Manchester United v Leicester – Match Preview

Manchester United v Leicester

Manchester United and Leicester are charged with being curtain-raisers for the new Premier League season when they clash at Old Trafford on Friday evening.

Usually the first day back at school is when everyone meets up to exchange summer tales and meet new faces but, this time, it has an empty classroom feel to it as the list of absentees is threatening to get out of control.

Missing names making the headlines

Antonio Valencia, Diogo Dalot, Marcos Rojo, Nemanja Matic and Sergio Romero will definitely miss out for United, while Eric Bailly and Ander Herrera are doubts. World Cup stars Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku, Ashley Young and Jesse Lingard are also likely to miss out.

Similarly, Harry Maguire and Jamie Vardy aren’t being considered for the Foxes due to their involvement with England this summer in Russia.

Fred (at the time of writing, though that is subject to deadline day change) is the only high profile arrival into the Red Devils squad this summer, while Claude Puel has added Ricardo Pereira, Jonny Evans, James Maddison, Danny Ward and Rachid Ghezzal to his mix.

History on United’s side

Unsurprisingly, Man United are strong favourites at 1.50 to win, with Leicester 7.50 and the draw priced at 4.10.

This isn’t going to be an easy start for Man United, given the aforementioned absenteeism and Jose Mourinho’s pre-season moaning over how tough things are going to be for his relatively un-bolstered squad. There’s a current developing around his team now that means it could become yet another testing third season in the career of the Portuguese manager.

Still, his side can start with a win and a 2-1 home success for Man United at 8.75 looks a decent bet.



Strong home record can bolster Red Devils

History reveals that United start the season well – they have only lost one of their home openers since the inaugural 1992/93 Premier League campaign. They also own a strong home record against Leicester, winning seven of nine encounters with the Foxes at the Theatre of Dreams since the dawn of the Premier League era.

While they were left frustrated at times last season by a lack of fluid attacking play and goalmouth action, the Red Devils faithful have not often tasted home league defeat, with Man Utd beaten just twice in their last 36 home matches.

They’ve also netted at least two goals in their last five matches against Leicester in all competitions. The Foxes meanwhile lost their final three league games on the road last season, conceding at least two goals in each them. Man United are 1.66 to score over 1.5 goals in this game, a fairly solid proposition.

Juan can be the man

On the goalscorer front, Juan Mata (4.50 to score anytime) is worth considering in this game. The Spaniard has made it a habit of netting against the Foxes and has notched four in his last four appearances. That said, it is hard to be sure if Mourinho will start the midfielder and so it might just be worth holding fire until the team sheets are in for that one.

Alexis Sanchez admits he didn’t hit many high notes after joining Man United from Arsenal in January. The Chilean attacker has cited the difficulty of moving mid-season and says he’s now ready to show his best form for his new club.

With doubts over so many of United’s prime attacking options, Sanchez really does look the go-to man here and it won’t therefore be a big shock if he can net the first goal of the new Premier League season. Sanchez to score first is 5.00 against Leicester and worth a bet.