Leicester City and Manchester United will lock horns at the King Power Stadium this weekend as Matchweek 15 of the 2020/21 Premier League kicks off.
The busy festive period in English football is well and truly underway as teams return to Premier League action after the midweek cup assignments. And we will kick things off on the afternoon of Boxing Day with a belter of a clash as second-placed Leicester City play hosts to third-placed Manchester United at the King Power Stadium.
Leicester City have built upon their strong 2019/20 campaign and are currently four points behinds leaders Liverpool in the league standings. The Foxes come into the game on the back of a 2-0 win over fellow top-four challengers Tottenham Hotspur last weekend and will be gunning for all three points at the King Power to move closer to the top.
Manchester United have recovered well after an iffy start to the season and haven’t let their Champions League exit derail their league form. Having thrashed Leeds United 6-2, the Red Devils moved to the third spot in the table and are just a point below their opponents. This was followed by a 2-0 win over Everton in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
The corresponding fixture last season, played on the final day, saw Manchester United beat Leicester 2-0, with goals coming from Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard. And, ahead of their latest meeting, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Leicester City will once again be without the services of right-back Ricardo Pereira for the game. Caglar Soyuncu is closing in on a return but Saturday’s fixture might come a tad too soon for the Turkish centre-back. Jamie Vardy is fit and available after complaints of a minor groin issue following the Tottenham game.
Unlike their opponents, Leicester were not involved in the Carabao Cup in midweek, meaning they will come into the game well-rested. Brendan Rodgers used a 4-2-3-1 formation against Tottenham last time out and could stick with the same on Saturday, instead of reverting to the three-man defensive setup he has used for large parts of the season.
Kasper Schmeichel is a certainty to feature in the Leicester goal and will be shielded by the defence comprising of James Justin and Timothy Castagne as the full-backs with Wesley Fofana and ex-Manchester United star Jonny Evans forming the central defensive partnership.
Wilfred Ndidi, who was at the top of his game in the win against Tottenham, is sure to start in the midfield double pivot and will be tasked with cutting out the influence of Bruno Fernandes. He will be partnered by Youri Tielemans in the middle of the park, who will have the licence to push forward.
James Maddison ought to take up the No. 10 slot and will be the creator-in-chief for the home team. The width will come from Marc Albrighton and Harvey Barnes, while Jamie Vardy is the undisputed choice to lead the Leicester City attack.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Justin, Fofana, Evans, Castagne; Tielemans, Ndidi; Albrighton, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has one major concern heading into Saturday’s clash as Scott McTominay, who was the star of the show against Leeds United, is a doubt due to a groin injury he picked up in that game. The Manchester United manager is expected to make some changes to the side that started the cup tie against Everton on Wednesday.
David de Gea should return to the side after having made way for Dean Henderson in midweek. There will be a couple of notable changes in defence as well, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Victor Lindelof coming in to replace Axel Tuanzebe and Eric Bailly respectively. Captain Harry Maguire and Alex Telles are expected to hold on to their places in defence.
Fred was not used by Solskjaer in the cup tie and should return to the starting XI on Saturday, at the expense of Nemanja Matic. With McTominay a doubt, Paul Pogba is expected to be retained alongside the Brazilian in Manchester United’s midfield double pivot, after impressing against Everton in midweek.
Bruno Fernandes is a certain starter in the No. 10 role for United. Daniel James started the last league game against Leeds and scored, but Mason Greenwood is likely to get the nod over him on the right while Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial should fill up the remaining two slots in attack. Edinson Cavani will be an option from the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; Fred, Pogba; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial
- Manchester United to win @ 2.25
- Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.53
- Bruno Fernandes to score anytime @ 2.50
- Manchester United have lost just one of their last 22 Premier League meetings against Leicester City (W17 D4) and are unbeaten in their last 11 games since a 3-5 defeat away from home in September 2014.
- Leicester City have lost more Premier League games (19) and conceded more Premier League goals (60) against Manchester United than they have versus any other team in the competition.
- Manchester United have scored in each of their last 22 Premier League meetings with Leicester City. Against no other team have they had a longer scoring streak in the competition (also 22 vs Aston Villa between 1997-2008).
- Since returning to the Premier League in 2014, Leicester have lost five of their six games played on the Boxing Day, winning the other 2-1 against Manchester City in 2018.
- Manchester United have the most wins (21) and the highest win-rate (81%) of any Premier League side in Boxing Day games.
Player to Watch
In 20 games in all competitions this season, Bruno Fernandes has already scored 13 goals and set up seven more, with 14 of his goal-involvements coming in the Premier League. He is the leading goalscorer for Manchester United this term, despite having had a few quiet games prior to the starring display he put in against Leeds United.
On Saturday, the 26-year-old will have to work hard to escape the attention of a certain Wilfred Ndidi, who has been in good touch since his return from injury. Who comes out on top in the battle between the two could have a huge say in the outcome of the game at the King Power.
Leicester City 1-2 Manchester United
Both Leicester City and Manchester United have performed better on the road than at home. Indeed, the Foxes have lost more games (4) than they have won (3) at the King Power Stadium. Manchester United, on the other hand, have won each of their last 10 away games in the Premier League.
There is no doubt that the Foxes will pose a difficult challenge for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer & co. but United’s recent form and track record away from home gives them the edge heading into the clash. And that is why The Hard Tackle is predicting the Red Devils to come away with all three points and move to the second spot in the table.