Leicester City welcome Manchester United to King Power Stadium on Saturday as two of the Premier League’s top three meet. The busy festive period in English football is well and truly underway as teams return to Premier League action after the midweek cup assignments. Brendan Rodgers’ men are four points behind leaders Liverpool and one point ahead of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in third.
Leicester City and Manchester United will lock horns at the King Power Stadium this weekend as Matchweek 15 of the 2020/21 Premier League kicks off. And we will kick things off on the afternoon of Boxing Day with a belter of a clash as second-placed Leicester City play hosts to third-placed Manchester United.
- Date: Saturday, Dec. 26 | Time: 07:30 a.m. ET
- Location: King Power Stadium — Leicester, England
- TV: NBC Sports Network
- Live Stream: WATCH FREE HERE
Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on December 20, 2020© Reuters
No team in the top half of the Premier League table has lost more matches than Leicester (five) this season, but the Foxes have recorded the joint-most wins with Liverpool (nine). As a result, a total of 27 points has left them second in the table, which represents an excellent opening to the 2020-21 campaign.
Brendan Rodgers’s side had a slight wobble between November 22 and December 3 as they lost three of their four matches in all competitions, but the former English champions have won four of their last five.
Leicester bounced back from a 2-0 home defeat to Everton on December 16 by winning 2-0 at Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, but the team’s home form has been slightly concerning, winning three and losing four of their seven top-flight fixtures at the King Power Stadium.
There is no question that the hosts have the tools to harm United on Boxing Day, but the Foxes have lost each of their last four Premier League matches with the Red Devils, while they have not beaten the 20-time English champions since a 5-3 success in September 2014.
Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes celebrates scoring against Leeds United in the Premier League on December 20, 2020© Reuters
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s position as United boss has been called into question on a number of occasions already this season, and the Red Devils did not manage to advance to the last-16 stage of the Champions League, which was a huge disappointment considering their start to the group stage of the competition.
United’s Premier League form has been excellent, though, winning six of their last seven, remaining unbeaten in the process; a record of eight wins, two draws and three defeats from 13 matches has brought them 26 points, which is enough for third spot in the table with a game in hand.
The Red Devils are only five points behind leaders Liverpool and have recently been mentioned as possible title contenders, which is incredible considering their struggles in the early stages of the campaign.
The visitors will enter Saturday’s clash off the back of an impressive 2-0 win at Everton in the EFL Cup on Wednesday night, which allowed them to book their spot in the semi-finals of the competition.
Solskjaer’s side thumped Leeds United 6-2 in the league last weekend, meanwhile, and have now won each of their last 10 top-flight fixtures on the road. Incredibly, another victory here would equal a Premier League record of 11 straight away successes, which is currently held by Chelsea and Manchester City.
Team News & Tactics
Leicester City will once again be without the services of right-back Ricardo Pereira for the game. Caglar Soyuncu is closing in on a return but Saturday’s fixture might come a tad too soon for the Turkish centre-back. Jamie Vardy is fit and available after complaints of a minor groin issue following the Tottenham game.
Unlike their opponents, Leicester were not involved in the Carabao Cup in midweek, meaning they will come into the game well-rested. Brendan Rodgers used a 4-2-3-1 formation against Tottenham last time out and could stick with the same on Saturday, instead of reverting to the three-man defensive setup he has used for large parts of the season.
Kasper Schmeichel is a certainty to feature in the Leicester goal and will be shielded by the defence comprising of James Justin and Timothy Castagne as the full-backs with Wesley Fofana and ex-Manchester United star Jonny Evans forming the central defensive partnership.
Wilfred Ndidi, who was at the top of his game in the win against Tottenham, is sure to start in the midfield double pivot and will be tasked with cutting out the influence of Bruno Fernandes. He will be partnered by Youri Tielemans in the middle of the park, who will have the licence to push forward.
James Maddison ought to take up the No. 10 slot and will be the creator-in-chief for the home team. The width will come from Marc Albrighton and Harvey Barnes, while Jamie Vardy is the undisputed choice to lead the Leicester City attack.
Probable Lineup: (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Justin, Fofana, Evans, Castagne; Tielemans, Ndidi; Albrighton, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has one major concern heading into Saturday’s clash as Scott McTominay, who was the star of the show against Leeds United, is a doubt due to a groin injury he picked up in that game. The Manchester United manager is expected to make some changes to the side that started the cup tie against Everton on Wednesday.
David de Gea should return to the side after having made way for Dean Henderson in midweek. There will be a couple of notable changes in defence as well, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Victor Lindelof coming in to replace Axel Tuanzebe and Eric Bailly respectively. Captain Harry Maguire and Alex Telles are expected to hold on to their places in defence.
Fred was not used by Solskjaer in the cup tie and should return to the starting XI on Saturday, at the expense of Nemanja Matic. With McTominay a doubt, Paul Pogba is expected to be retained alongside the Brazilian in Manchester United’s midfield double pivot, after impressing against Everton in midweek.
Bruno Fernandes is a certain starter in the No. 10 role for United. Daniel James started the last league game against Leeds and scored, but Mason Greenwood is likely to get the nod over him on the right while Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial should fill up the remaining two slots in attack. Edinson Cavani will be an option from the bench.
Probable Lineup: (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; Fred, Pogba; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial
Prediction: Leicester City 2-2 Manchester United
United to add to Leicester’s home struggles with a narrow victory that thickens the plot in terms of the title race. This has all of the makings of a brilliant game of football, and there should be goals at the King Power Stadium. United will be searching for yet another away victory, but Leicester’s recent form has been strong, and we are struggling to separate the two sides, ultimately backing a 2-2 draw.