Leicester City will host a buoyant Manchester United side galvanized by an array of new faces at the King Power Stadium and the foxes will certainly look to build on their formidable start to the season after claiming their first win against Stoke City last week. Nigel Pearson’s side has been proving doubters wrong with impressive draws against top premier league sides in Everton and Arsenal while the win against Stoke City has quite come at the right time for the home side which will only provide them a great deal of confidence ahead of this Sunday afternoon fixture against Manchester United.
Manchester United got themselves their first win of the season, a comprehensive 4-0 victory at home albeit against a struggling Queen’s Park Rangers side, with the new signings very much involved in the thick of things. The game even saw the manager Louis Van Gaal alter his system a bit where he scrapped his yet to prove successful 3-4-1-2 formation to a more conventional 4-4-2 diamond system that clearly gave his struggling defenders the necessary boost they needed to guide the side to their first victory. With all eyes on United and their expensively assembled ‘Gaalacticos’, the gaffer will all the more be determined to get what will be their first away win of the season.
Two players with Manchester United connections – former midfielder Matty James and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, son of Old Trafford legend Peter, could be involved. Nick Powell, currently on loan from from United, is ineligible for selection. Leicester are without defender Zoumana Bakayogo and Matthew Upson is a long-term absentee and veteran midfielder Esteban Cambiasso could make his full debut for the foxes on Sunday. Tom Lawrence signed by the foxes on deadline day, a product of Man United’s youth academy, could also get a few minutes under his belt on Sunday.
Van Gaal confirmed on Friday that Chris Smalling has returned to full fitness, but last week declared that Marouane Fellaini was still “more than a month” and Phil Jones was “maybe three weeks or a month” away from returning to action. Midfielder Michael Carrick has begun running again following ankle ligament surgery but the game is still likely to come too early for the midfielder. Ashley Young, Sam Johnstone, Jesse Lingard, James Wilson and Reece James all also remain on a lengthy injury list. While on loan striker Radamel Falcao could be handed his first start as a Manchester United player much to the delight of the travelling support.
Leicester (4-4-2): Schmeichel; De Laet, Morgan, Moore, Konchesky; Mahrez, Hammond, King, Schlupp; Ulloa, Nugent.
Manchester United (4-3-1-2): De Gea; Rafael, Evans, Blackett, Rojo; Herrera, Blind, Di María; Mata; Falcao, Rooney.
- Gary Neville was the unlikely scorer in a 1-0 win at Old Trafford in April 2004 when the sides last met.
- Away from home, United are unbeaten against Leicester in the Premier League, winning 6 and drawing 2 of 8 previous encounters.
- Wayne Rooney has scored in both of his Barclays Premier League appearances against Leicester City.
- Leicester are only below United in the table on goal difference, but have won only 1 of 16 Premier League meetings between the two clubs.
Leonardo Ulloa – Leicester City
Leonardo Ulloa has had some start to his premier league career scoring 3 goals in 4 matches for the foxes repaying his gaffer’s trust in him that made him break the bank to the sign the Argentine forward himself. The £7million signing from Championship side Brighton has impressed the boss and teammates alike with his relentlessness on the pitch and the ability to pop up at the right time to score vital goals. Add to this an imposing presence in and around the box that makes him a handful for defenders to handle, you’ve got a bargain in this forward. With a shot accuracy of 57%, Ulloa can pose a major threat to those unsettled United defenders and give his side a chance, if he can get the ball in the right areas of the pitch.
Ander Herrera – Manchester United
Manchester United look to have finally signed a midfielder who wants to be on the ball as much as possible in Ander Herrera, a player that exudes an impeccable air of confidence that not only makes him a better player than he actually is, but also lifts the other members in the squad and makes them want to show better. He had a near perfect game against Queen’s Park Rangers where he managed to get himself on the score-sheet and set up another goal for the skipper while constantly involved in the game on both ends of the pitch. With a 90% passing accuracy and an average pass length of 17m, Herrera can get his side another win on the bounce if he could repeat last week’s performance on Sunday.
This should be an interesting contest in the fact that Leicester City will want to cling on to their strengths at home – attack when the time is right while maintaining the defensive shape against the visiting team that is Man United who will want to win – get those 3 points at all costs and keep the momentum going and stay as close as possible to the leaders Chelsea. Such a scenario warrants goals we could see quite a lot of them on Sunday.