Jamie Vardy is missing for Leicester as the visitors look to win the title at Old Trafford
Guest Blogger: Aaron Goldstein
Well here we are, the most unexpected scenario in Premier League history. Leicester City travel to England’s most successful club on Sunday, knowing a win would grant them their first ever Premier League title.
Claudio Ranieri’s men arrive at Old Trafford just 3 points away from Premier League glory. It could be an incredible day for the foxes, nobody could have expected the Foxes to clinch the title at the home of 13 time winners, Manchester United, let alone win the league all together.
It should be an exciting game between the two sides. Only one side, (other than Manchester United, themselves) have ever clinched the title at Old Trafford, that team was double-winning Arsenal in 2001/02. Leicester have an unbelievable opportunity and here is how the game could go.
Leciester arrive in Manchester having scored an impressive 63 goals already this term, over 20 more than the Red Devils however the Foxes have conceded 33 goals, 3 more than Louis Van Gaal’s men. United actually boast the league’s second best defensive record, only behind this season’s other surprise package, Tottenham.
Stats would show that the first half is likely to be fairly calm, 13 of United’s Premier League games at Old Trafford have ended 0-0 at half time. This is unsurprising considering Super-stopper David De Gea is in the form of his life.
A Leicester win would grant them the title but there is a much more pleasing alternative viewing for United supporters. A United win would pile the pressure on form-struggling Arsenal in the race for the last Champions League position. United are currently 5 points behind the Gunners with a game in hand. Arsenal travel to the Etihad next week to face Manchester City meaning that United would finish in the top 4 if they win all their remaining games as well as Arsenal losing to City, which is highly likely, taking into account their current form.
Leicester too, will of course want to win the match but will feel very safe knowing that Tottenham, their nearest title-challengers travel to face their London rivals, Chelsea on Monday. If United beat Leicester and Chelsea beat Tottenham, Leicester win the league. Tottenham are also without their young star Dele Alli, after his suspension by the FA.
Taking this into account, Leicester will be able to play with a calm approach however it is unlikely considering they have the chance to make history. On the other hand, Ranieri will not want his defenders to be exposed by United forwards. Jamie Vardy, Leicester’s top scorer is out for the visitors, meaning The Foxes will surely start with Shinji Okazaki and Leonardo Ulloa.
Marcus Rashford grabbed a brace against Arsenal in February and with Anthony Martial alongside him, Leicester’s defence will have to be well prepared. Of course, Leicester’s keeper is none other than United legend, Peter Schmeicel’s son, Kasper. The keeper has been in tremendous form this season and United will need to play similar to the way they played in February against Arsenal to grab some goals. However United’s defence must be up to their usual best as Leicester often punish teams especially on the counter-attack where they are rampant.
Chris Smalling has been a rock at the back this season but United’s full backs must be prepared to face PFA player of the year Riyad Mahrez who is always a menace. I assume the game will be an interesting affair. As Leicester come to the home of the 20-time title winners on the verge of history, both sides have everything to play for.
I am sure Leicester have the league wrapped up but I feel as though Man United have enough quality and momentum to prevent them from winning it this Sunday. Sorry Leicester fans.
My prediction: Manchester United 1-1 Leicester City