August 24, 2017
Leicester City fans could be forgiven this is a terrible time to play Manchester United. Two wins from two. Eight goals. Jose Mourinho working his magic and suddenly they’re joint title favourites. The mood is buoyant at Old Trafford and quite rightly so.
Leicester will be hoping to put a dent in this early season confidence, and I’m confident it will be United’s toughest challenge yet. Leicester have had an assured start to the season and are having no problems finding the net themselves. Were it not for a late comeback by Arsenal in the opening game of the season, we could be sitting joint top of the table with six points. With the return of some key players from injury, it’s shaping up to be an interesting game.
Leicester will need to put aside the air of uncertainty surrounding the potential outgoings of some of their biggest players whilst the transfer window is still open. There are question marks around Riyad Mahrez (who has openly spoken about his desire to leave), Danny Drinkwater, Demarai Gray, and even Jamie Vardy, who is said to be another Chelsea target.
Craig Shakespeare was given the full-time role over the summer at Leicester on merit. It’s a big statement from the club’s Thai owners, who many expected to bring in a “bigger” name as a replacement. Let’s not forget that Shakespeare has seen the club win titles in three different divisions during his two stints at the club. He was instrumental in creating Nigel Pearson’s Leicester which worked its way from League One and the Championship. Since the controversial sacking of Claudio Ranieri last season, Shakespeare has steadied the ship and few would say he doesn’t deserve to be in the job.
Expect him to have a calm demeanour on the touchline at Old Trafford. If things do get heated, you certainly wouldn’t want to get into a tussle with new assistant manager Michael Appleton. He signed a three-year deal over the summer from Oxford United, and to be frank looks hard as nails.
Ones to Watch
Kelechi Iheanacho will need no introduction to United fans. The 20-year-old Nigerian scored the winner for City’s 2-1 victory last season, and Leicester fans are chomping at the bit to see him start on Saturday which would mark his debut for the club since his £25 million move. Shakespeare insists he can play with Vardy, the two having connected well together in a pre-season friendly against Borussia Mönchengladbach. A toe injury at the end of that game has seen him out of action since, and his fitness may still count him out of the match. His goals to minutes ratio is one of the best in the league and could prove crucial if he does pass his fitness test.
Harry Maguire has made a strong start to his Leicester career too after a £17 million move from Hull in the summer. His performance against Brighton last weekend had some calling him a potential signing of the summer, and it’s exciting to see an assured centre half who has no issue in running with the ball and driving an attack. If his performances keep up, an England call could be on the cards.
Predicted Starting XI
An early Leicester goal could ruffle some feathers at Old Trafford. Leicester have not been goal shy this season and I think this game will have a lot of attacking opportunities at both ends of the field. There’s no doubt that United are going to provide a lot of firepower; they scored four in this fixture last year, and Maguire and Morgan will have even more to contend with this season since the arrival of Lukaku.
I’m going out on a limb and predicting an upset on Saturday with a 2-2 draw, with Vardy & Iheanacho getting the goals for Leicester. We can but hope, right?
Written by Kieran Doyle of Foxes Weekly