Leicester City vs Manchester United Preview: Red Devils look to close the gap on top four

Leicester City vs Manchester United Preview: Red Devils look to close the gap on top four

A win for United would see them move within a point of their rivals for a Champions League spot while a win for Leicester would see them move further away from the drop.

notfirstnoel
Noel John Alberto

With losses for Arsenal and Liverpool on Saturday, Manchester United have another massive chance to close the gap on the top-four when they face Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.

The race for the elusive Champions League spots is heating up towards the season's final stretch and a win for the Red Devils away at the reigning league champions would leave them just a point behind Liverpool and two points behind Arsenal.

Leicester’s woes

Not many expected Leicester City to be challenging for a Premier League title, but not many expected to see them towards the bottom of the table. It has been a troubling two months for the Foxes. Claudio Ranieri’s side has not picked up three points since December, winning 1-0 over West Ham United at home on the last day of 2016.

With wins from Hull City and Sunderland on Saturday, the Foxes are beginning to see themselves in a relegation scrap, just a point above the Tigers and two points above Sunderland and Crystal Palace. This game is more of a must-win for the Foxes then it is for United if anything.

Back on track?

After their rivals dropped points in the middle of the week, Jose Mourinho’s men failed to take advantage of that after a frustrating 0-0 draw with Marco Silva’s Hull City side. The Red Devils had plenty of opportunities but Eldin Jakupovic stepped up with some brilliant denials on Juan Mata and Paul Pogba to deny the hosts three points.

After a torrid December and early January which saw United win six straight, the side has hit a bit of a lull since then, picking up three consecutive draws against Liverpool, Stoke City, and Hull respectively. Their last league win came, ironically enough just like Leicester, came against West Ham United. The form of the Red Devils in the cups seem to be strong though, as they are currently in the EFL Cup Final and the FA Cup Round of 16.

Head-To-Head

United won their home fixture 4-1 earlier this season in what may have been their best display of football all season long. The only blip there was being unable to keep the clean sheet due to Demarai Gray’s stunning strike. United also defeated Leicester in the FA Community Shield to kick off the season with a 2-1 win at Wembley with Zlatan Ibrahimovic bagging the winner.

Injuries and Suspensions

Phil Jones will not play tomorrow after being unable to recover from his foot injury he picked up against Hull City. Eric Bailly, who is also recovering from an ankle injury, is likely to replace him in center of the back four and will likely partner Marcos Rojo.

Islam Slimani is back in training after picking up an injury after his return from the African Cup of Nations. Leandro Ulloa is also back in training but has stated his refusal to play for the club after feeling turned on against Ranieri.

Predicted XIs

Leicester City: Schmeichel; Fuchs, Huth, Morgan, Simpson; Mahrez, Ndidi, Drinkwater, Gray; Okazaki; Vardy

Manchester United: De Gea; Blind, Rojo, Bailly, Valencia; Carrick; Martial, Pogba, Herrera, Mkhitaryan; Ibrahimovic

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