By John Ryan
- United looking to make it three wins out three before International break
Jaap Stam joined Manchester United in the summer of 1998 and was hauled off at half time in his first ever Premier League game at home to Leicester City.
Leicester tested him all day with crosses, balls to feet, runs in behind and shots on goal. Despite a growing reputation from his time at PSV Eindhoven. Stam faced a torrid start to life in the Premier League.
Five months later he scored Manchester United’s sixth in a rousing win at Filbert Street. Stam and the team had settled; four months later they were Champions of England and Europe.
Fast forward nineteen years and Victor Lindelof has enjoyed a similar start to life at Old Trafford.
Bought as a strong ball playing centre back. He gifted a penalty to Real Madrid in pre-season and his manager has benched him since.
While Manchester United have changed managers and playing styles since.
The club still enjoys the same expectations as back then however Leicester City are a very different club to the side who were flatter by going two goals up at Old Trafford in August 1998.
By winning the 2015-2016 Premier League title. Leicester proved that childhood dreams can come true and hard work can triumph to the greatest effect.
In Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar the character Brutus had to contemplate purging Caesar for the good of the community.
Craig Shakespeare had a similar experience last season as he saw title winning manager Claudio Ranieri sacked. Shakespeare kept Leicester in the Premier League but now faces a similar task to Ranieri two years ago.
Improving a side who had stayed up by wins in the last games of the season. Shakespeare’s side lost on the opening weekend to Arsenal in an end to end 4-3 defeat. They followed that up with a 2-0 win over Premier League newcomers Brighton.
Leicester travel to Old Trafford to face a Manchester United side finally showing the same ruthlessness that last won them the title five seasons ago.
Turning Draws Into Wins
Last season Jose Mourinho focused on turning Premier League defeats into draws. His side were hard to beat then but now those draws look to be wins.
United are heavily fancied to take three points from this game and with the feel-good factor of Zlatan Ibrahimovic re-signing for another season on a heavily reduced wage it is tempting to plump for a one sided home win.
Mourinho may be tempted to go with the same side who has started well to date but the form of Anthony Martial as a substitute might earn him a starting berth.
At left back, Blind and Darmian will battle it out for the starting berth. With the aforementioned Lindelof still finding his feet a rejuvenated Phil Jones should start at centre back.
Leicester can still count on the spine of their title winning season. Looking through each line of the field Schmeichel, Morgan, Mahrez and Vardy provide vast experience and skill to trouble any Premier League team.
Former Red, Danny Simpson whose Twitter battles with Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher have made him infamous, provides a reasonable attacking threat down the right flank.
Leicester have shown over the past two seasons that goals on the road are not a problem, however Manchester United will not be as porous as Arsenal were.
Matic Looking A Bargain
The form of Nemanja Matic has made his price tag look more than reasonable.
With his reading of the game allowing Paul Pogba more chances to attack Leicester lack a player capable of stemming the threat as Ngolo Kante potentially could.
With Romelu Lukaku making runs behind every defence he has played against this season. He is giving Mourinho plenty of options in attack.
United can play with a three or a two up front and for a man of his size his movement is difficult to counteract.
Manchester United thrashed champions Leicester 4-1 at Old Trafford last season.
The home side have strengthened significantly since then and another home win is on the cards here.
Leicester have one main hope though; United have not gone behind in their two games to date nor against major opposition in pre-season.
If they can nab the first goal it will be a test for Mourinho’s tactics to produce a win from behind.
Verdict: Manchester United 3-1 Leicester, Vardy to put Leicester a goal up, Lukaku to score twice.