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Preview: Manchester United to extend unbeaten run to three matches against Leicester City?

Manchester United -v- Leicester City

Premier League 2017/18

Old Trafford, Manchester

Saturday 26th August 2017; KO 17:30 BST

Live on BT Sport

Manchester United face their third battle of the new Premier League season, taking on Leicester City at Old Trafford on Saturday evening. Jose Mourinho’s side have had a great start to the season, dominating matches, scoring eight goals without reply, the majority of those coming from the midfield, the wing even one from a defender. United have started the season in great form really putting the 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup behind them, concentrating on what matters, launching a title challenge in the league this season. United finished sixth in the Premier League last season, missing out on the UEFA Champions League, at least through their league position so Mourinho’s side had to go on to win the UEFA Europa League, which they did. This season, that cannot happen. Mourinho needs to instill stability into the side, do what Sir Alex Ferguson did at the club, set the levels of expectation; win, win, win.

In his second season at every club he has managed, Mourinho has lifted the league title and that is exactly what he will be aiming for this season. United have the advantage at this moment in time. It is possible that they could be toppled from the summit of the Premier League before they kick off against Leicester on Saturday, but a victory and a good one will return them to the top, possibly until after the first international break of the new season. United found out their fate in the UEFA Champions League this season, being pitted against Benfica, Basel and CSKA Moscow in Group A of the competition, also having an extra match scheduled in the Carabao Cup, facing Burton Albion at Old Trafford, a match which will be played on the 20th September, which is yet to be confirmed.

Leicester City will give United their toughest match of the Premier League season so far, the tactical battles will be the toughest and should see whether United can rest on their laurels heading into the international break, or whether they will still have a lot of work to do in order to challenge this season, which after two matches looks good, but there is 36 left to play. Zlatan Ibrahimovic re-signed for United on Thursday, giving the Old Trafford club another year, which will add extra attacking ability into Mourinho’s squad, also strengthening the depth of the squad, which should make it easier to rotate as the weeks progress. The first three matches of the season seem to be slow and steady – one match a week but when the Champions League and the Carabao Cup start. it will not be that easy playing two matches each week, for the majority of the first half of the season, give or take a few more international breaks, also whether United progress in the League Cup.

Previous Matches: Manchester United and Leicester City will be a tactical battle.

Manchester United and Leicester City have faced each other 124 times in the history of both clubs; the first match was played between Leicester Fosse and Newton Heath on the 22nd September 1894 – a 3-2 victory for the club that later became Manchester United. United have won 63 times, drawn 28 times and lost 33 times. The last defeat was the 5-3 humiliation at the King Power Stadium on the 21st September 2014 with United 3-1 up just before the hour, a penalty levelling the score, Leicester taking the lead then a penalty ending the game. Since that day, United have been undefeated by the former Premier League champions – playing six times, winning four and drawing twice. That is the unbeaten run Jose Mourinho will be looking to extend come Saturday. United have previously had many runs against Leicester; an eleven match unbeaten run commencing on the 15th August 1998 with a 2-2 draw, running all the way until a 1-0 victory on the 13th April 2004. It was over a decade before United faced Leicester again, which was that 5-3 humiliation.

Form: United started the season on top form but could Leicester have something to say about it?

Manchester United had a good pre-season in the United States of America, Norway and Dublin, also heading to Macedonia to contest the UEFA Super Cup, which ended in defeat to Real Madrid. United started the Premier League season in high spirits, putting four goals past West Ham United with Romelu Lukaku scoring a brace, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial also getting on the score sheet. The following week, another 4-0 thrashing, this time of Swansea City, with Eric Bailly, Lukaku, Pogba and Martial on the score sheet. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has assisted four goals in the league so far this season, just two matches in. United top the league, but that could change before the match kicks off at the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday.

Leicester City started their pre-season in Hong Kong, playing twice with a further five matches played in the United Kingdom. Their Premier League season started with a 4-3 defeat to Arsenal in the first Friday night fixture of the new season, a match which saw Leicester come from behind, take the lead (twice) before conceding two goals in the final seven minutes of normal time. It showed why Leicester are a different team this season, or maybe just that Arsenal were worse than they had been, which was possible with their demise. Last weekend, Leicester played their first home match of the season, beating Premier League new boys Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0, taking their first three points of the season. United could have their work cut out for them.

Team News: Injuries coming to an end for United, almost.

Jose Mourinho has seen his squad boosted by the availability of both Luke Shaw and Ashley Young after both came through a 60-minute cameo for the U23’s on Monday evening. Both may not be thrown straight into action needing time to reach their match fitness being that neither played any pre-season games this summer. Marcos Rojo has also returned to training this week, but it is unlikely that he will be ready to play for the next few months but without confirmation from Mourinho. you never know. Both Shaw and Young travelled to the USA as did Rojo, but the pair trained whilst out there with their teammates, Rojo is probably not that far into his recovery and when he is ready, he will be tested in the U23 league. United will also be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who himself is recovering from his knee injury. Leicester will be without Vicente Iborra, Wes Morgan, Robert Huth for the visit to Old Trafford. There is a slight doubt that Kelechi Iheanacho, Danny Drinkwater (a target for Chelsea) and Harry Maguire could miss the match too. Not great news for Craig Shakespeare, but things can change in the time leading up to the match.

Predicted Starting XI: Mourinho to demonstrate his strength-in-depth against Leicester City?

Match Prediction: Manchester United to run riot and extend unbeaten run at (fortress) Old Trafford?

Manchester United 3-0 Leicester City

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