Saturday, 28 November 2015

Leicester vs Manchester United

Pre-Match Analysis

Leicester vs United. A crucial game for both teams and one that is key for the top position in the league. Leicester, who are currently on 28 points and are incredibly 1st in the league, have stormed the league with sublime form in recent games. Their 3-0 away win against Newcastle United moved them up as leaders of the league, however Manchester United are not far behind. Currently in 2nd place, United are out for a win. Their most recent game against PSV in the Champions League did not go according to plan but none the less, Manchester United have proven on several occasions, just how great of a side they are. The clash between the top teams in the league will be one of the most important matches of the league and with both teams being in good form we can almost definitely expect goals. With players like Jamie Vardy and Chris Smalling being on incredible form, the game will be no doubt be one to watch. The real question everyone will be asking is whether Leicester can perform as well as they did when they last hosted the Reds.

Manchester United have played incredibly well defensively having only conceded 1 goal from their last 7 Premier League appearances. Goalkeeper David De Gea has proved to the world, just how great he is as a keeper. Game after game, David De Gea consistently pulls off spectacular saves for his side so will be a crucial part in the game against Leicester if he plays. United are missing key players due to injury including midfielder Ander Herrera, however they do have an incredibly talented set of players for the role. Midfielders such as Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin are capable of breaking down play and causing problems in the centre of the pitch. Whoever starts in Leicester’s midfield against United will have to face an incredibly deadly force. Manchester United also have key players like Juan Mata and Chris Smalling. Both these players will play an important part in the game and will need to play at their best to beat league Leaders Leicester.

Leicester have amazed the world. This time last season, they were bottom of the table and were almost defiantly thought to be relegated. This season however, they have played outstandingly in the league. Striker Jamie Vardy has scored in all of his last 10 games in the league and has played fantastically for his side. The last time Leicester hosted United, they put on a sublime performance winning 5-3 so this game will surely be spectacular. Leicester have played incredibly throughout this season but can their attacking style of play outplay United’s heavily defensive play? Leicester have scored an outstanding 28 goals in their 13 premier league games. This is higher than any other club in the league so Manchester United will having trouble defending against this side. Despite this, Manchester United have an incredible defence, having a conceding average of 0.69 goals per game.


Line-Up Analysis

It comes as no surprise to see David De Gea starting in goal for Manchester United in this crucial game against league leaders Leicester City. The fan favourite Spanish goalkeeper has been on incredible form and has been a vital role in our season so far. The standout change in the defence from our midweek game against PSV is the replacement of Marcos Rojo, for young talent Paddy McNair. This change could perhaps be a risky one, especially with attackers Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez being on incredible form. Despite this, United have consistently put on a great display of defensive football so we are defiantly capable of holding off the attacking opposition. Let’s wait and see whether or not our defensive line up of Darmian, Smalling, McNair and Blind, is enough to do the job. Playing a three at the back could be a challenge, but with Wing backs of Young and Darmian, we could be strong on the counter.

Carrick and Schweinsteiger are two midfielders capable of breaking down play and pulling off incredible tackles and passes. Both midfielders have years on experience so the swap between Schneiderlin and Carrick could perhaps be beneficial. The two practiced holding midfielders will have to play a vital part in the centre of the pitch and are more than capable of holding play and creating quick counter attacks. Having played an important part in the previous league game against Watford, Bastian Schweinsteiger should be feeling good for the clash against Leicester.

A couple big changes in the attack against Leicester sees Juan Mata starting for United rather than aspiring talent Jesse Lingard and also Ashley Young for Memphis. Mata, who started on the bench midweek, will be started in his preferred role as attacking midfielder and will need to be at his best against Leicester to create chances for Strikers Wayne Rooney and Martial. The attack against Leicester is very strong and with pace, power and experience all on the table, the game against league leaders Leicester City will surely be one of the most important games of the season.



First Half Analysis:

What a half! It started off solid, if uninspiring from United as it has been for most of the season. For 25 minutes we were excellent in stopping their midfield and counter attacks, but with absolutely no attacking flair, even when we had a chance to counterattack! Our players resorted to taking them out before they could counter which is wise, but maybe a bit risky in such early stages. When they broke from the corner, I knew we were in trouble. Young didn't know what he was doing and completely left Vardy unmarked. While we're on the topic - congratulations to Vardy on this remarkable feat. 

After the goal we went back to the 'stable' play we had before the goal but still with no inspiration. They had a good chance which De Gea managed to keep out but other than that it was pretty ordinary stuff. That is until stoppage time. From the corner, Basti used his strength and experience to break free and head home from close range.

As for individual performances, Smalling has been good, but i would like to see him stay back for set pieces now that it's been proven that there's no one left to cover for him. Speaking of which, I think that Memphis needs to be brought on for Young as the latter is already on a yellow and we need someone with blistering pace who can take players on as right now we are too static. I also think that we should consider bringing Rooney off as he has been slowing the pace down a lot in attack, holding the ball instead of releasing it quickly. Lastly, I think that Schneiderlin needs to be brought on for Carrick as he has lost possession a couple of times and having Schneiderlin there as a placeholder could free up some players to attack and he could stop Mahrez from running riot. That's all from us for now, let's hope we can put on an overall better show in the second half.

Second Half Analysis:

Well, that was a bit of a let down. It's been the same story all season long so let me just breeze over the second half and then talk about the implications for the season. Leicester had a few good chances on the break but our defence - especially Smalling held up. Depay coming on gave us the OPTION to attack fast, but sadly we didn't utilise it. Depay also had the best chance of the half when he failed to control a header from Darmian. That's really all there is for those 45 minutes of play, now for the rest of the season.

Overall Analysis:

How long do we have to put up with this slow possession football? Countless times I saw back passes when there were obvious attacking options available. We have the talent and the resources to be the best team in the league, and one of the best in the world - I truly believe that. But not like this. We may win the title this season or next but it really will be a hollow win, because we would have bored everyone including our own fans to death. Do we really want to be remembered as the team that played horrible football but managed to grind out results? Because we already have Chelsea for that. That would also mean saying goodbye of our hopes to win the champions league because it just wouldn't work in Europe - can you imagine this team going up against Barcelona or Munich? I've long been somewhat defensive of Van Gaal's philosophy having seen what it accomplished for us at the end of last season but almost all of my faith is gone. 

However, on the bright side, the title is not an impossible mission. We are only 1 point off the league leaders and considering the next few teams we're coming up against, we should be top of the league by Christmas. Although today was disappointing and we should have clinched three points, the only way is up and we must improve for our game next weekend against West Ham, which may be tough considering their away form against the top teams. 

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