League-Leading Leicester Host the Red Devils

Leicester City atop EPL table

This weekend, fans will see a clash between the top two teams in the Premier League: Manchester United and…Leicester City. United being in the top two won’t come as too big of a surprise to fans, but they’re not even the best side in this matchup. Leicester City have shocked the world with their performance this season, and have stormed their way all the way to the top of the table, one point ahead of Saturday’s opponents. Whoever wins this clash will sit alone atop the table, but who will claim the spoils?

You may have heard that Jamie Vardy is currently the hottest striker in England at the moment. The 28-year-old has scored in his last 10 league fixtures. This impressive streak equals the Premier League record set by former United striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy in 2003. Vardy has been the key player in Leicester’s amazing start to the season serving as a catalyst for the attack and setting the tone up front. He currently leads the league with 13 goals (four ahead of Romelu Lukaku), and last season he helped spark the 5-3 upset of United with a goal and two assists. Going into Saturday’s match, Van Nistelrooy told reporters that he hopes that Vardy breaks his record, but only if the match ends in a United victory.

Through 13 games this season, Claudio Ranieri’s side has lost just once. However, the only time that they played one of the “Big Four,” the Foxes got thrashed 5-2 against Arsenal at the King Power Stadium. Granted, Leicester has gotten results against the likes of West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur, but they’ve also struggled for points against Bournemouth, Norwich City and Watford. There shouldn’t be any fear going up against United having beaten them the last time they traveled to Leicester, but it will be interesting if they can deal with the star power that Louis Van Gaal’s squad possesses. A victory Saturday would add more legitimacy to Leicester’s current league position, but a loss could spark a downhill role with games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City coming in quick succession.

Last week against Watford, we saw a Manchester United victory that was reminiscent of the days of Sir Alex Ferguson. After conceding in the final minutes of the match, it looked as if United were going to sulk to a 1-1 draw against a lesser side. The second half had lacked very many meaningful attacking moments from the Red Devils, and this late goal could have easily zapped any life from the star-studded side, but United kept pushing. Consistent pressure in the closing seconds of the match saw Bastian Schweinsteiger’s shot go into the back of the net with some help from Troy Deeney, and for the first time in what feels like years, fans saw that “never say die” attitude that defined United for decades. The momentum from this iconic victory should give United added confidence traveling to Leicester, and last year’s defeat means that Van Gaal’s men won’t underestimate the Foxes’ talent.

As of late, the injury bug has bitten United hard. Last week’s fixture saw them play without six key players including Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial, Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia. To make matters worse, Ander Herrera was forced to leave the game in the first 30 minutes due to a hamstring injury. Van Gaal has stated his optimism that both Martial and Rooney will return to the squad in time for Saturday’s fixture, but the absence of players like Herrera and Carrick in the midfield severely shorthanded. This lack of depth could see more academy players appear on the bench than usual, and could give players like Andres Peirera and Memphis Depay, who scored against Watford, a chance to shine.

Even with the injuries that United have suffered, I still think that they have more than enough talent to take all three points Saturday. Jamie Vardy will have to put in a magnificent performance to beat an in-form David De Gea, but even if he does score I don’t think it will be enough to push the Foxes to another momentous victory. Final Score: Leicester City 1-2 Manchester United

 

Tags: , , , ,

About the author: Collin Carpio

 

I am currently a senior at the University of Missouri in the Journalism School. I have been an avid follower of Manchester United since 2006 and of course I support the Stars and Stripes. Due to my St. Louis high school allegiances, I am a big supporter of Brad Davis and Sporting KC in MLS.

 

Recent posts in Manchester United

 

No Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Post of the Week