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Preview: A win or draw for United will secure Champions League; the Foxes to be tamed?

Leicester City -v- Manchester United

Premier League

King Power Stadium, Leicester

Sunday 26 July 2020, KO 16:00 BST

Referee: Martin Atkinson Assistants: Lee Betts, Constantine Hatzidakis 

Fourth Official: Oliver Langford Replacement Official: Robert Merchant

VAR: Paul Tierney Assistant VAR: Peter Kirkup

Manchester United will face Leicester City at the King Power Stadium in the final Premier League match of the season on Sunday afternoon. After their 1-1 draw with West Ham United on Wednesday and Chelsea’s 5-3 defeat to Liverpool, if saw United going into third place in the league, therefore in with a chance of achieving UEFA Champions League football next season, providing they at least draw with Leicester.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking a victory in the final match of the season, which should keep United in third even if Chelsea beat Wolverhampton Wanderers. Brendan Rodger’s side could be the side to lose out this season, staying in the top four for a long period time but falling out of those places when it matters because of poor form. Not all that long ago Leicester had a big lead over United.

Form: Three defeats in the last six for Leicester just one defeat in the last six for United. This match will define UEFA Champions League from UEFA Europa League – probably.

Manchester United: DLWDWW

West Ham United 1-1 D, Chelsea 3-1 L, Crystal Palace 2-0 W, Southampton 2-2 D, Aston Villa 3-0 W, Bournemouth 5-2 W

Leicester City: LWLDWL

Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 L, Sheffield United 2-0 W, Bournemouth 4-1 L, Arsenal 1-1 D, Crystal Palace 3-0 W, Everton 2-1 L

Top Scorers: Vardy is the Premier League top scorer with 23 goals with Rashford and Martial six behind on 17 goals in the league. *0 goals scored by Leicester this season with United scoring 106.

Manchester United Goals: 22 – Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, 17 – Mason Greenwood, 9 – Bruno Fernandes, 5 – Odion Ighalo, Scott McTominay, 4 – Daniel James, 3 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, 2 – Fred, Own Goal, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United may not have flattered themselves in their last three or four matches but they have, most of the time, ground out positive results – apart from the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea which was their first defeat in 20 matches. United have it all to win this weekend, a win or a draw will secure UEFA Champions League football for them, which could ensure this summer is a good one for the club.

Leicester City Goals: 23 – Jamie Vardy, 10 – Kelechi Iheanacho, 9 – James Maddison, 8 – Ayoze Pérez, 7 – Harvey Barnes, 5 – Youri Tielemans, 4 – Ricardo Pereira, 3 – Ben Chilwell, Demarai Gray, 2 – Jonny Evans, Wilfred Ndidi, 1 – Hamza Choudhury, James Justin, Dennis Praet, Çaglar Söyüncü

Leicester have not really been in good form recently which is why they have slipped out of the top four of the Premier League at the most important stage of the season. Three defeats in their last six matches is a problem and Brendan Rodgers will be worried about this last match. United have it all to win with Leicester having it all to lose. United are unbeaten against Leicester in nearly six years, which is another problem.

Team News: United could be without four players with two subject to late fitness tests whilst Leicester will be missing six; five injured and one suspended.

Solskjaer could be without Axel Tuanzebe, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw and Eric Bailly for the visit of the King Power Stadium on Sunday afternoon. However, both Shaw and Bailly will be given time to play themselves into contention to face the Foxes with late fitness tests which could be a big help for United, who have two fit and experienced central defenders at this stage of the season. Solskjaer, speaking to the official Manchester United website, said:

“We’re going to give them as much time as possible. I’m not going to rule anything out. You’d expect players to feel it towards the end of a season anyway.

“This season has been a strange one as everyone knows. We’ve had five weeks playing now and all teams have got issues whether it be mental or physical injury-wise.

“We’re in a very good position going into the last game even though I’m sure some of the players are feeling it but now is not the time to look for pains and aches. Now is the time to get 90 minutes in.”

Rodgers will have six players out of this match which will be a blow for the club, especially with the fact that they will need to beat United for the first time in nearly six years to secure their place in the Champions League. Ricardo Barbosa Pereira, Daniel Amartey, Christian Fuchs, Ben Chilwell, and James Maddison will all miss the match due to injury, unless for former Liverpool manager is bluffing. Çaglar Söyüncü is suspended.

Predicted Starting XI: United to weather their injury storm and field a strong XI to take on Leicester and earn Champions League football next season.

Solskjaer might want to make changes bu the fact that this is the final match of the season, well for 10 days before the UEFA Europa League recommences should be a good indication for United that they will get some rest, many for a bit longer with Solskjaer expected to name a much weakened side against LASK – considering they won 5-0 in the first leg. I think Luke Shaw will be back on Sunday, which would be a boost for United and Solskjaer giving United good stead to get a good result.

Match Prediction: United unbeaten against Leicester for nearly six years winning 18 of their 27 Premier League matches. This match is more important than keeping that record alive though.

United and Leicester have played 27 times in the Premier League with United winning 18, drawing seven and losing twice. United have scored 58 goals conceding 22. United have kept 13 clean sheets with the Foxes keeping two. United have won three penalties, scoring two with the Foxes winning two and scoring both. Both teams have been shown 32 yellow cards with United getting one red card and Leicester getting two.

The two sides last met on the 14 September 2019 at Old Trafford and United won 1-0 with Marcus Rashford scoring an eighth minute penalty to take all three points for United. In this fixture last season, United won 1-0 with Rashford again scoring the only goal of the game in the ninth minute. United have not lost to Leicester since the 21 September 2014, a 5-3 defeat at the King Power Stadium.

Leicester City 0-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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