Who: Leicester vs Manchester United
When: Sunday, July 26th @ 11:00am ET
Line: Leicester +220 | Draw +245 | Man U +123
Manchester United once again blew a golden opportunity to virtually guarantee a UEFA Champions League position by fluffing their lines against West Ham United. Fortunately, Chelsea losing to Liverpool meant that disappointing draw takes them into third place in the Premier League!
But their joy could turn into misery when they travel to Leicester City for the final game of the season. The equation is simple for United – win the game to guarantee a top-3 finish. Or as more pessimistic fans would tell you – at least get a draw to manage a top-4 place. The Foxes are in a disappointing run of form but will give their absolute everything to grind a win. Can United weather the storm? Only time will tell.
Leicester City Predicted XI
Schmeichel, Justin, Morgan, Evans, Thomas, Ndidi, Tielemans, Perez, Barnes, Iheanacho, Vardy.
Unfortunately for the Foxes, they will be without four key first-team regulars for the crunch tie. Ben Chilwell, James Maddison, Ricardo Pereira are all injured, while Caglar Soyuncu remains suspended. Christiain Fuchs, Daniel Amartey & Marc Albrighton are also in the treatment table.
Manchester United Predicted XI
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams, McTominay, Pogba, Fernandes, Greenwood, Martial, Rashford.
Luke Shaw still hasn’t been able to recover from his knock & remains a doubt for Sunday. Axel Tuanzebe & Phil Jones are ruled out for the game.
Leicester City vs Manchester United preview
United love making things harder for themselves and did so once again by dropping points in a game they really should’ve won against the Hammers. While the Red Devils remain firm favourites to finish ahead of Leicester, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must get his tactics ^ decision-making right on Sunday.
Firstly, he CANNOT go with the 3-man backline. The players just aren’t accustomed to it anymore & are bound to struggle with a change in shape. Secondly, he must take a positive approach to take the fight to an injury-hit Leicester side rather than sitting back to hit them on the counter-attack. If the Red Devils head in with a negative attitude to churn a draw, United are going to have a nightmare.
Despite tired legs in it, Ole can’t really change his team around too much at this time but will need to remain optimistic about them getting the job done. Thankfully for him, Anthony Martial & Mason Greenwood are in prime form and lethal enough to terrorize the vulnerable Leicester backline.
Martial’s looking a more dominant centre-forward with his movement & link-up play, while his finishing ability remains unquestioned. Greenwood probably needs to work on his creativity a bit more, but as long as he finds some shots from in & around the penalty area, expect him to test Kasper Schmeichel’s ability.
But a lot of United attackers need to step up after the West Ham disappointing. Marcus Rashford must regain his sharpness to trouble James Justin & co with his pace and dynamic ability inside the area. Bruno Fernandes & Paul Pogba both have a chance to prove themselves as elite world-class winners by putting a masterclass against a makeshift backline.
Pogba, especially, looked lazy & lacking that fire against West Ham after conceding a terrible penalty with a schoolboy error. It’s high time he rediscovers his magic to drive United forward and set up glorious chances. Fernandes too needs to be more accurate with his creative passes & use his intelligence to set-up definitive chances for teammates or himself.
Nemanja Matic looked a bit ailing against West Ham so Scott McTominay could be opted to instill more energy into the midfield. Regardless of whoever does sit ahead of them, United’s defence must bring their very best against Leicester. The Foxes might be defensively struggling but still hold a lot of firepower in attack.
Premier League top-scorer Jaime Vardy, in particular, will look to clinch the Golden Boot in style. With his movement, overall link-up play and devastating finish, he could be a proper menace for the Red Devils. Ayoze Perez is another unpredictable clog in Brendan Rodgers’ attack, while Harvey Barnes & Youri Tielemans pack a compelling creative punch.
Leicester’s attack can run rings around United and make them buckle under pressure if they perform in the same fashion as they’ve been in their recent games. Harry Maguire returns to his old hunting ground & must put in a proper captain’s performance by assuming control and dominating his former side. Victor Lindelof, Aaron Wan-Bissaka & Brandon Williams should all be ready to put in a warrior’s shift to keep the hosts silenced, while the latter must also contribute going forward.
It’s clear that United need to bring their absolute best to win table if they’re to get a win. Leicester will be unrelenting as they have nothing to lose at this point. It’s time OGS & co prove they’re on the upwards trajectory by getting a compelling win to bring Champions League soccer back to Old Trafford.
Personally, I have a real bad feeling about this game for United. But knowing Leicester’s own form & injury issues, I think the Red Devils will grind out a result here. I’ll go for a 2-2 draw.