Match Preview: Manchester United vs Leicester City

Club football returns this weekend following the final international break of the season. Manchester United host Leicester City at Old Trafford in their first Premier League game for three weeks.

Brendan Rodgers’ side currently occupies tenth spot in the league table. Meanwhile United have dropped down to sixth, four points behind fourth-placed Arsenal.

Form Guide

Manchester United’s last game before the international break was a 0-1 home loss to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. Ralf Rangnick’s side were knocked out of Europe 1-2 on aggregate. A first-half goal from Renan Lodi saw the Spanish side reach the quarter-finals. It was certainly one of the most disappointing moments of Rangnick’s tenure so far.

In the league, United’s most recent game was a 3-2 win against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford. A second United hattrick from Cristiano Ronaldo sealed all three points for the Red Devils, in one of the most memorable games this season. The Portugal captain scored an 81st minute winner in front of the Stretford End to earn a vital three points for United.

Embed from Getty Images

Leicester City won their final game before the international break, beating Brentford at the King Power Stadium 2-1. Two sublime first-half goals from Timothy Castagne and James Maddison proved to be enough for the Foxes, despite a late fightback from Brentford, courtesy of Yoane Wissa.

However, Leicester lost their most recent European game. They were beaten by French side Rennes 2-1 in the Europa Conference League, although they still qualified for the next round, after winning 2-3 on aggregate.

Team News

Edinson Cavani is unavailable for Manchester United this weekend. The striker picked up a calf injury on international duty for Uruguay and was substituted in the first half against Chile as a result. Rangnick suggested in his pre-match press conference that the 35-year-old will be out for the next few weeks.

However, both Alex Telles and Fred will be available for Saturday evening’s game. The Brazilian duo have been representing their national team this week but returned to Manchester and could be selected against Leicester.

Cristiano Ronaldo was not spotted with the rest of the squad at the Lowry Hotel where the team gathered last night, however the reason for this is unclear, and there is still a chance that he will link up with the rest of the squad before the match.

Embed from Getty Images

Aside from Cavani and potentially Ronaldo, United should have a full squad available.

Striker Jamie Vardy and midfielder Wilfred Ndidi will be missing from the Leicester City squad on Saturday. Both players have knee injuries, and the Nigeria midfielder will miss the rest of the season, which Brendan Rodgers confirmed in his press conference this week.

Young full-back Luke Thomas will miss the game after he had to return home early from England Under-21 duty with a hamstring injury.

Former United centre-back Jonny Evans will be available for selection, and fellow defender Wesley Fofana could also be in contention for a starting spot. Marc Albrighton could be in line to play, after recovering from a groin injury.

Ones to Watch

On April 1st, Manchester United fans were met with the excellent news that Bruno Fernandes has signed a new deal with the club. Fernandes has extended his contract until 2026, with the option of a further year.

Embed from Getty Images

He scored two goals for Portugal on Tuesday night, ensuring their qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Fernandes scored a goal in each half against North Macedonia to earn his side a 2-0 win.

United’s ‘Portuguese Magnifico’ will be hoping to carry his good form for Portugal into Saturday’s game. Fernandes currently has nine goals and 14 assists this season for United, including seven Champions League assists. He will be hoping to add to his tally at Old Trafford this weekend.

As always, Fernandes will pose a big threat to Leicester City and is without a doubt someone to watch out for on Saturday evening.

Leicester also have some dangerous players, and James Maddison is arguably their biggest threat. The Englishman has had a good season for the Foxes, scoring 12 times and assisting seven in all competitions. He is also a threat from set-pieces and has scored some excellent freekicks during his Leicester career.

Predicted Line-Up

David de Gea;

Diogo Dalot, Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw;

Fred, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba;

Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho.

A Winning Start

After a disappointing result against Atletico Madrid before the international break, Rangnick will be desperate for his United side to get off to a winning start as club football resumes.

With the race for top a top four finish still ongoing, gaining momentum at this stage of the season could be invaluable for United. There are some particularly important games remaining, especially a trip to the Emirates to face Arsenal.

A win at Old Trafford on Saturday will hopefully kickstart a good run of form for the Red Devils as the end of the season draws ever closer.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: