Manchester United vs Leicester City Preview

Manchester United vs Leicester City Preview
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Image from Shakespeare Pub
It has finally returned! The Premier League begins again and all players, managers and fans are raring to go as United host the first match of the season against the 2015/16 Premier League champions on Friday night at 20:00 GMT. However, before talking about the build-up to the game, there are a few things that need mentioning and of course, its about Deadline Day:

At the time of writing, Jose Mourinho has finished his sombre press conference and while Deadline Day ends today, it would seem the gaffer is concerned that there will be no more signings this window despite both he and Alexis Sanchez demanding that new players be brought in to compete with Manchester City and second favourites, Liverpool for the title and aim to build on their 19 point gap between their noisy neighbours. Whilst Yerry Mina seems set to join Everton, Maguire has been told he cannot leave Leicester despite wanting to join the Red Devils and Jerome Boateng has already rejected United's initial offer as he believes that they are not contenders for the Champions League and although he may listen to a revised contract, he currently is training with Bayern Munich ahead of the DFL-Supercup final against Eintracht Frankfurt. This leaves the other main target, Toby Alderwiereld, who Tottenham have claimed will be allowed to leave for the right price, a reported fee of around £50m. He is a world class defender and pivotal for Belgium in the World Cup, especially with his ball-playing abilities and composure with and without the ball and would also link up well with his Belgian teammates in Lukaku and Fellaini who have now both returned to training following their holidays. This lack of transfer dealings does also imply that players will not be allowed to leave the club with Darmian, Pogba and Martial all linked with moves away but if one was to leave, it would be Matteo Darmian having been linked with a host of Italian clubs such as AC Milan, Juventus, Inter and Roma. Sometimes getting a bargain is not always necessary and simply paying what is asked for has to be done, Chelsea and Liverpool have done so with Kepa (£71m) and Allisson (£67m) from Bilbao and Roma respectively as they aim to challenge for the title and build on last season. 
Ed Woodward, get the job done!
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Image from South China Morning Post
As for the build-up to the match, Jose has revealed the list of players who are injured and will not feature: Antonio Valencia, Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera were all injured during pre-season with Herrera limping off against Bayern last Sunday and so will not feature against Leicester. New signing Diogo Dalot is not ready to feature after his surgery and neither will Argentinian duo Marcos Rojo and Sergio Romero who both remain sidelined after suffering injuries whilst on international duty. The manager has also revealed that the World Cup stars that have just returned, such as Pogba, Fellaini, Lingard and Lukaku could feature as the side may need them due to the lack of transfer dealings and the series of injuries in the right back and centre midfield positions. As for Leicester, Kasper Schmeichel should be between the sticks as the links to Chelsea have ended as the Blues have signed Kepa from Bilbao to replace Madrid-bound Courtois. Kelechi Iheanacho has had an excellent preseason and could start alongside Jamie Vardy, who had another excellent goalscoring season by finding the net twenty times in the league as the Foxes finished ninth. With Riyad Mahrez departing for Manchester City, Marc Albrighton could start on the left with new signing, Rachid Ghezzal on the right as Demarai Gray should be unfit to play and the wingers can harrass the wide areas of United's defence with trickery and pace. Harry Maguire may feature for either sides depending on how the transfer market goes and scored a late equaliser when these teams last played eachother in December 2017. However, if the deal does go through for Maguire to join United, Soyuncu has been signed for Leicester and could make his debut for the club. However it seems likely that either Aleksander Dragovic and Wes Morgan will play as the two centre backs if this situation occurs. Jonny Evans is injured and is unlikely to feature either but Ricardo Pereira may make his debut after signing from Porto early on in the transfer window. 

This could be a tough game for United and neither a loss nor a draw will be sufficient for the fans, players or the manager as City are expected to beat Arsenal on Sunday. Injuries, late arrivals and lack of transfers have all hindered the club's chances of success this year but perhaps there is something up Jose's sleeve that he is saving for later? Either way, the game will be a narrow one and hopefully United will know how to deal with Jamie Vardy by now and nullify the pacy striker before he scores another goal against United. The Red Devils need to play faster and with more urgency if they are to compete but should start the season off with a win at home. 

Predicted Lineup: De Gea, Fosu-Mensah, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw, Pereira, Fred, Pogba, Mata, Sanchez, Rashford

PREDICTED SCORE: 2-0 to Man United


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