Preview: Solskjaer needs to ensure his United side punish Leicester to keep their season on track


Leicester City -v- Manchester United

Premier League

King Power Stadium, Leicester

Sunday 3 February 2019; KO 14:05 GMT

Referee: Mike Dean

Manchester United will be pitted against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side battled back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 against a resurgent Burnley at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening and the following day, Leicester drew 1-1 with Liverpool. This will ensure that Leicester is not seen as an easy picking for United, they are a capable team and are able to frustrate. Solskjaer will need to have his team working hard to beat them.

United have some great players in their team but when any rotation happens, it leaves the side missing those players who were rested. On Tuesday, United missed both Jesse Lingard and Ander Herrera and also Marcus Rashford playing as the main striker, which was a position held by Romelu Lukaku, with Rashford playing in a wide role. United did show their mentality though in battling back from 2-0 down, scoring from the penalty spot and getting a late equaliser.

United will need to be on top of their game against Leicester, otherwise, the past nine matches will all have been for nothing. In the history of both clubs, there have been 127 matches between United and Leicester. United winning 65 times, drawing 29 times and losing 33 times. The last defeat was back in 2014, that 5-3 match which saw United lose their lead. In the nine matches since United are undefeated – winning six and drawing three. Getting back to winning ways is the important things for Solskjaer and United.

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Pre-Match Opinion: The Burnley draw was a loss of two points but also showed that United do not give up

Solskjaer saw his side slump to a 2-0 deficit against Burnley on Tuesday evening, conceding two goals which should really have been stopped from happening. Despite this, United never gave up and kept attacking, creating chances and just never gave up. Under Jose Mourinho, the side gave up too easily. Solskjaer will have been impressed with what he saw. Over the past nine matches, winning eight of them, United have shown that they are a capable team.

Battling back to earn a point, also stopping the first defeat under the Norwegian showed that United have developed into a team that is capable of anything. In the time Solskjaer has managed the club, United have clawed back so many points and put themselves back in contention for a top four place this season. This weekend, United may need other results to put them back in a powerful position once again. Tottenham Hotspur faces Newcastle United, a side which beat Manchester City during the week.

Chelsea faces Huddersfield Town, a team at rock bottom in the Premier League, needing points to stop the inevitable from happening. With Chelsea slumping to a 4-0 defeat at Bournemouth, it is possible that Huddersfield can find a much-needed result against the London club. Then, after United’s match, Manchester City host Arsenal. The North London club may need a miracle to beat City but you can never say never. Whatever happens here, United will, as long as they beat Leicester, be closer to a rival.

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Form: United in much better form than Leicester who has four defeats, one win and a draw in their last six matches

Manchester United: DWWWWW

Burnley 2-2 D, Arsenal 3-1 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 W, Reading 2-0 W, Newcastle United 2-0 W

United have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last three matches, keeping three clean sheets in the three matches previous. Solskjaer’s side have scored 12 goals in the last six matches, conceding just four goals, so there is some positivity. Against Burnley, both Ander Herrera and Jesse Lingard were rested and United missed both. Having both players back in the time would go a long way to this United side heading back to Manchester with another three points in the bag.

Leicester City: DLLLWL

Liverpool 1-1 D, Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-3 L, Southampton 2-1 L, Newport County 2-1 L, Everton 1-0 W, Cardiff City 1-0 L

Leicester City do not look to be in great form when you look at their last six results; four defeats, one draw and one win. However, the resurgence of the side against league leaders, Liverpool on Wednesday has shown their character. In the last five visits to the King Power Stadium, United have lost once, draw twice and won twice, meaning anything can happen. The last time the two teams met at Leicester, it was a 2-2 draw but earlier in the season, at Old Trafford, United won 2-1.

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Team News: Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial to be available for Leicester City clash this weekend

Solskjaer has shown optimism in suggesting that both Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial could be available for the visit to Leicester on Sunday afternoon. Martial missed the 2-2 draw with Burnley and Pogba received a knock in the Premier League match. Marcos Rojo will remain on the sidelines and Chris Smalling, who was fit enough to be on the bench against Burnley, could play a part in the match. Ander Herrera and Jesse Lingard could both be recalled into the side to face Leicester. Solskjaer said:

“We’ve not had a proper session since the game, so hopefully both of them can get through that. I don’t think there’s anything with Paul [Pogba]. Anthony [Martial] has done some rehab work, so he will try a session today, so I would imagine he would be available to be involved. He seemed happy yesterday.”

Claude Puel will be without Daniel Amartey, who has suffered a broken ankle and both Adrien Silva and Andy King moved away from the club, albeit on loan on deadline day. Youri Tielemans, who was signed from AS Monaco on loan could be in with a chance of making his debut against United. Former United player, Jonny Evans, who was paired with Harry Maguire against Liverpool, could face his former club.

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Predicted Starting XI: Rashford to be restored to his leading role against Leicester City after Romelu Lukaku failed to pressure Burnley?

Marcus Rashford should be restored to leading the line for United against Leicester City. Romelu Lukaku, who was preferred over Rashford, failed to pressure the Burnley defence on Tuesday evening. The Belgian needs to start finding form, and fast. I feel that Lukaku slows the attack down with Rashford speeding it up. This is the fluid free-flowing Manchester United that needs to be utilised against the capable teams. Having Lukaku leading the line actually helps the opposition right now.

I would expect both Jesse Lingard, replacing Juan Mata and Ander Herrera, replacing Andreas Pereira, to be back in the team against Leicester. It has been proven that Lingard is better on the right-wing than Mata, who slows attacks down also. Lingard has worked very well with Rashford over the past few weeks and the pair have helped create and score goals, which will be needed against a resurgent Leicester this weekend.

Match Prediction: United have the players to get a result against Leicester, providing they are all fit and ready to battle

United have a great team. The starting players are much better than those in rotation and that is something for the club to sort out this coming summer, but they probably won’t. Keeping players is more cost-effective than getting rid and buying new ones, so we all know this is what will happen in the summer, it has in most of them that have gone by. Glazernomics is the way business is done at the Theatre of Dreams. However, if the right players start, United should have enough to leave the Midlands with three points.

Leicester City 1-2 Manchester United

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