Manchester United will be aiming to bounce back from their European debacle when they face off against Leicester City in the Premier League.

The 2021/22 Premier League returns after the first international break of this year, with seven matches set to be played out on Saturday. The action will wind off in the evening at Old Trafford, where Manchester United play hosts to Leicester City, hoping to get their top-four challenge back on track.

Manchester United are going through a rough patch, having won just one of their last five games in all competitions – a 3-2 victory over Tottenham in their previous Premier League clash. Following that morale-boosting win, Ralf Rangnick’s were brought crashing down by Atletico Madrid, who beat them 1-0 at Old Trafford to eliminate the Red Devils from the UEFA Champions League before the international break.

With Arsenal and Tottenham picking up form, Manchester United have slipped to sixth in the Premier League table, four points below the Gunners in fourth and one behind fifth-placed Spurs. It is imperative that they get back to winning ways if they are to have any chance of qualifying for the Champions League next season.

Leicester City, meanwhile, have won just one of their last three matches in all competitions after stringing together a run of four victories. The Foxes defeated Brentford 2-1 in the league just before the international break to move into tenth place in the table. A finish in the European qualifying spots is very much off the table for Brendan Rodgers’ side, who will be keen on consolidating their place in the top half.

Leicester City had thrashed Manchester United 4-2 in the reverse fixture in October last year and will be hoping for a repeat of the same outcome this weekend. Ahead of their latest meeting at Old Trafford, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.

Team News & Tactics

Manchester United

Edinson Cavani picked up a fresh injury while on international duty with Uruguay and will be ruled out for Saturday’s clash. Other than that, Manchester United have no other injury concerns, while the Brazilian duo of Fred and Alex Telles is expected to be available after their long trips.

Manchester United will line up in a 4-3-3 formation in front of goalkeeper David de Gea, who was not involved during the international break. He will be shielded by the centre-back partnership of Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire. The duo will be flanked by the full-back pairing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw, with the latter under the scanner after his recent comments.

Scott McTominay will don the No. 6 role for the home team and look to keep a check on James Maddison’s output. Fred is unlikely to be rushed back because of his strenuous travel, which could see Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes start as the other two central midfielders, with the duo sharing the creative burden for Manchester United.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the undisputed starter in the No. 9 role for the Red Devils, while Jadon Sancho is also certain to feature from the kickoff in light of his recent form. Anthony Elanga and Marcus Rashford will be vying for the final spot in attack, with the latter likely to be given a rare starting opportunity to find his form back.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Fernandes, McTominay, Pogba; Rashford, Ronaldo, Sancho

Leicester City

Leicester City have been handed a huge blow as Wilfred Ndidi has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. He joins Ryan Bertrand, Danny Ward and Jamie Vardy out on the sidelines. But ex-Manchester United defender Jonny Evans is back in contention, while Wesley Fofana, Marc Albrighton and Harvey Barnes are also available for selection for the Foxes.

Leicester are likely to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation at Old Trafford in front of goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. The returning Fofana and Evans should pair up at the heart of the Foxes’ defence while James Justin slots in at right-back. With Luke Thomas a doubt for the game, Timothy Castagne should continue on the left side of the backline.

With Ndidi ruled out, Nampalys Mendy could occupy one of the two slots in the midfield double pivot. He will be in charge of the defensive duties while partner Youri Tielemans looks to provide the forward thrust from the centre. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, who has been impressive of late, ought to line up in the No. 10 role and look to cause problems to the Manchester United defence.

James Maddison ought to take up the right flank, from where he will look to drift into central positions and carve out chances for his teammates. Harvey Barnes will pose a much more direct threat out wide on the left-wing, while Kelechi Iheanacho slots in as the centre-forward.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Justin, Fofana, Evans, Castagne; Tielemans, Mendy; Maddison, Dewsbury-Hall, Barnes; Iheanacho

Key Stats 

  • Manchester United have lost their last three meetings with Leicester City in all competitions. 
  • Manchester United have won only three of their previous ten matches in all competitions. On Saturday, they could lose consecutive competitive fixtures for the first time since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s final two matches as manager. 
  • Leicester City have won three of their last four Premier League games, as many as in their previous 14.
  • Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has scored a league goal against 83 different opponents but hasn’t scored in either of his two last league games against Leicester City. 
  • Only three teams have a worse Premier League away record this season than Leicester, who have picked up just 12 points on their travels (W3, D3, L7). They have lost five of their last six Premier League away games (W1).

Player to Watch

Bruno Fernandes

After signing a new contract with Manchester United on Friday, Bruno Fernandes will be aiming to celebrate it with a match-winning display when he steps out at Old Trafford to face Leicester City. The 27-year-old has been among the club’s best players since his arrival in January 2020, although he has seen some dip in form this season.

Despite that, the Portuguese international has posted impressive numbers of nine goals and 14 assists in all competitions. Furthermore, he has also created 76 chances in the Premier League this season – only Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold (77) has more. With Manchester United needing inspiration to turn things around, they will look at the ex-Sporting CP star to produce the goods on Saturday.

Prediction

Manchester United 1-2 Leicester City

Manchester United have had over two weeks to leave their Champions League debacle behind and focus on the task at hand to ensure that they finish in the Premier League top four. However, it will be easier said than done as they face up against a Leicester City side who have recovered most of their injured players, even though Jamie Vardy and Wilfred Ndidi are set to miss out on Saturday.

The returns of Jonny Evans and Wesley Fofana should give them a solid base to build on, while James Maddison has been showing signs of his best form of late, having been directly involved in 20 goals in all competitions this term. Furthermore, Brendan Rodgers’ side have beaten Manchester United in each of their last three meetings, including once at Old Trafford last term.

As a result, The Hard Tackle predicts the Foxes to come out on top yet again on Saturday, heaping further misery on Ralf Rangnick’s side and putting their hopes of a top-four finish in further jeopardy.

2 Responses to “Manchester United vs Leicester City Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Joe says:

    Your score prediction is wrong.
    United will win 3-1

  2. Mitchel says:

    When a team like Leicester city barely wins away games let’s not fool ourselves this match will end 2-0 or 4-0 united to win

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