Premier League champions Leicester City could not have chosen a better time to visit Manchester United. The record Premier League champions have had a tough time of late but they have history on their side in games against Leicester. United have lost only twice in 20 league meetings with Leicester with six draws.
Two of those draws came last season, with the second stalemate having a huge influence on each teams season. The May day draw dealt a huge blow to United’s Champions League ambitions while Leicester essentially sealed the title with that point – Tottenham’s draw with Chelsea the following Monday secured The Foxes their title.
The teams met in the Community Shield in August with Jose Mourinho starting his reign with a trophy as United overcame Claudio Ranieri’s 2-1 at Wembley.
The turn of the calendar has proven disastrous for United – after winning all of their games in August, they went on a three game losing streak sparked by a derby day defeat against Manchester City which ended a run of nine home games unbeaten in the Premier League.
United ended the three game slump with an unconvincing EFL Cup victory over lowly Northampton Town. It took the introduction of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford to turn the tide in The Red Devils favour against The Cobblers.
City were also in midweek action but they weren’t as successful as they exited the Cup. They eventually lost 4-2 to Chelsea despite leading 2-0 with Martin Wasilewski dismissed for elbowing Diego Costa.
Ranieri’s team had been on a decent little run before the loss. They responded well to a 4-1 loss against Liverpool by beating Club Brugge 3-0 on their Champions League debut and recorded the same scoreline last week against Burnley.
Luke Shaw is a doubt after picking up a groan tear against Watford. If Shaw cannot feature he will likely be replaced by Marcos Rojo. Leicester’s pace could lead to Chris Smalling starting alongside Eric Bailly in the centre of defence and Daley Blind moving to the bench.
Marcus Rashford should make his second league start of the season as he has scored in his last two appearances. Wayne Rooney’s form has been under intense scrutiny but the club captain has started all but one game this season.
Islam Slimani scored a brace last week and is expected to partner Jamie Vardy up front once more. Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel missed the past two games with a concussion and is a doubt after picking up a muscle problem in training on Thursday. This could mean former United trainee Ron-Robert Zieler will start for the third consecutive game on his return to Old Trafford. Expect Claudio Ranieri to stay consistent and play the same outfield side who beat Burnley.
Marcus Rashford and Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Some were concerned that the big Swede’s presence would be detriment to the growth of the 18-year-old. Under Mourinho, Rashford has been shifted to the flanks as Ibrahimovic appears to be the figurehead of the frontline. The precocious talent has not let this hinder his performances however, scoring late on against Hull to salvage three points and hitting the scoresheet again at Watford. With four league goals, the Swede is United’s top scorer this season and will be expected to lead the line well against the Champions.
Dynamic Duo – Leicester City – Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani
The Algerian duo have contributed half of Leicester’s goal tally this season. Slimani wasted no time in settling into the Premier League by scoring two goals from just three shots last weekend. The 28-year-old already appears to have a decent connection with strike partner Jamie Vardy with the pair combining well in the Foxes second victory of the season. Mahrez was crucial in encouraging his international teammate to join him in the east Midlands and if the duo’s chemistry can be exhibited on the pitch opponents could be in big trouble.