The Premier League gets underway this weekend with the first game of the season held on Friday night between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils finished runners-up to rivals Manchester City last season, but it’s been a turbulent summer for the club, with manager Jose Mourinho frustrated at a lack of transfer activity in recent weeks, despite signing Fred and Diogo Dalot already this summer. The Portuguese manager has been tasked with bringing trophies back to the club after the successful days of Sir Alex Ferguson, but they ended last season without a trophy and they look some way behind their local rivals, and indeed Liverpool, who reached the Champions League final last season and have strengthened significantly over the course of the summer.
Leicester have won the Premier League more recently than United have and Claude Puel’s side will be keen to strike an early blow in their challenge this year. Puel, himself, is under pressure at Leicester, following their dismal run at the end of last season which saw them lose their last five games. Since then, Riyad Mahrez has left the club, but Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire are still at Leicester, although both are unlikely to feature this weekend.
Manchester United vs. Leicester Predictions
I’m backing Manchester United to win this game, but I can’t see it being particularly high-scoring or thrilling. Both teams are without key players and it’ll be a slow start to the season for both teams.
Manchester United vs. Leicester Betting Tips
Head to Head
- Manchester United are unbeaten in their last seven Premier League games against Leicester City, winning four and drawing three.
- At Old Trafford, Leicester City have lost on seven of their last eight visits in the league (D1), scoring a total of just three goals in that period.
- Manchester United have won their opening fixture more often than any other side in Premier League history (17).
- The last time Manchester United and Leicester City met on the opening weekend of a Premier League campaign was back in 1998/99, with United coming back from 0-2 behind to draw 2-2 at Old Trafford.
- This is only the second time in English Football League history that the top-flight season has kicked off on a Friday and Leicester have been involved both times. The other occasion was last season, when Leicester lost 3-4 at Arsenal.
- Manchester United have only lost one of their 10 Premier League games played on a Friday (W6 D3 L1), though this came in their last such match, vs Brighton in May 2018.
- At home, the Man Utd are unbeaten in 20 top-flight league games played on a Friday (W14 D6). Their last such defeat came back in April 1950 (0-2 vs Birmingham).
- Red Devils forward Romelu Lukaku has scored four goals in his last six Premier League games against Leicester.
- Man Utd’s Juan Mata has scored four goals in his last four Premier League appearances against Leicester.
Manchester United Team News
Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Phil Jones have all returned to training, but Rashford is the only one likely to play a part against Leicester. Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Marourane Fellaini and Ashley Young are all on holiday. Antonio Valencia and new signing Diogo Dalot are unavailable, meaning that Matteo Darmian is likely to start at right-back. Ander Herrera and Eric Bailly are injury doubts, while Nemanja Matic and Sergio Romero are definitely out through injury.
Predicted Manchester United XI: David De Gea, Matteo Darmian, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Fred, Andreas Pereira, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford, Alexis Sanchez
Leicester Team News
Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire are unlikely to be involved as they’re still not match fit after returning late from their holidays. Nampalys Mendy, Demarai Gray, Jonny Evans and Matthew James are all set to miss out too. However, new signing Rachid Ghezzal should be available to make his debut for the Foxes.
Predicted Leicester XI: Kasper Schmeichel, Ben Chilwell, Wes Morgan, Yohan Benalouane, Wilfried Ndidi, Vicente Iborra, Ricardo Pereira, James Maddison, Marc Albrighton, Kelechi Iheanacho