Manchester United will aim to continue delaying the inevitable Premier League title coronation for Manchester City when they host Leicester City at Old Trafford.
The 2020/21 season is nearly upon its end and in the Premier League, this midweek will see some of the rescheduled matches being played. One of these will take place on Tuesday at Old Trafford, where Manchester United will play hosts to Leicester City.
Manchester United have enjoyed a memorable 2020/21 Premier League campaign, which is set to end in a second-placed finish. A few missteps have negated the possibility of a title tilt, although the Red Devils have still made positive progress under the tutelage of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, having not been beaten in any of their last 14 top-flight outings, with the latest being a come-from-behind 3-1 win over Aston Villa.
Leicester City, on the other hand, seem to be going through their nightmares of last season all over again, despite it initially appearing that they had learned their lessons. Indeed, a shock 4-2 defeat to Newcastle United this past weekend is proof of the same, with the Foxes now down to 4th on the table, although the gap to fifth remains the same, courtesy West Ham United’s loss to Everton.
The reverse fixture, played at the King Power Stadium back in December, saw Leicester City twice come from a goal down to hold Manchester United to a 2-2 draw. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 10, 2021
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has one fresh injury concern hampering his preparations ahead of the visit of Leicester City. On Tuesday, the Manchester United manager could be bereft of the services of as many as four first-team players due to various fitness issues.
While the midweek game has come too soon for Anthony Martial amid his continued rehabilitation work from a knee injury, Harry Maguire is a fresh absentee after sustaining an ankle injury on Sunday against Aston Villa. The Manchester United captain will, therefore, miss a league game for the first time since arriving from Leicester City two years ago. Phil Jones and Daniel James are the other absentees for the hosts.
Solskjaer has already hinted a few times that he will rotate aggressively after being dealt a horrible hand by the Premier League when it comes to their rescheduled game with Liverpool. With the visit of Leicester City coming just 48 hours after the trip to Villa Park, it is but obvious that the Manchester United boss will ring in the changes.
One of the shuffles will, of course, be forced, with Eric Bailly coming in for Maguire at the heart of the Manchester United defence, where he ought to have Axel Tuanzebe as his partner, amid an uncertain future for the young defender. Out wide, Brandon Williams and Alex Telles ought to start as the two full-backs, while David de Gea should start in goal.
Up ahead in midfield, Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek are in line to be handed rare starts by Solskjaer, with the duo pairing up in the double pivot. With van de Beek starting in a deeper role, Juan Mata ought to get an opportunity to impress in the no. 10 role.
Mason Greenwood was taken off pretty early last time out and should be the only player retaining his spot from the last game, with Amad Diallo expected to come in on the left flank to make his full debut for Manchester United. Finally, Edinson Cavani, who has officially extended his stay with the Red Devils, will lead the line against Leicester.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Williams, Tuanzebe, Bailly, Telles; Matic, van de Beek; Greenwood, Mata, Diallo; Cavani
Like his counterpart in the Manchester United dugout, Brendan Rodgers is being bogged down by a roster issue pertaining to a key defender ahead of the trip to Old Trafford. On Tuesday, the Leicester City boss will have to make do without four first-team players as well.
The major short-term absentee is Jonny Evans, who sustained a heel injury in the build-up to the game against Newcastle United last week. The former Manchester United defender should be out of the match on Tuesday as well, joining James Justin (knee), Wes Morgan (back) and Harvey Barnes (knee).
The absence of Evans hurt Leicester considerably versus Newcastle, with the rest of the defence capitulating under pressure of swift attacking moves. Nevertheless, Wesley Fofana and Caglar Soyuncu ought to continue in the back three, with Daniel Amartey likely to be the third man in the central defensive unit, which will provide cover to Kasper Schmeichel between the sticks.
Unlike Solskjaer and Manchester United, Rodgers can ill afford to rotate and risk another blow to their top four hopes. With that in mind, Youri Tielemans and Wilfred Ndidi will once again form the midfield double pivot, with Timothy Castagne and Marc Albrighton being the two wing-backs.
Ayoze Perez, meanwhile, is likely to come in for the struggling James Maddison to reprise the no. 10 role, with the Spaniard playing off of the two central strikers – Jamie Vardy and the in-form of Kelechi Iheanacho – who will look to take on a makeshift Manchester United defence with pace and precision.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Schmeichel; Amartey, Fofana, Soyuncu; Albrighton, Tielemans, Ndidi, Castagne; Perez; Iheanacho, Vardy
- Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.90
- Manchester United Draw No Bet @ 1.66
- Edinson Cavani to score anytime @ 2.75
- Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 12 Premier League matches against Leicester City (W8 D4). In fact, the Foxes have won only once in their last 22 top-flight visits to Old Trafford.
- Leicester have scored in 15 of their 17 Premier League away matches this season, with no side finding the back of the net in more contests on the road. However, the Foxes have gone back-to-back away league games without winning for the first time this season (D1 L1).
- Manchester United have won each of their last four Premier League home games and have not won five in a row at Old Trafford since March 2018 under Jose Mourinho.
- As a manager, Brendan Rodgers has lost 10 matches in all competitions against Manchester United – three more than he has against any other club.
- Kelechi Iheanacho has been directly involved in five goals in five starts against Manchester United in all competitions, with three strikes and two assists. He scored twice and set up a goal in a 3-1 win over the Red Devils in the FA Cup earlier this season..
Player to Watch
Donny van de Beek
The chance against AS Roma in the UEFA Europa League did not quite work out for van de Beek, although he was deployed in an unfamiliar left-wing berth. Against Leicester City on Tuesday, the Dutch international ought to be back in midfield, making the next outing quite an important one for him.
With question marks surrounding his future at Old Trafford, van de Beek will surely love to prove that he has a lot to offer to Manchester United. And, what better way to make an impact than in the middle of a ridiculous fixture pile-up, where some fringe players will get a chance to impress. The biggest game of his Manchester United career, perhaps.
Manchester United 2-2 Leicester City
This one is a bit difficult to call. While Manchester United will likely be far away from being at full strength and are not expected to smash Leicester City out of the park, the visitors’ slip-up against Newcastle United would show Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a blueprint into a way of getting the better of the Foxes even with his second-string players.
With Edinson Cavani being in such brilliant form at the moment, coupled with the pacy outlet of Amad Diallo and Mason Greenwood, Manchester United do have the quality to trouble Leicester. However, a makeshift defence might struggle against the Foxes as well, meaning it is highly likely that this game will end all square. The Hard Tackle, thus, predicts a 1-1 draw.