The boring brand of football that Louis Van Gaal has brought to Manchester United FC will face it’s complete opposite in the pacy, action packed, exciting game that Claudio Ranieri is implementing at Leicester City FC in a top of the table clash between the leaders of the pack.
At the beginning of the season, everybody thought that top of the table clashes would always involve marauding Manchester City or free flowing Arsenal or former champions Chelsea. While Chelsea have fallen into the bottom half of the table, both Manchester City and Arsenal keep getting pegged back just as soon as they start building a streak. This has led to a completely unexpected encounter between the Foxes and the Red Devils, with the winner taking first place in the Premier League.
Leicester City have managed this twist of fate, wherein they find themselves at the top of the table where exactly one year ago they were at the bottom, through a forceful style of attacking football that has entertained and excited all premier league fans, Leicester fans and neutrals alike.
They have been the most attacking team this season, scoring 28 goals in 13 games, with striker Jamie Vardy in the midst of a rampage, scoring in 10 consecutive games and sitting pretty on top of the scoring charts, ably supported by Riyad Mahrez who is also amongst the top 5 scorers in the league.
Few would have expected this from a side that looked sure to be relegated towards the end of last season, only to pull off a memorable escape act. The manager behind the success, Nigel Pearson, was surprisingly sacked at the end of last season and there was a lot of speculation behind appointment of ex-Chelsea manager, Claudio Ranieri.
Most pundits predicted that the club would fail to stay up with a 14th-15th place considered a success. Those same pundits are now being forced to eat their words thanks to the phenomenal performance by the club which has seen them lose only once, to a belligerent Arsenal, and get to the top by playing fast, attacking football.
Meanwhile, fast and attacking seem to be a thing of the past at Old Trafford, with Manchester United playing some of the most uninspiring football that it has ever been involved in. Their last Champions league match, against PSV Eindhoven, ended with the frustrating scoreline of nil-nil — A final score that the Red Devils are used to seeing these days. Their climb to the second place has been thanks to their defensive record, which has seen them keep 8 clean sheets this season, rather than any good football being played.
Anthony Martial, who impressed so much upon his arrival, has only scored one goal in 14 games for club and country, while his senior strike partner Wayne Rooney seems to be floundering with only two goals all season. This Manchester United side seems to be more inclined towards keeping clean sheets than going on the attack and for this reason, they boast of the Premier League’s best defensive record, having only conceded 9 goals this season. Here too credit must be given to goalkeeper David de Gea who has pulled off a number of breathtaking saves to keep the number that low.
The winner of this match would climb to the top of the table and the contest could produce anything. Leicester City will continue pressing, pushing and exciting while Manchester United, going by current form, will pass and pass and pass.
So thus, at the Kings Power Stadium on Saturday, the unstoppable force meets the immovable object, the best offence in the league comes up against the best defence and it is much to the dismay of Manchester United fans across the world that their club is the latter.