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Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Cavani, Rashford, Fernandes and Pogba key to beating Liverpool; Greenwood on the bench

Manchester United face Liverpool in the match that was rescheduled because of the protest against the Glazers which stopped the team leaving the Lowry Hotel in Manchester and also saw supporters enter the Theatre of Dreams when ended up with the match being postponed on safety grounds. Old Trafford now resembles a battle ground with barriers and fences erected to stop the same thing from happening on Thursday evening. United confirmed their place in next seasons UEFA Champions League on Sunday after their 3-1 victory over Aston Villa and will complete their three Premier League matches in five days with this match.

United were beaten 2-1 by Leicester City and if it was not for Caglar Soyuncu’s header in the 66th minute of the match, the club would have struggled to beat United. After the match, Liverpool supporters were moaning about match fixing, despite United using players from their squad list (25 players), which can also include as many U21 players as the manager chooses. You would think that United cost Liverpool UEFA Champions League football next season, when in actual fact, it was Liverpool that did that by becoming one hit wonders and having a very poor season as the Premier League champions, which is now a distant memory.

How United have faired against Liverpool in the Premier League.

United and Liverpool have played 58 times in the history of the Premier League and have a rivalled history. United have won 28 times, drawing 15 and losing 15. The Red Devils have scored a total of 77 goals with Liverpool scoring 63. United have been awarded five penalties, scoring three of them with Liverpool being awarded six and scoring five of them. United have kept 18 clean sheets with Liverpool keeping 15. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown 104 yellow cards with nine red cards whereas Liverpool have been shown 90 yellow cards and seven red cards. More fierce rivalry to be expected this weekend?

Earlier this season, United ground out a fraught 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League, knowing that they would face the club just a week later in the Emirates FA Cup at Old Trafford. In that match, United won 3-2 with Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes scoring the goals for United and Mohamed Salah scoring a brace for Liverpool. Last season at Anfield, United lost 2-0 but drew 0-0 at Old Trafford. This weekend, United will be seeking to defeat Liverpool, which might even dent their chances of a top four place this season, with them, at the time of writing, in sixth and four points adrift of Chelsea.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Liverpool in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Thursday evening…

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson

Dean Henderson looks to be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s choice for the number one goalkeeper at United heading into the future. Some supporters do not think he will do a good job as they are against change. David De Gea has been calamitous over the past few seasons, but has shown his ability this season, especially against AS Roma in the UEFA Europa League semi-final second lag last week. But changes happen in football and we are powerless to stop it. Henderson is a great goalkeeper but some foreign fans seem to preach xenophobia in an English club having English players, which is part of the ruled and the identity of English football clubs. Henderson has my support moving forward but it will be hard seeing De Gea leave too, if he does.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw

Harry Maguire looks unlikely to play in any of the remaining Premier League matches after his ankle ligament injustice sustained against Aston Villa at the weekend. It is a major blow to United’s defence – even the people that have slated Maguire for the entire season are upset. You just cannot make it up. It is clear that he is the glue that binds this defence together and without him, United are much weaker. Against Liverpool, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw should all be recalled into the team with Axel Tuanzebe keeping his place after his performance against Leicester City, which showed him as the best defender in that defence. Tuanzebe deserves to play more football and his time could be now.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Fred

No matter what anyone says, Scott McTominay and Fred are Solskjaer’s go-to players for the pivot positions in the centre of midfield. Many will suggest that McTominay is not a player that United need and they he should be sold but he is a player that gives his all. Some fans only want the best midfielders at the club but Manchester United is not a galactic club and should never be that. McTominay has seven goals to his name this season, equaling Anthony Martial’s efforts – who was having a bad season before his knee injury. Fred is a player that could well be replaced in the summer, as he’s not a typical United player and seems clueless at times but in terms of work rate, he gives his all which is good to see. He should be lauded for that.

Attacking Midfield: Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba

This is the area where the majority of the goals are this season. Usually, you will see Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford occupy these positions but as Greenwood played the majority of the match on Tuesday, he should be on the bench for this match. Those three players are responsible for 59 goals and 37 assists so far this season. With Greenwood on the bench, Rashford will move to the right with Paul Pogba filling in on the left, which is where he has played a few times this season. Pogba has six goals and seven assists to his name this season, which is a positive output considering the problems he has had. United should have enough experience and firepower here to cause Liverpool some problems.

Forwards: Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani, fresh from signing his new contract at the club, even if it is just an extra season, will be in full confidence ahead of the Liverpool clash. He played just over 20 minutes in the defeat to Leicester and it was only the second in eight matches that he had not scored. Having scored 15 goals and assisted four times so far this season, he is a player that knows that he’s the best striker at the club and can also create chances and open up ore space for other players to find the back of the net. He is lethal with his headers and will be a tricky player for Liverpool’s back four to contend with. Cavani will be looking forward to facing Liverpool at the Theatre of Dreams just as much as he will to play inside a full stadium, which could happen next season.

Substitutes: David De Gea; Eric Bailly, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Amad Diallo, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek; Mason Greenwood

Solskjaer heavily rotated his squad against Leicester, although it was not a bad team, or a youthful one at that. The fallout from that has been funny to watch with Trevor Sinclair wanting a points deduction but when Manchester City did similar, twice, nothing was said at all. Whatever makes these people relevant, right. David De Gea will be back on the bench, should he be needed. In defence, Eric Bailly, Alex Telles and Brandon Williams will be available. In midfield, Juan Mata, Amad Diallo, Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek will be there, should they be needed and in attack, Mason Greenwood will be the only attacking player on the bench. United have enough firepower, experience and ability to get a rise out of Liverpool. Who will they blame then?

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Greenwood and Diallo combine against Leicester, despite United losing 2-1

Manchester United were beaten 2-1 by Leicester City in the Premier League. Luke Thomas opened the scoring in the tenth minute of the match with Mason Greenwood equalising five minutes later, assisted by Amad Diallo, who made his Premier League debut alongside Anthony Elanga this evening. Leicester managed to find another goal through Caglar Soyuncu in the 66th minute of the match, which was enough to get them the win, which funnily enough put pressure one Liverpool’s hopes of achieving UEFA Champions League football this season, so it is not all bad.

Despite the ten changes made to the team from the victory over Villa, United started well and many of the younger players were showing good signs of technical ability in the game. That said, Leicester broke forward and opened the scoring in the tenth minute of the match with 19-year-old Luke Thomas scoring his first Premier League goal of the season, assisted by Youri Tielemans. United looked to get straight back into the swing of things though with Mason Greenwood scoring his seventh Premier League goal of the season, assisted by Amad Diallo, which was a good start for the Ivorian. Leicester should not write United off.

It was a pretty fair result that both teams got a goal in the early stages of the match but there was not really many great moments that came after the goals. United, obviously, looked like a team that had not played together before, which was the case for many of the players on the pitch but Leicester did not really show an advantage, which much have been a worry for Brendan Rodgers. Surely a team like Leicester should have been pressuring United a lot more than they did. United had the most possession in the match, having one shot on goal, which was on target and was turned into a goal. Leicester has three shots, one on target – their goal.

