The two sides enter this fixture with very different atmospheres surrounding each club. Utd are all doom and gloom; from the Pogba transfer saga over the summer to their less than convincing start to the season, the Red Devils have lost much of the early optimism that surrounded the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjær. Leicester, meanwhile, have a spring in their step; they’re unbeaten and beginning to find their feet under Brendan Rodgers.
The term “injury crisis” is often bandied around without a great deal of justification. But in the case of Man Utd right now, it’s safe to say an injury crisis is looming. There are concerns over both full-backs, with particular concern over new signing – and one of the few bright lights in this early stage of the season – Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who was forced to withdraw from the recent England squad; Jesse Lingard was also sent home by the Three Lions with illness. Paul Pogba didn’t make the France squad due to an ankle injury and Anthony Martial missed the last fixture due to a thigh issue.
Injury concerns aside, Utd have not looked a tidy outfit even with their strongest XI on show thus far this season. Last time out against Southampton they were unable to capitalise when Saints were reduced to 10 men, prior to that they suffered a home defeat to Crystal Palace. Ole Gunnar Solskjær will be hoping that new-signing Daniel James can continue the promising start that he’s made to his Utd career and that some of the players sidelined with minor injuries can make it back into the starting line-up.
Ordinarily, remaining undefeated after just four games wouldn’t be considered the most impressive achievement. But when the only other sides to match such a feat are Liverpool and Manchester City, it’s ok to feel yourself a little. And under Brendan Rodgers, that’s exactly what the Foxes are beginning to do.
With Jamie Vardy leading the line, Leicester are still as devastating on the counter-attack as ever. However, with Tielemans and Maddison firmly established in the side, Leicester have now added some extra dimensions to their game. Thanks to the creativity of the two youngsters – and the ability of both to play defence-splitting passes – Leicester are now better equipped than ever to operate against the low block just as well as on the counter. Against Utd at Old Trafford, they’ll no doubt be expecting to see less of the ball. But should Utd do what teams short of confidence tend to do, and retreat towards their own box, Leicester will feel confident of breaking them down.
Leicester City have an appalling record at Old Trafford and have not won at the home of Manchester United since 1998, but Palace didn’t exactly have a great record either and look what they were able to do. Times are changing and Utd are no longer the juggernaut they once were; their squad far from being the envy of the league – one could argue that in Chilwell, Ndidi, Tielemans, Maddison and Vardy, Leicester have 5 players that would make it into the Utd starting XI. With that in mind, we’re backing Leicester to do a Palace and beat Utd, with a correct score of 1-2 at 11/1 (12.00).
*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing.