Manchester United will travel to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester City in the Premier League on Thursday evening. Erik Ten Hag’s side have won their last two matches in the league, beating Liverpool 2-1 and Southampton 1-0 after a poor start to the season.
Brendan Rodger’s Leicester side seem to have lost some character this season, still winless in the Premier League and sitting where United once were at the bottom of the Premier League table. It could turn into a bad season for Leicester if they don’t start getting results.
Ahead of the Tuesday and Wednesday evening fixtures, United sit eighth in the Premier League table which is a big difference to where they were after the defeats to Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford which saw United start their worst season since the 1992/93 Premier League season.
Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-3-3
Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Malacia;
Eriksen, Casemiro, Fernandes;
Sancho, Ronaldo, Rashford
Goalkeeper: De Gea
David De Gea kept his first clean sheet in the Premier League against Southampton on Saturday and continued his fine performance against Liverpool in that match. De Gea has been the key to United’s achievements over the past nine seasons, keeping the club in matches at times.
The signing of Martin Dubravka on loan from Newcastle United this summer, when it goes through, will be good for both the Slovakian and De Gea. It could bring out the best of both players this season with Dubravka initially playing in the UEFA Europa League and the Carabao Cup.
If Erik ten Hag can get the best out of Dubravka, he could challenge De Gea for his place as the first-choice goalkeeper, which should stir something in the Spaniard. If it doesn’t, then United will be seeking to find a new goalkeeper next season – Dean Henderson maybe?
Defenders: Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Malacia
United’s defence this season seems to have raised their game with the arrivals of Tyrell Malacia and Lisandro Martinez. There seems to be so many never-has-been footballers out there who have become pundits that are obsessed with the Argentinian’s height, saying he’s too short.
However, he has done well with his aerial challenges, making their ABU thoughts mocked by many on social media. Martinez has the right mentality to play for United. He is a winner and he wants to keep on winning. The attitudes of some players have become stagnant of late.
Diogo Dalot has played well the majority of the time for United, especially in the last two matches. He needs to keep his place, especially with Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s possible exit impending. Raphael Varane also needs to keep his place, the same with Malacia.
Midfield: Eriksen, Casemiro, Fernandes
United’s midfield has been changed this summer. The signing of Christian Eriksen has benefited the Old Trafford club immensely and the signing of Casemiro will make a massive change too. United have gone too long without a proper defensive midfielder.
The days of Fred and Scott McTominay seem to have passed, which is a good thing as it never really worked, if at all. Casemiro’s experience and winning mentality will start to spread through the squad and help United grind out the victories that they will need to challenge this season.
Eriksen and Casemiro could find themselves in a three-man midfield with Bruno Fernandes being the other player. Fresh from scoring the only goal against Southampton, despite not having the best match, he will be hungry for more goals this season, turning his form around.
Attack: Sancho, Ronaldo, Rashford
United’s attack needs to be much better this season. During pre-season, they were scoring goals for fun but now the season has started, that seems to have elapsed. Getting the best out of the forward line is required and Ten Hag seems to be doing that.
The signing of Antony will benefit United, especially with a left footed right-winger being in the squad. However, that might not be possible for this match so Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford should take their places on the flanks, both needing brilliant performances.
Anthony Martial missed the Southampton match after suffering an injury, just after coming back from an injury, playing around 45 minutes of football this season. If he is not ready to start, which seems likely, Cristiano Ronaldo could start, providing a transfer does not materialise prior to the match.
Substitutes: Heaton; Maguire, Shaw; Fred, van de Beek, McTominay; Martial, Elanga, Garnacho
Ten Hag will have five substitutions in this match. He used just three against Southampton and could well need five against Leicester, who pressed Chelsea at the weekend. Not that it is a barometer as Chelsea lost to Southampton on Tuesday evening.
Tom Heaton will be the substitute goalkeeper on the bench. Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw could be brought off the bench if defensive reinforcement is needed, which may not be the case. United have some strength in depth in the squad and it will get better.
In the midfield, Fred, Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay could all play a part against Leicester, if required as the midfield will become tired late in the match. In attack, if fit enough Anthony Martial could be on the bench with Anthony Elanga and Alejandro Garnacho.
Written by John Walker