At the end of the half, it was 1-1 all between the two sides with Leicester needing to do a lot more to get something from this match. There was still a chance that they could drop out of the UEFA Champions League places in the league, playing 36 matches this season with Liverpool having two games in hand, which would add more pressure, especially if United won this match. The draw would be acceptable for United, who sit seven points clear of Leicester – with a game in hand, in their bid to secure second place in the league this season. Edinson Cavani was warming up at the end of the first half, which was not a good sign for the Foxes.

There were no changes by either side at the start of the second half. Kelechi Iheanacho had a shot on goal, assisted by Marc Albrighton in the first minute of the match but the shot was blocked. Wilfred Ndidi also had a shot but David De Gea made the save. In the 54th minute of the match, Greenwood had a shot after the ball was played in by Alex Telles. However, the shot was blocked. Ndidi had another shot two minutes later, but Leicester would need to try a lot harder to breach the United defence. Axel Tuanzebe was pretty clued up against Iheanacho, which was great to see from the fringe player.

Solskjaer was seeking to change things up after the hour mark of the match with Cavani and Marcus Rashford getting ready to come on. Leicester had tried to pepper the United goal with chances from Iheanacho and Ndidi before any changes were made by Leicester did not seemingly have an advantage. Cavani and Rashford replaced Greenwood and Anthony Elanga in the 66th minute of the match. As soon as the change was made, Leicester took the lead through Caglar Soyuncu, which was a shame. United now needed to get back up to speed in the match, coming from behind for the second time in the game.

It was a shame United were behind again in this match but looking at the players on the pitch, Leicester should really be taking more advantage. This will be something that many journalists will not talk about as United are losing, therefore that is the bigger story. Solskjaer made his final substitution in the 79th minute of the match with Bruno Fernandes replaced Diallo. United had just over ten minutes, plus added time, to find another equaliser and possibly a winner in this match. The fact Leicester were winning was a blow to Liverpool, who could now face a blow in breaking into the Champions League placed this season.

United were trying to get back into the match but the chances they had were not able to change the match. There were three minutes added on at the end of the match and it would seem that Leicester will win this match and Manchester City will be the Premier League champions, needing United to lose to secure that as they could not beat Chelsea at the weekend. I guess that is how the small teams win titles now. United have done well in this match. There was nothing to lose as they have already achieved a top four finish this season. Obviously they would like to finish second, which is still likely.

United will be back in action at 20:15 BST on Thursday 13 May 2021 at Old Trafford as they welcome Liverpool to the Theatre of Dreams following their postponed meeting almost a fortnight ago. United will have three matches left in the Premier League this season and a weekend’s break before they face their penultimate match, again at Old Trafford, this time against already relegated Fulham on Tuesday 18 May 2021 at 18:00 BST. United will hope to be in a position to field weaker teams in the last few matches so they can rest the majority of the players for the UEFA Europa League final which will be played in Gdansk on Wednesday 26 May 2020.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Unable to stop Thomas' effort on goal in the tenth minute. Made a save to deny Iheanacho. The defence were at fault for much of the match, as was expected.

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33 Brandon Williams

Lacked match fitness, but he has not been playing regularly, like he was last season. Seems to play better on the left. Perhaps needs a season on loan.

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3 Eric Bailly

Did well against Vardy, who was largely quiet against United. Bailly needs to do more to become a starter at the club.

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38 Axel Tuanzebe

Finished a lot better than he started. Dealt with Vardy at times. He was the better defender in this defence. Needs to play more. Has the ability - which will get better the more he plays.

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27 Alex Telles

Was unable to provide the same play as Shaw on the left. Targeted by Leicester at times. United rely on the left-back attacking, which did not happen tonight.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Helped to shield the back four as much as he could. He played an effective game. Soyuncu beat him to the ball to head in the winner though. Good to see him play a full game.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Did not get stuck into the game which indicated he needs to play more. He needs to find his form. It has been a tough season for him. He will get there, eventually.

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16 Amad Diallo

Had a good Premier League debut. Saw Thomas' mistake and jumped on the ball to assist for Greenwood to bet the equaliser. It was good to see him play. He was replaced by Fernandes in the 79th minute.

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8 Juan Mata

Played his part in the match and kept the attacking players together at times. United rarely threatened though, even when Cavani and Rashford were on the pitch - they did improve United though.

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36 Anthony Elanga

Offered pace and energy on his Premier League debut. It perhaps came too early for him. He will build on this performance. It was his first time against a full first team. He was replaced by Rashford in the 66th minute of the match.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Scored his 12th goal of the season, which was great to see. He had some moments on the ball but United were short of ability to push Leicester - who should have scored more against this team. Cavani replaced him in the 66th minute.

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Substitutes

21 Edinson Cavani

Replaced Greenwood 66'. Had presence on the pitch and got forward in the right positions. Sadly could not get another goal this season.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Elanga 66'. Came on as Soyuncu scored the winner. Got forward at times but United were not really threatening the Foxes.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Replaced Diallo 79'. Came on for eleven minutes plus added time. Tried to change the game. It was not meant to be for United.

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Goals: Mason Greenwood 15′; Luke Thomas 10′, Caglar Soyuncu 66′

Assists: Amad Diallo 15′, Youri Tielemans 10′, Marc Albrighton 66′

Manchester United: De Gea; Williams, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Telles; Matic, Van de Beek; Diallo (Fernandes 79′), Mata, Elanga (Rashford 66′); Greenwood (Cavani 66′)

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Lindelof, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka; Pogba, McTominay

Bookings: 

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Elanga and Diallo make Premier League debuts against Leicester

Manchester United continue their tough week in the Premier League by welcoming Leicester City to the Theatre of Dreams this evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have already confirmed their place in the top four this season and will play in the UEFA Champions League next season. Brendan Rodgers’ side are not guaranteed anything at this stage and will need to win to make it easier to finish in the top four this season, or face the option of slipping out of the Champions s League places, which is where they want to be. United need to reach 75 points to confirm their second-placed finish in the league this season.

United have progressed this season, no matter what the negative, agenda-driven supporters on social media say. Sometimes when you are that set by an agenda, you do not want to see anything else, therefore believe the agenda. United have already qualified for the Champions League, need five more points to secure second-placed in the league and ended their semi-final hoodoo after reaching the final of the UEFA Europa League where they will face Villarreal on Wednesday 26 May 2021 in Gdansk, Poland. United have scored more than 100 goals this season and look to be on the rise. Don’t let the agenda driven muppets get you down.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Williams, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Telles;

Matic, Van de Beek;

Diallo, Mata, Elanga;

Greenwood

Substitutes:

Henderson; Lindelof, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka; Pogba, Fernandes, McTominay; Cavani, Rashford

Leicester City:

Schmeichel;

Castagne, Fofana, Soyuncu;

Albrighton, Ndidi, Tielemans, Thomas;

Perez;

Iheanacho, Vardy

Substitutes:

Ward; Amartey, Pereira, Fuchs; Maddison, Choudhury, Mendy, Praet, Maswanhise

United and Leicester have played 29 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 19 times, drawing eight times and losing twice. United have scored a total of 62 goals, winning four penalties and scoring three of them. Leicester have scored 24 goals, winning two penalties and scoring both of them. United have kept 14 clean sheets in total against Leicester with the Foxes keeping just two. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 38 yellow cards with one red card also being shown. Leicester have been shown 35 yellow cards with three red cards also being shown. United have an advantage based on these statistics.

United and Leicester met at the King Power Stadium on Boxing Day this season, resulting in a 2-2 draw with Marcus Rashford opening the scoring in the 23rd minute, Harvey Barnes equalising in the 31st minute, Bruno Fernandes restoring United’s lead in the 79th minute. However, an own goal by Axel Tuanzebe in the 85th minute meant the teams took a point each. In this fixture last season, at Old Trafford, United won 1-0 with e penalty scored by Rashford in the eighth minute of the match. United were also beaten by Leicester in the semi-final of the Emirates FA Cup this season, so will be looking to avenge that result on Tuesday.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-3-3] De Gea to captain United? Diallo, Greenwood and Rashford to spearhead attack against Leicester City?

Manchester United continue their tough week in the Premier League by welcoming Leicester City to the Theatre of Dreams on Tuesday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have already confirmed their place in the top four this season and will play in the UEFA Champions League next season. Brendan Rodgers’ side are not guaranteed anything at this stage and will need to win to make it easier to finish in the top four this season, or face the option of slipping out of the Champions s League places, which is where they want to be. United need to reach 75 points to confirm their second-placed finish in the league this season.

United have progressed this season, no matter what the negative, agenda-driven supporters on social media say. Sometimes when you are that set by an agenda, you do not want to see anything else, therefore believe the agenda. United have already qualified for the Champions League, need five more points to secure second-placed in the league and ended their semi-final hoodoo after reaching the final of the UEFA Europa League where they will face Villarreal on Wednesday 26 May 2021 in Gdansk, Poland. United have scored more than 100 goals this season and look to be on the rise. Don’t let the agenda driven muppets get you down.

How United have faired against Leicester City in the Premier League.

United and Leicester have played 29 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 19 times, drawing eight times and losing twice. United have scored a total of 62 goals, winning four penalties and scoring three of them. Leicester have scored 24 goals, winning two penalties and scoring both of them. United have kept 14 clean sheets in total against Leicester with the Foxes keeping just two. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 38 yellow cards with one red card also being shown. Leicester have been shown 35 yellow cards with three red cards also being shown. United have an advantage based on these statistics.

United and Leicester met at the King Power Stadium on Boxing Day this season, resulting in a 2-2 draw with Marcus Rashford opening the scoring in the 23rd minute, Harvey Barnes equalising in the 31st minute, Bruno Fernandes restoring United’s lead in the 79th minute. However, an own goal by Axel Tuanzebe in the 85th minute meant the teams took a point each. In this fixture last season, at Old Trafford, United won 1-0 with e penalty scored by Rashford in the eighth minute of the match. United were also beaten by Leicester in the semi-final of the Emirates FA Cup this season, so will be looking to avenge that result on Tuesday.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Leicester City in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea sat out of the 3-1 victory over Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday after featuring for United in the 3-2 defeat to AS Roma, which earned the club an 8-5 aggregate victory and therefore a place in the UEFA Europa League final against Villarreal on the 26 May 2021 in Gdansk. United will need to rotate players this week, therefore De Gea should start against Leicester City at Old Trafford, in which United will need a win start to secure their second-placed finish in the Premier League this season. De Gea played well in Rome and made some very important saves to keep his side in the game, and therefore win. His experience and class could well be required against Leicester, whose season could be falling apart after their defeat to Newcastle United.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Eric Bailly, Alex Telles

Solskjaer will need to rotate his defence, not only because this is the second of three matches in five day period but because Harry Maguire received an ankle injury against Villa on Sunday. Therefore, Aaron Wan-Bissaka should keep his place at right back with Axel Tuanzebe and Eric Bailly forming a central defensive partnership. Alex Telles could also start at left-back with Luke Shaw getting a rest ahead of the Liverpool clash on Thursday. United have already qualified for the UEFA Champions League next season and need just four points to secure their second-placed position. Not only that, winning could add further pressure to Manchester City’s title charge, which will show whether they are a great team or not, as the media will proclaim.

Midfield: Donny van de Beek, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba

The midfield will be important against Leicester, as it was when they faced them in the FA Cup and were knocked out of the competition. A three-man midfield might be worth fielding in this match and the likes of Donny van de Beek, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba could be the right fit for this match. Matic has not played a lot of minutes this season and seems to be a player to bring on in the late stages of matches to protect a lead and help the defence. However, he has a lot to give and could well help United for a period of time. Of course, he may not last the full 90 minutes with Leicester’s young side pressuring him. Paul Pogba will give his all and Van de Beek will need the regular match time to find his feet at the club.

Forwards: Amad Diallo, Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford

A 4-3-3 formation could be a good change for United at this stage of the season, giving a much stronger midfield, without the pivot. Mason Greenwood could lead the attack as the lone striker in this formation, fresh from his goal against Villa which saw him break Wayne Rooney’s record of 15 goals as a teenager for United, scoring his 16th Premier League goal. Amad Diallo was withdrawn from the match day squad against Villa and could well be ready to start for his club in a match that will have less pressure on him. He needs to start at some time – it might work well for him and United. Marcus Rashford could start on the left, with Daniel James injured, although Solskjaer might decide to bring some youth players into the squad.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Victor Lindelof, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Fred, Bruno Fernandes, Scott Mctominay; Edinson Cavani, Anthony Elanga

Three substitutes is all Solskjaer will have in the Premier League, so he will need to pack his bench with players who can make an impact. Dean Henderson will no doubt be on the bench, refreshing himself to start against Liverpool on Thursday. In defence, Victor Lindelof and Brandon Williams could be available with at least one of them expected to be used. In midfield, Juan Mata, who could actually start, Fred, Bruno Fernandes and Scott Mctominay could also be available, if required – there is a good chance they could be. In attack, Edinson Cavani could be kept for Thursday with Anthony Elanga also added to the squad, depending on whether he plays for the U23s on Monday evening as they play their last Premier League 2 fixture of the season.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Champions League confirmed with United close to finishing second. Time to beat Leicester City?

Manchester United -v- Leicester City

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Tuesday 11 May 2021, KO 18:00 BST

Referee: Craig Pawson Assistants: Ian Hussin, Richard West

Fourth Official: Mike Dean

VAR: Jonathan Moss Assistant VAR: Marc Perry

Manchester United continue their tough week in the Premier League by welcoming Leicester City to the Theatre of Dreams on Tuesday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have already confirmed their place in the top four this season and will play in the UEFA Champions League next season. Brendan Rodgers’ side are not guaranteed anything at this stage and will need to win to make it easier to finish in the top four this season, or face the option of slipping out of the Champions s League places, which is where they want to be. United need to reach 75 points to confirm their second-placed finish in the league this season.

United have progressed this season, no matter what the negative, agenda-driven supporters on social media say. Sometimes when you are that set by an agenda, you do not want to see anything else, therefore believe the agenda. United have already qualified for the Champions League, need five more points to secure second-placed in the league and ended their semi-final hoodoo after reaching the final of the UEFA Europa League where they will face Villarreal on Wednesday 26 May 2021 in Gdansk, Poland. United have scored more than 100 goals this season and look to be on the rise. Don’t let the agenda driven muppets get you down.

Manchester United: WLWDWW

Aston Villa 3-1 W, AS Roma 3-2 L, AS Roma 6-2 W, Leeds United 0-0 D, Burnley 3-1 W, Granada 2-0 W

Leicester City: LDWWWL

Newcastle United 4-2 L, Southampton 1-1 D, Crystal Palace 2-1 W, West Bromwich Albion 3-0 W, Southampton 1-0 W, West Ham United 3-2 L

Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood have scored 73 goals between them this season with Leicester City’s whole squad scoring 89 goals this season.

Manchester United Goals: 27 – Bruno Fernandes, 20 – Marcus Rashford, 15 – Edinson Cavani, 11 – Mason Greenwood, 7 – Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, 6 – Paul Pogba, 5 – Own Goal, Daniel James, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Amad Diallo, Fred, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Donny van de Beek

It will be very hard to deny that United have progressed this season. They currently have 70 points in the Premier League this season – four more than last season, and have already qualified for next seasons UEFA Champions League, which was achieved after the final match of the season last season. In the last six matches, United have won four, drawn once and lost once, with the defeat coming against AS Roma last week with United earning a place in the UEFA Europa League final on aggregate. United have scored 16 goals, conceded seven, keeping two clean sheets.

Leicester City Goals: 18 – Kelechi Iheanacho, 15 – Jamie Vardy, 13 – Harvey Barnes, 11 – James Maddison, 8 – Youri Tielemans, 4 – Own Goal, 3 – James Justin, Ayoze Pérez, 2 – Marc Albrighton, Timothy Castagne, Jonny Evans, Dennis Praet, Cengiz Ünder, 1 – Daniel Amartey, Hamza Choudhury, Wilfred Ndidi, Luke Thomas

Leicester are not have a great end to the season.They have not won in the last two matches, losing to Newcastle United and drawing with Southampton, after beating them in the FA Cup semi-final. They weekend they will take on Chelsea for the FA Cup, which could end their season on a high, but they will need to be on top of their game. There is a chance that Brendan Rodgers’ side could miss out on Champions League football against next season with Chelsea leapfrogging them this weekend after they beat Manchester City. Leicester will need to beat United to have a chance of staying in the top four ahead of their last two matches.

Team News: Four players out of action for United with Leicester also likely to miss for players ahead of the Old Trafford clash on Tuesday evening.

Phil Jones (knee), Anthony Martial (knee) and Daniel James (other) have all been ruled out for the foreseeable future, although Martial is back in individual training and could be back in action for the final match of the season, which will give United a boost ahead of the UEFA Europa League final. Harry Maguire (ankle) came off against Aston Villa on Sunday and has already been ruled out of the clash with his former club but there is much hope that his injury is not as bad as it seems, although he will undergo a scan of his ankle on Monday to find out the seriousness of the injury. Hopefully he could be back in action against Liverpool.

Wes Morgan (lower back), Harvey Barnes (knee) and James Justin (knee) have all been ruled out of the visit to Old Trafford to face United for the third time this season. Jonny Evans (ankle/foot) is currently being assessed regarding his injury and has a 50% chance of featuring against his former club. However, it is likely that he too will miss the clash with United. Leicester were dealt a blow in the 4-2 defeat to Newcastle United on Friday evening and now sit fourth in the Premier League with Chelsea leapfrogging them after their victory over Manchester City on Saturday. It is possible that Leicester lose a UEFA Champions League position again.

Predicted Starting XI: Solskjaer will need to rest players against Leicester keeping his side fresh for the Liverpool clash on Thursday.

Solskjaer will need to rest a number of his players ahead of the clash with Liverpool on Thursday evening with United playing three Premier League matches in five days after beating Aston Villa 3-1 on Sunday afternoon. David De Gea should return in goal having faces AS Roma on Thursday evening. Axel Tuanzebe, Eric Bailly and Alex Telles could all start with Aaron Wan-Bissaka keeping his place in defence. In midfield, a three-man midfield of Donny van de Beek, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba, keeping his place from Sunday could help with Amad Diallo, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford linking up as a three-man attack.

Match Prediction: 29 matches played between United and Leicester in the Premier League with United winning 19 times, drawing eight times and losing twice. United looking to avenge FA Cup defeat?

United and Leicester have played 29 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 19 times, drawing eight times and losing twice. United have scored a total of 62 goals, winning four penalties and scoring three of them. Leicester have scored 24 goals, winning two penalties and scoring both of them. United have kept 14 clean sheets in total against Leicester with the Foxes keeping just two. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 38 yellow cards with one red card also being shown. Leicester have been shown 35 yellow cards with three red cards also being shown. United have an advantage based on these statistics.

United and Leicester met at the King Power Stadium on Boxing Day this season, resulting in a 2-2 draw with Marcus Rashford opening the scoring in the 23rd minute, Harvey Barnes equalising in the 31st minute, Bruno Fernandes restoring United’s lead in the 79th minute. However, an own goal by Axel Tuanzebe in the 85th minute meant the teams took a point each. In this fixture last season, at Old Trafford, United won 1-0 with e penalty scored by Rashford in the eighth minute of the match. United were also beaten by Leicester in the semi-final of the Emirates FA Cup this season, so will be looking to avenge that result on Tuesday.

Manchester United 2-1 Leicester City

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Greenwood on the scoresheet as Leicester knock United out of the Emirates FA Cup this season; questions to be answered?

Manchester United were beaten 3-1 by Leicester City in the quarter-final of the Emirates FA Cup ending Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s hope of lifting the FA Cup this season. Kelechi Iheanacho scored a brace in the match, opening the scoring and scoring the third goal of the game. Mason Greenwood equalised for United in the 38th minute of the match, giving United a chance of getting something from the match. Youri Tielemans put Leicester back in the lead and it was something that United could not cope with. They now have two weeks with no club football to get over this and the fatigue of the past few weeks with United playing two matches a week the majority of the time. The agendas will be out during that time but the snooze button will be pressed.

United started the match positively after their Italian adventure on Thursday evening which saw them reach the quarter-final of the UEFA Europa League. However, Leicester soon got into the game with Jamie Vardy seeking to find an early goal, darting in behind Harry Maguire, looking for Kelechi Iheanacho in the middle but Alex Telles got inn there to clear the danger. The flag was then raised for offside. Leicester then started to gain some traction in the match with United making many sloppy mistakes. Fred was passing poorly and generally playing badly along with a few of his teammates. Leicester opened the scoring in the 24th minute with Iheanacho beating Dean Henderson after Maguire fed Fred the ball and he played it back into the box

United started to go forward to get an equaliser, playing a better brand of football with Mason Greenwood seeing Kasper Schmeichel made a save to deny him, palming the ball away. Minutes later, Maguire was booked for a challenge, which seemed a bit of a tough card, but not my decision to call. Leicester then tried to get forward again with Marc Albrighton playing the ball to the edge of the box which was eventually blocked. United got their equaliser, though Greenwood in the 38th minute of the match after Pogba beat his man, played the ball into Donny van de Beek, who stepped over the ball with Greenwood beating Schmeichel to put United level in the match. It was a good goal for the forward, his first for the club since January.

There was a few chances towards the end of the half and two minutes of added time were played. At the start of the second half, there were no changes made by either manager with the winner of this match facing Southampton in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, which will be played on either Saturday 17 April or Sunday 18 April 2021. United conceded a second goal to Leicester in the 52nd minute of the match with Youri Tielemans beating Henderson with the United goalkeeper unable to get a glove on the ball. Iheanacho got the assist for Leicester’s goal, which meant United would need to do a lot more to get level again, then seek the winner in this match. Solskjaer will not be all that impressed in what he has seen from his players.

United seemed determined to get back in the game, getting forward but not finding many chances. United won a corner, which was taken by Alex Telles, and came to nothing with Solskjaer readying four substitutions. They were made in the 64th minute with Luke Shaw replacing Telles, Scott McTominay replacing Pogba, Bruno Fernandes replacing Nemanja Matic and Edinson Cavani replacing Van de Beek. Albrighton became the first Leicester player to be booked in the 69th minute of the match for time wasting. Three minutes later, McTominay was booked for a challenge on Ayoze Perez, which seemed a harsh booking for the United player. United would need to dig deep and get something from this match, otherwise their FA Cup pursuit would be over.

Leicester scored a third goal which Iheanacho headed in, beating Henderson at the far post from Albrighton’s free-kick, which was misjudged by McTominay. It was such a poor goal for United to give away, they seem unable to deal with set pieces, which asks many questions of the players on the pitch and the coaches. This United side have been unlocked by Leicester too many times, which leaves the home side on top and cruising to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, giving United a free weekend in April, which might not be all that bad. Solskjaer made his final change in the 84th minute of the match with Amad Diallo replacing Fred, who did not have the best of appearances and will raise many questions about United’s midfield.

Manchester United

26 Dean Henderson

Conceded in the 24th minute, which was not his fault. Fred passed the ball back and Iheanacho pounced on it. Played a vocal role in inspiring United to get forward from conceding the goal. Conceded another in the 52nd minute with Tielemans scoring. Beaten a third time with Iheanacho heading at the far post.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

He was busy in his defensive role and got forward a few times, despite no real influence coming from him. It has been a long season and it will only get tougher. United will need a backup player in this position.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The better of the two central defenders. Performed greatly on Thursday in Milan but today was not United's day.

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5 Harry Maguire

Was partly responsible for Leicester's goal in the 24th minute by playing the ball to Fred, who played it back into the box and Iheanacho pounced on it to beat Henderson. Will be annoyed with not keeping a clean sheet today. Vardy got the better of him at one stage but hit his shot off target. Not the greatest match for him or United.

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27 Alex Telles

He got froward a lot of the time he was on the pitch and tried to make an impact but he's not in the same form as Shaw. His determination is a good sign. His last kick was a free-kick, which was overhit and went out for a goal kick. He was replaced by Shaw in the 64th minute of the match.

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31 Nemanja Matic

As experienced as he is, his level of impact in this match was low. I understand why he started but it was not the right match for him. United need a defensive upgrade in the midfield. He was replaced by Fernandes in the 64th minute of the match.

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17 Fred

Did not have the best of starts against Leicester and was culpable in Iheanacho's goal in the 24th minute after Magure played the ball out to him and he played it back.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Equalised for United in the 38th minute of the match after Pogba played the ball into Van de Beek, whose dummy allowed the ball to find Greenwood to level the scoreline before the end of the first half.

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34 Donny van de Beek

His dummy to allow the ball to meet Greenwood was a great showing of his ability. His impact in the match had not been great, but he's hardly played this season, lately due to injury, so he will need to gain momentum. He was replaced by Cavani in the 64th minute of the match.

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6 Paul Pogba

Had some impact in the game and there were some worries that his ankle had been injured again, but he recovered form the challenge. He gave his all on the pitch but United needed to make some changes. He was replaced by McTominay in the 64th minute of the match.

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9 Anthony Martial

He was isolated up top and United's lack of creation left him seeking the scraps to no avail. Perhaps his form will raise after the International break, which could be said for United as a whole.

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Substitutes

23 Luke Shaw

Replaced Telles 64'. United's pressure on the attack was poor after his introduction, so he was not able to get much involvement in the match.

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39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Pogba 64'. Misjudged a head on the far post which saw Iheanacho score his second goal, putting Leicester 3-1 up.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Replaced Matic 64'. Came close with a free-kick. Perhaps he should have started but fatigue has been showing.

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21 Edinson Cavani

Replaced Van de Beek 64'. Good to see him back with Martial's form questionable. United could not inspire a comeback from 2-1 down though.

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16 Amad Diallo

Replaced Fred 84'. Had a cameo appearances. Not really enough time on the pitch to discuss his impact.

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Goals: Kelechi Iheanacho 24′, 78′, Youri Tielemans 52′; Mason Greenwood 38′

Assists: Kelechi Iheanacho 52′, Marc Albrighton 78′

Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles (Shaw 64′); Matic (Fernandes 64′), Fred (Diallo 84′); Greenwood, Van de Beek (Cavani 64′), Pogba (McTominay 64′); Martial

Substitutes Not Used: De Gea; Williams, Tuanzebe; James

Bookings: Marc Albrighton 69′, Jonny Evans 76′; Harry Maguire 30′, Scott McTominay 72′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Martial, Pogba and Van de Beek start against Leicester in the FA Cup; Fernandes and Cavani on the bench

Manchester United will go head to head with Leicester City at the King Power Stadium this afternoon in the Emirates FA Cup quarter-final which will end club football for a two-week period because of the first international break of 2021. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will head to Leicester in good spirits after knocking AC Milan out of the UEFA Europa League after a 2-1 aggregate win on Thursday evening, which sees them face Granada in the quarter-final of the competition. Solskjaer will be seeking to send his team to the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the second year running, after reaching the quarter-final stage in his first season at the club. Brendan Rodgers’ side will also be seeking a victory.

United have faced Leicester twice in the FA Cup in the history of the competition, beating them twice; once in the final in 1963 and the other time in the fifth round in 1976. Of course, the two clubs meet twice a season in the Premier League and are rivals in the top four at this moment in time with just a point between them. Both Solskjaer and Rodgers will relish the break from club football over the next fortnight and this match is a must-win for both manager’s who are looking to guide their teams to a trophy this season. United have a good record of late, undefeated in their last 14 matches, which is good form. Leicester have been beaten twice in their last six matches, but this does not mean it will be an easy match for United.

