Preview: United need to tame the Foxes before the biggest week of their season; Rashford to score more goals?

United need to win to keep the pressure on Arsenal and City

Manchester United -v- Leicester City

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Sunday 19 February 2023, KO 14:00 GMT

Manchester United welcome Leicester City to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. United sit five points adrift of both league leaders Manchester City and second-placed Arsenal at this stage of the season and with both teams playing prior to United’s match on Sunday, could either see one or both teams eight points clear or one or both dropping points, either with a six point or still five points clear of United. If the latter happens, United need to capitalise.

United drew 2-2 with Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the UEFA Europa League play off round on Thursday evening, which will mean a feisty affair at the Theatre of Dreams next Thursday to find the victor of this match to reach the round of 16 stage of the competition. United will need to capitalise against Leicester too so they can keep their top four dreams alive in the Premier League this season. United sit five points clear of fourth-placed Newcastle United.

This means that United cannot end up lower that third this weekend so they have a cushion in their favour at this time but Newcastle do have a game in hand over them. They face Liverpool in the late kick off on Saturday evening, so that will be a big test for the team which has five draws in their last six matches. Leicester sit 13th in the league so far this season, six points ahead of the relegation zone but still close enough to be sucked into a relegation battle.

Manchester United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Barcelona 2-2 D, Leeds United 0-0 WDL, Leeds United 2-2 D, Crystal Palace 2-1 W, Nottingham Forest 2-0 W, Reading 3-1 W

Goals: 22 – Marcus Rashford, 7 – Bruno Fernandes, 6 – Anthony Martial, 5 – Antony, 4 – Casemiro, Fred, Own Goal, Jadon Sancho, 3 – Alejandro Garnacho, Cristiano Ronaldo, 2 – Christian Eriksen, Scott McTominay, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw, Wout Weghorst

Assists: 9 – Christian Eriksen, 7 – Marcus Rashford, 6 – Bruno Fernandes, 5 – Casemiro, 4 – Alejandro Garnacho, Luke Shaw, 2 – Diogo Dalot, Anthony Elanga, Fred, Anthony Martial, Cristiano Ronaldo, 1 – Antony, Scott McTominay, Facundo Pellistri, Jadon Sancho, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Wout Weghorst

Leicester. City – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 W, Aston Villa 4-2 W, Walsall 1-0 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-2 D, Nottingham Forest 2-0 L, Newcastle United 2-0 L

Goals: 9 – James Maddison, 8 – Harvey Barnes, 5 – Kelechi Iheanacho, 4 – Youri Tielemans, Jamie Vardy, 3 – Patson Daka, 2 – Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, 1 – Marc Albrighton, Timothy Castagne, James Justin, Nampalys Mendy, Ayoze Pérez, Dennis Praet, Tetê

Assists: 5 – James Maddison, Jamie Vardy, 4 – Kelechi Iheanacho, 3 – Timothy Castagne, Patson Daka, 2 – Harvey Barnes, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, 1 – Marc Albrighton, Nampalys Mendy, Ayoze Pérez, Dennis Praet, Harry Souttar, Luke Thomas, Youri Tielemans

Previous Meetings & Connections

United and Leicester have met 33 times in the Premier League with United winning 20 matches, drawing nine matches and Leicester winning four. United have scored 67 goals, winning four penalties, scoring three. Leicester have scored 31 goals, winning two penalties, scoring both. Last season, United lost 4-2 at the King Power Stadium but drew 1-1 at Old Trafford. This season, United have already beaten Leicester 1-0 at the King Power Stadium.

United have kept 15 clean sheets with Leicester keeping two. Discipline has been an issue in this fixture with United players shown 46 yellow cards and one red card and Leicester players shown 38 yellow cards and three red cards. United are in good form at this time, still fighting in four competitions with their fate in the Europa League to be found out on Thursday – three days prior to the Carabao Cup final where Erik ten Hag and United will go head to head with Newcastle.

John Curtis, Mark Robins, Danny Drinkwater, Matty James, Ron-Robert Zieler, Colin Gibson, Robbie Savage, Keith Gillespie, Ritchie De Laet, Tom Cleverley, Jonny Evans, Tom Lawrence, Michael Keane, Jesse Lingard, Nick Powell, Danny Simpson and Harry Maguire have played for both clubs. Cleverley, Evans and Lingard seem be the most successful, being that they have won things at United. Maguire is the most expensive though, despite his future being up in the air.

Team News

Donny van de Beek and Christian Eriksen are the two long-term absentees due to injury for United. Van de Beek will not play again this season and Eriksen could be back before the end of the season. Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay could both be back in action for United next week, unless Ten Hag has had some good news in the last day or so. Antony could return this weekend from injury, which would add more to United’s attack if he makes it in time.

Casemiro is suspended for the clash with Leicester which will keep him fresh for the clash with Barcelona at Old Trafford in the Europa League next week. Lisandro Martinez and Marcel Sabitzer were both suspended for the first leg against Barcelona, so they will be fresh to face Leicester this weekend, giving United a slightly fresher midfield. With just one substitute used against Barcelona on Thursday, Ten Hag will be able to utilise the likes of Facundo Pellistri, if needed.

James Justin and Ryan Bertrand are the long-term absentees for Leicester due to injury – both will miss the clash with United. Jonny Evans, Youri Tielemans and Boubakary Soumare have all been sidelined recently with the trio having a 50% chance of being available to travel to the Theatre of Dreams this weekend. Leicester have been in good form in recent weeks and will be up for the task of taking on United, who will be fatigued after their clash with Barcelona.

Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1

De Gea;

Dalot, Varane. Martinez, Shaw;

Sabitzer, Fred;

Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford;

Weghorst

Predicted Leicester City Starting XI – 4-2-3-1

Ward;

Castagne, Souttar, Faes, Kristiansen;

Mendy, Dewsbury-Hall;

Tete, Maddison, Barnes;

Iheanacho

Match Prediction

Statistically, United are the best team in the Premier League this season from match day three – after losing to both Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford in the opening two fixtures this season. United have amassed 46 points in the league from the third match – one point more than Manchester City and Arsenal and nine points more than Newcastle United. It shows that United have turned a massive corner with Erik ten Hag at the helm this season – but people still deny it.

Leicester City have scored eight goals in their last two matches, conceding three with Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa their last opposition. United will need to be weary of their goal threat, but I think United have a better defence than both Spurs and Villa – so there is a slight advantage there. United will need to be at the top of their game. With the likelihood of Antony returning from injury this weekend, it could give United more experience in attack to grind the win.

United have already beaten Leicester 1-0 this season at the King Power Stadium with Jadon Sancho scoring the only goal of that game. In the fixture at Old Trafford last season, it was a 1-1 draw between the two sides with Kelechi Iheanacho opening the scoring in the 63rd minute of the match and Fred equalising three minutes later. United could do with keeping the pressure on Manchester City, Arsenal – above them and Newcastle United and Spurs – below them.

Manchester United 2-0 Leicester City

Written by John Walker

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About John Walker 1921 Articles
I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.