Manchester United need just a draw against Leicester in the last Matchday of the 2019-20 Premier League season to secure a spot in the Champions League.
Leicester City have had a wonderful 2019-20 Premier League campaign under Brendan Rodgers. At one time, the Foxes were in constant battle with Manchester City for the second spot. But, a sorry run of recent results have seen them plummet from battling for the second spot to being in danger of missing out on top four and Champions League football for the upcoming season as a consequence.
For Manchester United, the second half of the season has shown promise similar to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s initial reign as the caretaker manager in early 2019. The attack is firing on all cylinders and the players seem to be enjoying their football.
But, recent results prove pressure might be getting the better of them in this situation. Still, Manchester United start Matchday 38 of the 2019-20 Premier League third on the league table and a draw will be enough to take top four and a spot in the 2020-21 Champions League.
Their last encounter at King Power Stadium saw Manchester United escape with a 1-0 win over Leicester. With the home side needing a win on Sunday, let us take a closer look at the two squads.
Team News & Tactics
The home side will be without as many as three key players in their backline, with Caglar Soyuncu serving a suspension while Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell are sidelined with injuries. This would force Rodgers to field Wes Morgan and Ryan Bennett in defence alongside Jonny Evans in a three-man setup.
Chilwell’s injury and Marc Albrighton’s lack of fitness could provide a golden opportunity for Luke Thomas to impress on the left side, with James Justin likely to be the one deployed on the right. Wilfred Ndidi will provide buffer to the defence while Youri Tielemans tries to find piercing balls which can find the forwards.
James Maddison is also one of the players missing with injury. Hence, Harvey Barnes and Ayoze Perez are likely to play as inside forwards, allowing Thomas and Justin to overlap and act as wingers in attack. Jamie Vardy is leading the Premier League Golden Boot race and will look to add to his 23 goals so far.
Kelechi Iheanacho has been effective from the bench and will look to come into the game at some point.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Schmeichel; Bennett, Morgan, Evans; Justin, Tielemans, Ndidi, Thomas; Perez, Barnes; Vardy
The Red Devils have no real key players absent apart from Luke Shaw, who hasn’t managed to gain full fitness. This means that the crunch game will see Brandon Williams start at left-back for Manchester United. David de Gea has come under immense pressure of late due to his unforced errors in goal. But, Solskjaer has hinted he will retain the Spaniard for the match against Leicester.
The rest of the backline picks itself, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire tasked with ensuring Leicester do not get much of a look-in towards the United goal.
Paul Pogba has made two costly errors in the last three Premier League matches and will be hoping to redeem himself against Leicester. Nemanja Matic is likely to hold the fort in midfield and allow Pogba the freedom to play more in a box-to-box role.
The usual culprits should line up in the front for Manchester United, with Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial all expected to be at their 100% for the crunch tie. Odion Ighalo will look to have some impact on the game from the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams; Matic, Pogba; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial
1. Manchester United are currently on a 13-game undefeated run in the Premier League.
2. Should Leicester draw against Manchester United, their top four fate will depend on whether Wolves manage to beat Chelsea.
3. Manchester United are undefeated in their last five matches against Leicester at the King Power Stadium.
4. Manchester United have scored in all of their last five visits to the King Power Stadium.
5. Jamie Vardy is currently leading the race for the Premier League Golden Boot (23 goals) over Danny Ings (21).
Player to Watch
David De Gea
The Spaniard has come under a lot of scrutiny of late and for good reasons. With Dean Henderson eyeing the first-choice spot at Manchester United, De Gea would be keen to show just why he is in the club record books. De Gea has carried the club through a tumultuous period but must now perform to keep his place in an improving Manchester United side.
Against a Leicester side that has Jamie Vardy – the top goalscorer in the Premier League thus far – along with efficient players like Ayoze Perez and Youri Tielemans, De Gea will be key to United’s fortunes on Sunday and perhaps, beyond, with a lot riding on a potential top four finish.
Leicester City 2-3 Manchester United
Despite needing just a draw, it is unlikely that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will direct his Manchester United squad to play for anything other than a win. Leicester have been dealt a bad hand going into the last gameweek, with key players injured before what has now become a top four decider for them.
Considering the number of key players injured, we expect Leicester to go down fighting against Manchester United, who have looked nervy at the back and will most likely concede on Sunday. We are going with a 3-2 win for Manchester United.