Manchester United:

Henderson;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles;

Matic, Fred;

Greenwood, Van de Beek, Pogba;

Martial

Substitutes:

De Gea; Shaw, Williams, Tuanzebe; Fernandes, Diallo, James, McTominay; Cavani

Leicester City:

Schmeichel;

Fofana, Evans, Soyuncu;

Castagne, Tielemans, Ndidi, Albrighton;

Perez;

Iheanacho, Vardy

Substitutes:

Ward; Amartey, Fuchs, Thomas, Daley-Campbell; Choudhury, Mendy, Praet, Leshabella;

United and Leicester have met twice in the history of both clubs in the Emirates FA Cup. United have won both matches; the first being the FA Cup final on the 25 May 1963 with United winning 3-1. Denis Law opened the scoring in the 30th minute with David Herd scoring a brace in the 57th and 85th minutes. Ken Keyworth scored an 80th minute consolation for the Foxes. United then met Leicester in the fifth round of the FA Cup on the 14 February 1976 with United winning 2-1 with Gerry Daly and Lou Macari scoring the goals with Bob Lee getting a consolation for the Foxes. This will be the third time United have met the Foxes in the FA Cup and United will be looking for a third victory in a row.

In their last match at the King Power Stadium, which was played in the Premier League on Boxing Day, it was a 2-2 draw between the two clubs with Marcus Rashford opening the scoring, Harvey Barnes equalising, Bruno Fernandes restoring United’s lead then an Axel Tuanzebe own goal levelled the scoreline again. Last season, on the final day, United beat Leicester 2-0 at the King Power Stadium with Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard scoring the goals which saw United finish in third place in the Premier League, earning UEFA Champions League football with Chelsea finishing in fourth place and Leicester slipping to fifth. The Foxes could get their revenge by knocking United out of the FA Cup this season.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Greenwood, Diallo, Fernandes and James to lead the attack against Leicester? Pogba, Cavani, Martial and Rashford all on the bench?

Manchester United will go head to head with Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Sunday in the Emirates FA Cup quarter-final which will end club football for a two-week period because of the first international break of 2021. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will head to Leicester in good spirits after knocking AC Milan out of the UEFA Europa League after a 2-1 aggregate win on Thursday evening, which sees them face Granada in the quarter-final of the competition. Solskjaer will be seeking to send his team to the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the second year running, after reaching the quarter-final stage in his first season at the club. Brendan Rodgers’ side will also be seeking a victory.

United have faced Leicester twice in the FA Cup in the history of the competition, beating them twice; once in the final in 1963 and the other time in the fifth round in 1976. Of course, the two clubs meet twice a season in the Premier League and are rivals in the top four at this moment in time with just a point between them. Both Solskjaer and Rodgers will relish the break from club football over the next fortnight and this match is a must-win for both manager’s who are looking to guide their teams to a trophy this season. United have a good record of late, undefeated in their last 14 matches, which is good form. Leicester have been beaten twice in their last six matches, but this does not mean it will be an easy match for United.

How United have faired against Leicester City in the Emirates FA Cup.

United and Leicester have met twice in the history of both clubs in the Emirates FA Cup. United have won both matches; the first being the FA Cup final on the 25 May 1963 with United winning 3-1. Denis Law opened the scoring in the 30th minute with David Herd scoring a brace in the 57th and 85th minutes. Ken Keyworth scored an 80th minute consolation for the Foxes. United then met Leicester in the fifth round of the FA Cup on the 14 February 1976 with United winning 2-1 with Gerry Daly and Lou Macari scoring the goals with Bob Lee getting a consolation for the Foxes. This will be the third time United have met the Foxes in the FA Cup and United will be looking for a third victory in a row.

In their last match at the King Power Stadium, which was played in the Premier League on Boxing Day, it was a 2-2 draw between the two clubs with Marcus Rashford opening the scoring, Harvey Barnes equalising, Bruno Fernandes restoring United’s lead then an Axel Tuanzebe own goal levelled the scoreline again. Last season, on the final day, United beat Leicester 2-0 at the King Power Stadium with Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard scoring the goals which saw United finish in third place in the Premier League, earning UEFA Champions League football with Chelsea finishing in fourth place and Leicester slipping to fifth. The Foxes could get their revenge by knocking United out of the FA Cup this season.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Leicester City in the Emirates FA Cup at the King Power Stadium on Sunday evening…

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson

Having started the last five matches in all competitions, there is no reason why he should not keep his place against Leicester. Dean Henderson has kept four clean sheets in those five matches with United beating Manchester City, West Ham United and AC Milan, drawing the other two matches; AC Milan and Crystal Palace – conceding his only goal in the five matches against Milan in the first leg at Old Trafford. David De Gea may not be fully match fit for this match, having sat out the matches due to the birth of his daughter some weeks ago. United should stick with the 24-year-old, who has done some great things for United and that clean sheet on Thursday night in Milan is a great feat for him.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United’s defence has done well recently, keeping five clean sheets in their last six matches. Eric Bailly is a doubt for this match so Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire will probably partner each other in the centre of defence once again with Solskjaer having Axel Tuanzebe to factor into the squad, if he needs to. In the fullback places, for me, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw should keep their places. Shaw is having a great season at United and it is great to see, following his injury hit start to his career at the club. It is imperative that he keeps his form, which is consistent to United’s results at this time.

Midfield: Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay

I would like to see Paul Pogba start for United this weekend but Solskjaer suggested that he might not be ready for 90 minutes of action. That said, Donny van de Beek should be starting as he will have 90 minutes in him based on sparingly starting for United so far in his debut season at the club. Scott McTominay should feature alongside him, which could create an attacking midfield with McTominay needing to be on top of his defensive work. If Pogba could start, or came on in the match, playing in the advanced role that is occupied by Bruno Fernandes would be a wise decision with the Portuguese magnifico clearly suffering from fatigue. United need to keep their best players fit at this stage of the season or it could all fall apart.

Attacking Midfield: Amad Diallo, Bruno Fernandes, Daniel James

It may not be ideal to start Amad Diallo in such an important match but I believe that he has it inn him to shine ons this stage. He changed the game after just five minutes on the pitch against Milan at Old Trafford and has not been used since – so his fitness is not an issue. Daniel James should play on the left flank in place of Marcus Rashford, if he is not fit enough to feature for United. He played on Thursday evening, but a mixture of injury and fatigue has led to him being in poor form right now. Bruno Fernandes will probably start, although if Paul Pogba can, perhaps he should be utilised instead, keeping Fernandes fresh for after the international break as you can see he is fatigued and should not be burned out.

Forwards: Mason Greenwood

Mason Greenwood might be the only attacking player with experience of leading the line on Sunday. Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani are all doubts for this match, which will lead United with a big task on their hands. Greenwood is a talented player but it has not worked for his this season with just four goals and five assists to his name, which is a big drop from what he achieved last season. If Cavani or Martial is fit, they will probably start ahead of him, or at least be on the bench to add something later in the match if that is what United need. It is not ideal at this time, but it is something that United and Solskjaer will need to get through and persevere.

