United
Paul Pogba needs little introduction as everyone is aware of his quality and the range of skills the midfielder could pull out on a given day. United’s struggles without Paul Pogba is evident from the contrast in results and in particular – performances with him compared to without him.
With Paul Pogba in the side, the Red Devils score almost twice as much as they manage without him, defend better and as a result win a much higher percentage of games. Very few players can have the impact the size that Pogba does on an already strong squad like Manchester United that shows the calibre of player in question. It’s up to him to show that in the coming weeks.
Manchester United’s strong away form to continue.