Saturday 2 February 2019

Match preview: Leicester City v Man Utd

Unbeaten in games against Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool in the last six weeks, Leicester City have proved that they are a match for the Premier League big guns on their day.

Despite that, manager Claude Puel has been a man under pressure all season and his relationship with the fans has remained edgy. Those results have been offset with defeats and dropped points to sides below them, coupled with the unpalatable FA Cup KO at the hands of Newport.
Puel came under fire for his decision to rest key players for that match despite Leicester sitting safely in mid-table, and the Carabao Cup quarter-final against Manchester City, which ended in penalty shootout defeat.

In contrast, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done no wrong during his first month as United's caretaker manager having picked up 19 points from a possible 21 with two FA Cup victories thrown in. That run has lifted the Reds to within two points of the top four, and a win here would see us leapfrog Arsenal ahead of their game at Manchester City. 

 Solskjaer's upbeat and unfussy approach has obviously been a breath of fresh air, and his tactical nous impressive - but our side are not world-beaters yet.

 New Leicester loan signing Youri Tielemans could make his debut, with Foxes boss Puel set to make a late decision on the Monaco man and Belgian international. Leicester have no new injury concerns ahead of the game at the King Power.
The fit again Chris Smalling could start for the first time in two months for United, but Marcos Rojo remains sidelined. Solskjaer is set to see French duo Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial - fresh from signing a new five year deal at Old Trafford - shake off minor injuries in time to face the Foxes, for whom form has been indifferent. There are no other injuries to contend with.

On Martial, Solskjaer said: " He's a fantastic finisher, great ability, he's young, he's intelligent, he knows his football. He is a very exciting talent and one of the best young players in Europe.
"We are delighted to have him commit his long-term future to this club.
"He knows that I'd like him to do a couple more runs in behind, but I've not seen many players with the quick feet and the skills in the last third as he has, so we're going to build his career and hopefully he'll grab the chance with both hands."

Ole will be hoping his charges can return to winning ways after the draw with Burnley in midweek, when late goals from Pogba and Victor Lindelof salvaged an important point and maintained our unbeaten run under the Norwegian. 
United were understandably disappointed not to have extended the caretaker manager’s perfect start to nine consecutive victories but, ultimately, it means the gap to the top four is just two points, after Chelsea’s 4-0 defeat to Bournemouth on Wednesday.
Form guide: Leicester City L W L L L D Man Utd W W W W W D 
Match odds: Leicester City 11/10 Draw 5/2 Man Utd 1/3
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

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