Substitutes: David De Gea; Alex Telles, Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe; Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic; Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford

Solskjaer will be able to name nine substitutes on the bench against Leicester, utilising five of them in the Emirates FA Cup, using a sixth of the tie goes to extra time. The strength of the bench will bank on whether key players are ready to return from injury. In case they are, they have been added to the bench – but this is the best case scenario. David De Gea will be on the bench again, giving Henderson another chance to shine. In defence, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams and Axel Tuanzebe will be available. In midfield, Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic could be called upon with the injured trio of Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford on the bench in the attacking positions, should all of them be fit to take part in this match, which is needed.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Solskjaer’s quest for a trophy could take a hit against Leicester unless United’s fortunes start to change

Leicester City -v- Manchester United

Emirates FA Cup

King Power Stadium, Leicester

Sunday 21 March 2021, KO 17:00 GMT

Referee: Craig Pawson Assistants: Simon Bennett, Harry Lennard

Fourth Official: Darren England

VAR: Stuart Attwell Assistant VAR: Matthew Wilkes

Manchester United will go head to head with Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Sunday in the Emirates FA Cup quarter-final which will end club football for a two-week period because of the first international break of 2021. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will head to Leicester in good spirits after knocking AC Milan out of the UEFA Europa League after a 2-1 aggregate win on Thursday evening, which sees them face Granada in the quarter-final of the competition. Solskjaer will be seeking to send his team to the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the second year running, after reaching the quarter-final stage in his first season at the club. Brendan Rodgers’ side will also be seeking a victory.

United have faced Leicester twice in the FA Cup in the history of the competition, beating them twice; once in the final in 1963 and the other time in the fifth round in 1976. Of course, the two clubs meet twice a season in the Premier League and are rivals in the top four at this moment in time with just a point between them. Both Solskjaer and Rodgers will relish the break from club football over the next fortnight and this match is a must-win for both manager’s who are looking to guide their teams to a trophy this season. United have a good record of late, undefeated in their last 14 matches, which is good form. Leicester have been beaten twice in their last six matches, but this does not mean it will be an easy match for United.

Manchester United: WWDWDD

AC Milan 1-0 W, West Ham United 1-0 W, AC Milan 1-1 D, Manchester City 2-0 W, Crystal Palace 0-0 D, Chelsea 0-0 D

Leicester City: WWDLLW

Sheffield United 5-0 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 W, Burnley 1-1 D, Arsenal 3-1 L, Slavia Praha 2-0 L, Aston Villa 2-1 W

Top Scorers: United have scored 89 goals so far this season in all competitions with Leicester scoring 71. Are Uninted’s big guns going to be scoring at the King Power Stadium again this season?

Manchester United Goals: 23 – Bruno Fernandes, 18 – Marcus Rashford, 7 – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, 5 – Daniel James, Paul Pogba, 4 – Mason Greenwood, 3 – Own Goal, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Amad Diallo, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Donny van de Beek

United are undefeated in their last 14 matches in all competitions; the 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United was their last loss 15 matches ago. In their last six matches, United have won three and drawn three, scoring five goals and conceding once, keeping five clean sheets, which shows defensive consistency – something that Solskjaer and his side should be proud of. United earned a place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening, beating AC Milan 1-0, 2-1 on aggregate setting up a tie with Granada, which is a good draw for United, although they tend to struggle against the teams they should be beating easily. Solskjaer will be seeking a semi-final place in the Emirates FA Cup, beating Leicester at the King Power for the second time this season.

Leicester City Goals: 14 – Jamie Vardy, 13 – Harvey Barnes, 11 – James Maddison, 10 – Kelechi Iheanacho, 7 – Youri Tielemans, 3 – James Justin, Ayoze Pérez, 2 – Dennis Praet, Cengiz Ünder, 1 – Marc Albrighton, Daniel Amartey, Timothy Castagne, Hamza Choudhury, Wilfred Ndidi, Luke Thomas

Leicester are not in the best form at this stage of the season, despite challenge United for a second-placed Finnish in the Premier League. In their last six matches, they have won three, draw one and lost twice – scoring 11 goals, conceding eight and keeping one clean sheet, which shows that United, if in form up front, could get at least two goals like they did in their last two visits to the King Power Stadium. Rodgers will be seeking a victory though, earning a semi-final place in the Emirates FA Cup, aiming to win their first trophy since the 2015/16 season when they won the league and lifting the FA Cup for the first time since 1968/69 season. It has been a long time since Leicester won this trophy so they will be the team to beat this weekend.

Team News: Jones and Mata out for United with Morgan, Justin and Barnes missing for Leicester. Both teams are sweating on the fitness of players ahead of Sunday’s clash.

Phil Jones (knee) and Juan Mata (other) have already been ruled out for United, so they will not take part in the FA Cup quarter-final against Leicester City. Marcus Rashford (other) has a 75% chance of featuring for United this weekend with Eric Bailly (knock), Anthony Martial (hip) and Edinson Cavani (other) all having a 50% chance of being available. Solskjaer has not suggested that either Martial or Cavani will be out of action this weekend, but has given the indication that they might be. Paul Pogba returned from injury against AC Milan on Thursday, scoring the only goal of the game to put United into the quarter-final of the UEFA Europa League. Solskjaer does not think he could start but has left me wondering whether he will.

Wes Morgan (lower back), James Justin (knee) and Harvey Barnes (knee) have all been ruled out for Leicester, so will play no part in the FA Cup quarter final against United. Sidnei Tavares (illness) and Dennis Praet (thigh) seem to have recovered from their ailments, so will be available. However, Ricardo Pereira is a doubt, having a 75% chance of featuring whilst Cengiz Under (thigh) and James Maddison (groin/hip) both have a 25% chance of featuring. It gives Brendan Rodgers’ side some injury problems ahead of the visit of United in what will be seen as an important match for both clubs, who will be seeking to reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup this season, vying for a place in the final.

Predicted Starting XI: Solskjaer could have his card hidden up his sleeve this weekend with injured players still having a chance to return to fitness after midweek break.

Solskjaer could play a masterstroke this weekend in the final match before a two-week international break. Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial did not travel to Milan for Thursday’s victory with the Uruguayan pulling up after the second training session on Wednesday and therefore ruled out of the match. There is hope that he could be fit, but just in case, I have set up a team without him and Martial in the starting XI. With Marcus Rashford’s injury problems continuing, he could be a doubt too, leaguing United light in terms of attacking players, unless all three are able to feature. If those that have been called up for international durst could not feature for their countries, two weeks out of action would not be the end of the world, would it. United > Internationals.

Match Prediction: United and Leicester have met twice in the Emirates FA Cup with United winning twice, scoring five goals and conceding two. Can United make it three FA Cup victories in a row against Leicester?

United and Leicester have met twice in the history of both clubs in the Emirates FA Cup. United have won both matches; the first being the FA Cup final on the 25 May 1963 with United winning 3-1. Denis Law opened the scoring in the 30th minute with David Herd scoring a brace in the 57th and 85th minutes. Ken Keyworth scored an 80th minute consolation for the Foxes. United then met Leicester in the fifth round of the FA Cup on the 14 February 1976 with United winning 2-1 with Gerry Daly and Lou Macari scoring the goals with Bob Lee getting a consolation for the Foxes. This will be the third time United have met the Foxes in the FA Cup and United will be looking for a third victory in a row.

