Old Trafford sees Manchester United host Leicester City on Sunday afternoon. When the two sides faced earlier on in the season, United left the King Power with all three points in a 1-0 victory. However, the Foxes’ previous two visits to United have been successful, earning a 1-1 draw last time out and winning at Old Trafford for the first time since 1998 two seasons ago.
Manchester United have drastically improved this season under Dutchman Erik ten Hag and his philosophy has begun to shine through more each game they play. Last weekend versus Leeds, Ten Hag showed his willingness to make brave decisions, such as moving Rashford up front and dropping Weghorst into the 10 role, boosting ball retention and central defensive support. Twenty minutes later, United had won the game 2-0 with both Rashford and Weghorst contributing to the goals.
The most recent game at Old Trafford for United was also against their Yorkshire rivals, where they came back from a 2-goal deficit to draw 2-2. The Red Devils have been incredible at home this season and conceding two goals at home last week occurred for the first time since the opening game in August. In fact, United have the third-best defensive record at home in the Premier League, averaging 0.73 goals conceded per 90 minutes.
The Red Devils are lucky to have one of the best players in the world currently, in the form of Marcus Rashford. United’s number 10 has scored 14 goals and registered 3 assists since his return from the World Cup. The dynamic forward is essential to the squad and he has developed into a clinical goal scorer under the guidance of Ten Hag. The manager has provided Rashford with the confidence to perform and his faith in the England international is being repaid. The versatile attacker has now scored in his last 6 Premier League home games and he will be looking to extend this run on Sunday.
The Foxes have struggled this season, at both ends of the field which will concern Brenden Rodger and the Leicester fans. However, in the past two weeks, their form seems to have taken a turn for the better by picking up 6 points from their last two Premier League games. The manner in which they claimed those victories is rather impressive.
The first victory since the World Cup came on their travels against Aston Villa, defeating Unai Emery’s side 4-2. Leicester currently sit in 13th place, yet this victory could be the catalyst to a second-half-of-the-season table climb. A week later and Leicester face a Spurs side who had just recently defeated Manchester City. After going 1-0 down in the 14th minute, the Foxes completed a comeback by half-time and they went into the break with the scoreline at 3-1. The match ended 4-1 to a somewhat new-look Leicester side.
Brenden Rodgers made three signings In the January window, bringing in winger Tete, centre back Harry Souttar and full-back Victor Kristiansen. The return of key player James Maddison has also boosted the team and the Inclusion of Kelechi Iheanacho has been arguably the best decision Rodgers has made all season. The Nigerian forward has been underused this season, but in his last three games, he has registered 3 goals and 3 assists. His ability to link up play with his back to goal, whilst providing a threat in behind has made the foxes far less one-dimensional. It seems that he will be the key to the remainder of Leicester’s season and he will want to continue his run of form against Manchester United, especially given he previously represented the blue side of Manchester.
This tie should see goals, especially considering Leicester are second in the table for goals scored and conceded on their travels. United have also seen over 2.5 goals in the last 5 Premier League games at Old Trafford. The Red Devils faced first in La Liga Barcelona last night, in a game that they should have won (it ended 2-2). If United perform how they did in Spain, then they should be too much for Leicester on Sunday and with the home advantage, I believe Ten Hag collects another 3 points to his name.
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