Leicester City vs Manchester United: Premier League Preview and Prediction
With the Champions League spots left to play for, all eyes will be on the trio of Manchester United, Leicester City and Chelsea on the final day of the 2019-2020 Premier League. The Red Devils travel to the King Power stadium to face Leicester City in a game that can make or break both sides’ Champions League ambitions.
Manchester United only need a draw to confirm a top-four finish but Leicester need three points to qualify for next season’s Champions League. Chelsea are also in the running and can pip the Foxes for the Champions League spot.
Champions League at stake
Manchester United and Chelsea both have 63 points with the former currently third due to better goal difference.
Leicester are only a point behind the sides at fifth place.
For Brendan Rodgers to secure a Champions League spot, Leicester needs to either defeat Manchester United or draw and hope that Chelsea succumb to Wolves.
The Red Devils can secure a Champions League spot by drawing with the Foxes. If they lose, then they would also have to hope that Wolves beat Chelsea. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men also have the Europa League route available to qualify for the 2020-21 Champions League.
Chelsea need only a point but in case they lose to Wolves, they can still qualify if Leicester lose to Manchester United.
Head to Head
Rodgers and Leicester City would definitely have preferred a different opponent, considering the Foxes’ struggles against Manchester United.
Leicester have only won one of their 13 Premier League home games against the Red Devils. Manchester United have been victorious in eight of those games. Leicester’s last home victory against Manchester United was a 5-3 win in September 2014.
The tie is heavily skewed in the visitors’ favor considering that they have won four of their last five games against Leicester. The only blemish being a 2-2 draw in December 2017.
The previous Premier League meeting between the sides in September 2019 ended in a 1-0 win for Manchester United. Marcus Rashford’s penalty helped the Red Devils gain three important points.
Leicester were thumped by Tottenham in their last Premier League outing. Harry Kane scored a brace to lead Spurs to a 3-0 win.
Manchester United had to share points with West Ham in their previous Premier League game. Paul Pogba conceded a mindless penalty which Michail Antonio duly converted. Mason Greenwood rescued the game for the Red Devils as he scored a 51st minute equalizer.
Rodgers’ Leicester will be without a number of key players like James Maddison, Ben Chilwell, Ricardo Pereira and Caglar Soyuncu. The first three are sidelined due to injury while Soyuncu is suspended.
For the visitors, Luke Shaw and Eric Bailly will be additions to an injury list that already includes Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones.
Jonny Evans vs Mason Greenwood
One of the biggest positives for Manchester United this season has been the emergence of Greenwood.
The 18-year-old has worked his way into the XI on the back of impressive performances and productivity. 10 goals in the Premier League and 17 across all competitions are brilliant returns from a teenager.
Strong on either foot, Greenwood has showed his attacking credentials this season. He possesses a strong shot and surprisingly, for a teenager, he is adept at recognizing situations where he can release a shot.
Former Manchester United defender Jonny Evans will have to be at his best to contend with Greenwood. The Northern Irishman was off the pace in Leicester’s 0-3 loss to Tottenham and the Foxes cannot afford such a big capitulation this time out.
James Justin vs Marcus Rashford
A classic battle where two industrious runners will try to outdo each other.
James Justin was on the wrong end of the scoresheet in the loss to Tottenham. Still, it should not take away from the fact that the wing-back is one the hardest working players in Rodgers’ side.
Justin has shown his value as his incredible stamina allows him to contribute on either end of the field, especially in the 3-4-3 system that Leicester implements.
Rashford, who has formed a great understanding with Greenwood and Anthony Martial is likely to peg Justin on the defensive end.
The Man Utd forward’s pace will also be crucial during counterattacks and Rodgers will have to instruct Justin to not commit too much on the attacking end so as to prevent Rashford from leading United’s devastating counter-attacks.
Jamie Vardy vs Victor Lindelof
Manchester United’s defensive unit has been a cause for worry in recent outings. Victor Lindelof, in particular, was to blame for Olivier Giroud’s goal in the FA Cup semi-final.
Solskjaer made his displeasure with Lindelof clear and going up against Premier League Golden Boot frontrunner Jamie Vardy will be an acid test for the Swede.
Lindelof is a capable defender but he and former Leicester City man Harry Maguire have still not truly clicked as a center-back pairing. United fans will be hoping that both defenders are able to maintain their focus in this crucial game, especially against an opponent like Vardy who specializes in losing his marker.
The English striker has five goals and four assists in ten games against Manchester United. With the Golden Boot race still an open one, and United’s frailties in defense, there’s a high chance that Vardy will find the net.
Manchester United have had Leicester City’s number for a long time now. Against a Foxes side missing key players, the Red Devils have an even bigger advantage.
As Leicester need to win to secure a Champions League spot, they are likely to be on the front-foot. This, however, will make them vulnerable to United’s counterattacks. I expect the Red Devils to capitalize on the space that they will get and put the game beyond the Foxes. Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, Martial and Greenwood will be a thorn in Rodgers’ side throughout the 90 minutes.
Solskjaer has all of his key players fit unlike Rodgers and this gives the edge to United. The Red Devils will concede but I see them getting the dub and securing a Champions League spot – the perfect way to end a season that has seen them progress a lot.
Predicted scoreline: Leicester City 1-2 Manchester United