EPL WEEK 19! Leicester City VS Manchester United - SATURDAY (23/12/2017)

at 11:47 AM, 21/12/2017 (11 months ago)
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  Leicester City VS Manchester United
Saturday (23/12/2017)
20:45 (WAT)
Manchester United need to get back to winning ways fast after being knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Championship side Bristol City in midweek and on Saturday face the difficult trip to battle Leicester City as their Premier League season reaches its half-way mark.

Jose Mourinho will want to see his players deliver a quick response following the midweek upset, and wholesale changes are likely to be made for the trip to the East Midlands. And while they sit 11 points adrift of neighbours City at the top of the table, a positive result in the league should be considered the first step back on the road towards redemption.

The visit to Leicester is the first of four games in less than nine days over the busy holiday period, and Mourinho will be hoping for a full 12 points from the festive fixtures in order to get their season back on track.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic played 68 minutes in the midweek cup loss at Ashton Gate but while he did find the net, he still appears a long way short of full fitness. As such he is likely to return to the bench for the trip to Leicester.

Eric Bailly is out for the forseeable future with a serious ankle injury sustained on international duty with Cote d'Ivoire which has resulted in the need for surgery, while Marouane Fellaini could still be unavailable due to a knee injury.

Antonio Valencia suffered a slight hamstring issue against West Brom last Sunday so could be touch-and-go for this weekend, but Michael Carrick will remain on the sidelines following a procedure to deal with an irregular heart rhythm.

Paul Pogba has now served out his three-match suspension following his sending-off against Arsenal for a bad challenge on Hector Bellerin and returned to the side against Bristol City in midweek.

Ander Herrera has been booked four times this season and a yellow card against Leicester would see him pick up a one-match ban, while the same can be said for Ashley Young and Marcos Rojo. In fact, the Argentine has been cautioned in four of five domestic appearances this term, with the cup exit on Wednesday representing his first appearance without a booking.

Claude Puel's Leicester have the benefit of having no players either missing through suspension or on the verge of a ban.

Jose Mourinho made 10 changes against Bristol City in midweek but could revert back to something like the side which beat West Brom for the trip to the King Power.

Assuming Antonio Valencia pulls through his hamstring trouble he will start, but if he is absent then Ashley Young could switch to right-back and one of Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo or Matteo Darmian fill in on the left.

Paul Pogba will make his first league appearance since his red card at Arsenal, but in the attacking midfield line there could be a late decision on who starts. Having been the only player to start against both West Brom and Bristol City, Marcus Rashford may be given a rest with Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata candidates to return alongside Anthony Martial.

Leicester City hav really turned their form around since the arrival of Claude Puel in place of Craig Shakespeare in October, but in the past seven days they have suffered the double blow of a league hammering by Crystal Palace and a painful League Cup exit on penalties to Manchester City.

The Foxes have built their return to form on the solid base of a rarely-changed back five marshalled superbly by Kasper Schmeichel, skipper Wes Morgan and recent England call-up Harry Maguire. Meanwhile, it would appear as though they are finally getting over the loss of Premier League winner N'Golo Kante thanks to the performances in midfield of Wilfred Ndidi. Riyad Mahrez has also been flying high once more recently, while Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki continue to be a very real threat in attack.

Despite the home defeat to Palace on Saturday, the 2015-16 champions have already picked up 17 points in nine games under their new boss. That marks a vast improvement on Shakespeare's record of six points from eight matches out of the gate.

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ruthie at 12:07 PM, 21/12/2017 (11 months ago)
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