In their last match at the King Power Stadium, which was played in the Premier League on Boxing Day, it was a 2-2 draw between the two clubs with Marcus Rashford opening the scoring, Harvey Barnes equalising, Bruno Fernandes restoring United’s lead then an Axel Tuanzebe own goal levelled the scoreline again. Last season, on the final day, United beat Leicester 2-0 at the King Power Stadium with Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard scoring the goals which saw United finish in third place in the Premier League, earning UEFA Champions League football with Chelsea finishing in fourth place and Leicester slipping to fifth. The Foxes could get their revenge by knocking United out of the FA Cup this season.

Leicester City 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Rashford and Fernandes shone against Leicester but a point a piece could see Liverpool break away

Manchester United drew 2-2 with Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Boxing Day. It was a good result for Liverpool, which could see them break away in the bid to retain the Premier League crown. Marcus Rashford opened the scoring in the 23rd minute of the match, assisted by Bruno Fernandes. He should have scored in the second minute too. Leicester equalised in the 31st minute through Harvey Barnes. Fernandes scored what should have been the winner in the 79th minute, assisted by Edinson Cavani but Jamie Vardy equalised for Leicester for the second time in the match to make it a point for each side.

United started well against Leicester, carving an opportunity in the second minute of the match which saw Marcus Rashford missed from close-ranger after Bruno Fernandes dinked in a cross from the left with the England forward having a free header from six-yards out, right towards the centre of the goal but his effort sailed over the crossbar. Leicester then got back into the match with Youri Tielemans creating something but Harvey Barnes could not take the advantage. Jamie Vardy then made a clear run through, dragging his shot wide of the target, but he was flagged for offside.

In the 23rd minute of the match, United opened the scoring through Rashford, who made no mistake of this effort. Daniel James did well to bring the ball up after a throw-in, passing the ball to Fernandes, which was not as direct as it should have been, but he stretched and gained possession. The Portuguese magnifico then played the ball into Rashford at the far post with the England forward scoring his 13th goal of the season. The lead did not last all that long with Barnes equalising in the 31st minute of the match after a Marc Albrighton cross was not dealt with with Harry Maguire, shoving the ball to Fernandes which led to the error.

It was still level at the end of the first half with United having five shots on goal, two of those on target, which was exactly the same for Leicester with the home side having 55.9% possession. At the start of the second half, there were no changes but there will be some in this half with both sides looking to secure all three points. Solskjaer made his first substitution in the 54th minute of the match with Paul Pogba replacing James. Leicester also won a free-kick after Eric Bailly handled the ball, which was strange as he was directing a teammate. James Maddison took the free-kick but got no advantage from it al all for Leicester.

Anthony Martial looked to have put United ahead in the 61st minute, breaking though the backline and beatinc Kasper Schmeichel at close-range. However, the flag was raised as soon as the goal was scored and VAR seconded that by ruling out the goal. This was merely a warning for Leicester, who would need to up their game to keep United at bay. Solskjaer made his second substitution, bringing on Axel Tuanzebe in the 66th minute after Victor Lindelof seemed to be struggling with his back. In the 70th minute, from a free-kick, Maguire had a chance to put United ahead, missing the opportunity.

Solskjaer made his third substitution in the 75th minute of the match with Edinson Cavani replacing Anthony Martial. It took four minutes for United to restore their lead with Fernandes scoring his 14th goal of the season, assisted by Cavani putting United 2-1 ahead with 11 minutes plus added time left to play. Jamie Vardy got another equaliser for Leicester in the 85th minute of the match, which seemed to be a slight deflection by Tuanzebe with the goal down to Vardy’s movement. It was another unfortunate goal to concede by United, who will have to get back to the drawing board in that search for a winner, which never came.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Unlucky to concede another goal. If he was on his line, he might have made the save. Hindsight is fantastic though. Conceded a late Vardy equaliser which left United needing to find another winner.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Played at right-back with Wan-Bissaka out. Did well against Leicester, despite United conceding a goal in the first half. His game was ended in the 66th minute with an injury. Tuanzebe replaced him.

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3 Eric Bailly

Played well in the first half against Leicester, which could be a good sign for United. Gave a free-kick after a strange handball, which was accidental, which Leicester got no advantage from.

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5 Harry Maguire

His error led to Leicester's equaliser in the 31st minute. Despite that, he has played well against his former club. Three points were not in the bag for United today with their winning streak away from home coming to an end, turning into an unbeaten streak.

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23 Luke Shaw

Got forward a lot of the time against Leicester. It is good to see him back again and playing regularly but in terms of what he offers going forward

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39 Scott McTominay

Seemed rusty after coming off in the final minutes in that 6-2 victory over Leeds last weekend. Needs to involve himself more in the match. He showed desire in the match and played until the very end.

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17 Fred

Played a good midfield game against Leicester. He is a player to watch in United's midfield, doing the job quietly. I'm glad it is starting to work out for him now.

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Ratings: Rashford and Fernandes shone against Leicester but a point a piece could see Liverpool break away

Helped drive the ball forward for Rashford's opener which was short-lived after Barnes equalised eight minute later. The Welshman was replaced by Pogba in the 54th minute of the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

He was in the zone again in this match. Created the first chance in the second minute, which Rashford missed, also created the chance for the one Rashford scored; his 10th assist of the season. He scored what should have been the winner for United, assisted by Cavani in the 79th minute.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Missed a sitter in the opening two minutes of the match which saw his effort head over the crossbar. Did not miss in the 23rd minute though, scoring his 13th goal of the season and his 50th Premier League goal.

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9 Anthony Martial

The Frenchman played a part in the game against Leicester and scored what could have been the winner for United in the 61st minute, but he was offside. He was replaced by Cavani in the 75th minute of the match.

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Substitutes

6 Paul Pogba

Replaced James 54'. Came on to add something in midfield and United's game started to improve when he was on the pitch.

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38 Axel Tuanzebe

Replaced Lindelof 66'. Replaced Lindelof, who was injured. Got an unfortunate deflection on Vardy's late equaliser. Defended well though.

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21 Edinson Cavani

Replaced Martial 75'. Came on with 15 minutes to play and assisted for Fernandes four minutes later. It should have been the winner.

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Goals: Harvey Barnes 31′, Axel Tuanzebe o/g 85′; Marcus Rashford 23′, Bruno Fernandes 79′

Assists: James Maddison 31′; Bruno Fernandes 23′, Edinson Cavani 79′

Manchester United: De Gea; Lindelof (Tuanzebe 66′), Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; James (Pogba 54′), Fernandes, Rashford; Martial (Cavani 75′)

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Telles; Lingard, Matic, Van de Beek; Greenwood

Bookings: James Maddison 54′, Wilfred Ndidi 89′; Bruno Fernandes 45+1′

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW