For their fifth match of the Premier League season, Manchester United travel to the King Power Stadium. After claiming two victories in a row, United appears to be in excellent spirits.
On the other side, Leicester City have just one point and are now at the bottom of the league. Despite controlling the whole match against Southampton, Leicester were defeated 2-1. When United and Leicester last met at the King Power Stadium, United lost 4-2. After Jamie Vardy struck for the home team, United attempted a comeback, but it was fruitless. Late into the extra time, Patson Daka converted to give the Foxes all three points.
There has been some cohesion created in this United side (that is still not at its best) since they defeated Liverpool. Marcus Rashford appears to be a guy who will give his all to get United to the standard that everyone wants them to be, and the defence as a whole displays a lot of consistency. Once more, Lisandro Martinez was United’s player of the game, defying the critics.
United come into this game on the back of a gritty, well-fought 1-0 win against Southampton. Leicester on the other hand suffered a 2-1 loss at the hands of Chelsea, who despite having a red card shown to Conor Gallagher, prevailed victors thanks to a brace by new signing, Raheem Sterling.
When & Where?
Venue: King Power Stadium
Date: Thursday, 1st September 2022.
Time: 20:00 BST.
Referee: Craig Pawson.
Assistant Referees: Marc Perry, Scott Ledger.
Fourth Official: Simon Hooper.
VAR Official: Jarred Gillett.
Youri Tielemans, Dennis Praet, and Harvey Barnes were still on the lineup when Brendan Rodgers introduced eight alterations to his starting XI on Saturday from the players who overcame Stockport County in the second round of the League Cup on Tuesday.
Ryan Bertrand is sidelined for a considerable amount of time with a knee injury, while James Maddison missed the Foxes’ defeat to Chelsea but might feature on Thursday.
Ayoze Perez might be given a chance down the right side, while Wilfred Ndidi will want to be reinstated before Boubakary Soumare. Youri Tielemans is anticipated to start in the middle of the field unless anything changes regarding his future.
With Casemiro filling in for the injured Anthony Martial on the sidelines against Southampton, Ten Hag kept the same lineup from the victory against Liverpool.
It seems probable that Ten Hag’s starting XI will change in the middle of the week because United faces Arsenal on Sunday. Casemiro, Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Maguire, and Luke Shaw might all start versus the Foxes, giving those who played the last two games a break.
Additionally, Anthony Martial, who has been dealing with an Achilles injury, will likely only be named on the bench.
The Foxes are likely to set up in a 4-3-3 after their 4-1-4-1 & 3-5-1-1 setups have failed to bring in any positives or for that matter, points. They sit 19th in the Premier League table and things do not look good for Rodgers’ men as they face a fairly high-morale United team before heading off to the south coast to face Brighton this weekend.
With the lack of clinicality upfront, Rodgers is expected to bench Dennis Praet to bring in Ayoze Perez. In their last game, against a 10-man Chelsea, the Foxes failed to finish high-profile chances that you would normally expect them to finish off. Jamie Vardy of all people had the worst of worst days as he failed to finish off any of the three big chances created for him.
In order to counter Leicester’s 4-3-3 setup, United will try to gain a numerical advantage in the middle with Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw both acting as inverted full-backs while Rashford and Sancho will try to maintain the width up front. As seen in Leicester’s last few games, Castagne pushes high and hence, United can exploit that space and Rashford’s pace to create chances.
The Southampton game proves that the system and the tactics of Erik ten Hag are very adaptable and hence if there is a major change in Leicester’s setup, I can see United making the most of it in the latter stages of the game.
With James Maddison potentially starting on the bench, the whole creative responsibility falls on Youri Tielemans’ hands. Despite the loss, the Belgian was arguably the best player on the pitch alongside Raheem Sterling. He made it extremely hard for Chelsea’s defenders to deal with him and posed a major threat throughout the game.
His underlying numbers prove that he enjoyed a spotless game not just offensively but defensively as well. He had a 93% pass accuracy along with 6 key passes, an 86% long ball accuracy, and 3 big chances created. He also won 8/9 ground duels and seems like the biggest threat that United will face on Thursday.
The passing ability of Bruno Fernandes will greatly be required in a game like this. With the Foxes’ fullbacks pushing high up the pitch, his long ball ability and his knack to pick out Rashford and Sancho’s runs could make it difficult for Rodgers’ men to prevent the Red Devils from scoring.
With Cristiano Ronaldo starting potentially, Fernandes will have the time and space to seek out his teammates in the box. In the last two games, United had started without the presence of a proper number nine on the pitch, and hence, Bruno had to make those deep runs into the box. However, this game could give him the chance to roam and produce freely.
Leicester City (4-3-3): Ward; Castagne, Amartey, Evans, Justin; Ndidi, Tielemans, Dewsbury-Hall; Perez, Barnes, Vardy.
Manchester United (4-3-2-1): De Gea; Dalot, Maguire, Martinez, Shaw; Casemiro, Eriksen; Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford; Ronaldo.