After a dream start, Jose Mourinho’s quest to reinvent himself as the Special One of football management is turning into a bit of a nightmare.
For the first time in a long time, Manchester United lost three games in the space of a week under the Portuguese gaffer – first to their Mancunian nemesis, then to Feyenoord in the Europa League and finally against Watford on domestic duties – and already the pressure is beginning to build.
“Wayne Rooney is experiencing the worst spell of his career”
The £80m messiah Paul Pogba is yet to fire, Wayne Rooney is experiencing the worst spell of his career and the United starting eleven has been chopped and changed more often that Kim Kardashian’s underwear. The point is that if there is ever a good time to play the Red Devils at Old Trafford, this is it.
Leicester City will be up for it anyway – they’ve got a decent record against United in the last couple of years, and in their last few performances they have shown signs of the side that, still even now it’s hard to believe, won the Premier League title last season.
So will be there be more egg on Mourinho’s face come Saturday afternoon, or will he be able to crack a smile after a home win?
A few injury concerns will have made the Special One’s job harder as he seeks a winning combination of players. Luke Shaw has suffered a groin injury and will definitely miss out – Daley Blind is the logical replacement. Anthony Martial is still suffering the side effects of concussion so Marcus Rashford will surely continue to deputise, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan is rated as 50/50 at best.
Will Wayne Rooney start? Jose Mourinho is a stubborn old mule, and he will no doubt keep faith in the struggling England midfielder/striker/whatever.
Leicester will have to make do without summer signing Nampalys Mendy again as he is still recovering from an ankle injury, while Kasper Schmeichel looks set to miss out as he too has a concussion to shake off.
2016/17 Season Stats
Stat fans, start your engines. Manchester United have scored in every Premier League game they have played this term, and conceded five of their six goals in their last two outings against City and Watford.
Leicester’s form has been crazily inconsistent – a 1-4 defeat to Liverpool sandwiched in-between comfortable victories over Burnley and Swansea, and a creditable goalless draw with Arsenal following a loss at Hull. Either way, they have scored in each of their last three outings and conceded seven in three, essentially (with two clean sheets).
United have delivered Over 2.5 Goals in 60% of their starts and BTTS in the same, with Leicester at 80% for Over 2.5 Goals and 60% for BTTS.
“no player in the Premier League has fired more shots at goal than Zlatan Ibrahimovic”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, no player in the Premier League has fired more shots at goal than Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The head-to-head record between Manchester United and Leicester City is largely irrelevant; United have been a superpower in English football for decades, Leicester….well, haven’t.
The Foxes have only become a force to be reckoned with in the past 18 months or so, and as such we can only give the head-to-heads a certain amount of credence.
The champions’ 5-3 victory in 2014/15 is their sole win over United in more than a decade; their last came in the 1997/98 season! The last five encounters have witnessed the Reds win twice, two draws and that City triumph of the season before last.
Predictions & Betting Tips
Goals… that’s what we’re looking at here. The last five Manchester United-Leicester fixtures have seen both teams scoring, and while that is a tantalising proposition at 4/5 with bet365 you can get 11/13 on Over 2.5 Goals if you have an 888sport account.
As far as a match winner is concerned it’s almost too close to call, particularly when we don’t know which United side is going to turn up at the moment. What we do know is that Leicester’s price of 9/2 to win the match is a little stingy, and that gives us value in the handicap market: why not give the Foxes a try at +1 at 13/10.
The bookies’ dismissal of Leicester’s chances here offers us another opportunity for great value: Jamie Vardy, in the Anytime Scorer market, has to be worth a back at 3/1 with Paddy Power.
Both Teams To Score – YES (Best price from BET365 at 4/5) – BET HERE
Over 2.5 Goals (Best price from 888Sport at 11/13) – BET HERE
Jamie Vardy Anytime Goalscorer (Best price from PADDY POWER at 3/1) – BET HERE
More betting previews here for this weekends games.