Following on from their League Cup excursions, both sides will be more than happy to put their midweek shortcomings behind them as they start off a very busy period!
In the league, Leicester City were on a good run of form until an abject home performance saw them lose 3-0 to Crystal Palace whilst Manchester United made staying up a difficult task for West Brom with a 2-1 away win.
Thoughts ahead of the game
Claude Puel’s side will be raring to get back on track following the loss to Crystal Palace last weekend, coupled with a heartbreaking penalty shootout loss to Manchester City. Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho’s side will be raring to build on their good form which has seen them not lose an away match since Bonfire Night (1-0 v Chelsea).
The form of the East Midlands outfit against the top six isn’t great with a solitary win coming against Tottenham Hotspur at home in late November. Certainly, I wouldn’t have expected them to win all the games, but a few draws (when possible) could’ve been mustered.
The Foxes’ last win over the Red Devils’ came in September 2014. Following being 3-1 down, they battled back to win 5-3 in a rather pulsating game! It would happen this time around, would it?
Since then, the away side have gone on to win five of the last six league matches between the two (both matches of the 2015-16 season were 1-1 draws with the latter turning out to be the game that almost won the league for Leicester City (though help from Chelsea confirmed their title win). The former is remembered for Jamie Vardy eclipsing Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring 10 in 10 by scoring 11 in 11.
The last time the sides met was in late August. Craig Shakespeare took charge of a side which lost 2-0 with goals from Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini. Could Leicester City respond to their midweek loss with a win here?
As for Mourinho’s side, they’re currently 11 points adrift of leaders Manchester City and three points ahead of third-placed Chelsea, so losing isn’t an option! A win here is a must if they’re to have any hope of catching their local rivals.
Both managers faced the press as usual.
Here’s what was said:
Claude Puel was asked whether he feels he has to play Islam Slimani:
“Just one thing, I don’t put my team in place, with price of the players. It’s all about training and working hard. The last game was a good opportunity to see Iheanacho play”.
Robert Huth is still out through injury and Wilfred Ndidi is missing following a sending off in the loss to Crystal Palace. However, there is some good news as Matty James working towards getting back to full fitness.
Other than that, there are no major injuries.
On the Manchester United front, Jose Mourinho was asked about expectations:
“I don’t know, you say, you are the ones, not me. Expectation is to go to every match and try to win, which is what we do and the matches we lost, we fought until the last second, the matches we lost if I’m not wrong 2-1, 2-1, 1-0, so we really manage to fight in every match to try the best result and nothing more than that we can do, we can promise we go to every match and do our best”.
Good news for the Manchester outfit as the four players who missed the midweek loss are reportedly confirmed to start Saturday’s game. David De Gea, Nemanja Matic, Phil Jones, and Ashley Young.
On the flip side though, Antonio Valencia is still out through injury as the Ecuadorian limped off during the win over West Brom, but Mourinho hopes he can recover in time.
Besides that, there are no fresh injury issues.
Statistics show that the 13-time Premier League winners are odds-on for a win here given that Leicester City have only taken three points against the top six (like I mentioned earlier), but we must write them off completely. So far, we’ve seen what they’re capable of in when they’re on form.
I wouldn’t give a score, but I’d say Manchester United will win.