Leicester City vs Manchester United – The King Power Stadium – December 23, 2017 – 15:00 hrs – EPL Preview
Leicester City's good run in the November-December phase got a rude jolt when they were humbled by a rejuvenated Crystal Palace 0-3 in their own patch, the King Power Stadium. This was the Foxes' first loss to a team outside the Top six and it was a counter-attacking masterclass led by Palace talisman, Wilfried Zaha, that undid them. A similar thing could well happen when Jose Mourinho's Red Devils visit Leicester on the 23rd.
United have come out of a uncomfortable 1-2 away over West Bromwich and the late infusion of Ashley Young, Ander Herrera and Marcus Rashford into the game breathed some life into the attack after a lackluster 1-0 win over minions, Bournemouth. Romelu Lukaku, who was under fire for his below-par performance in the derby defeat to Manchester City, found his scoring touch with a goal in the West Bromwich clash.
For Leicester fans, the return of Riyad Mahrez to form has come as some comfort. The 26-year old Algerian winger has been in brilliant touch and creating goal-scoring opportunities at will and finding the back of the net more often. But the same hasn't been supported by the Foxes' premier marksman Jamie Vardy which was clearly evinced from the side's poor finishing in the game against Crystal Palace.
The 21-year old Demarai Gray has been a real find for Leicester and the speed and vitality of this youngster is one of the reasons that the Foxes find themselves in the Top ten of the Premier league table.
Manager Claude Puel could be forced to change his usual 4-2-3-1 formation in the absence of midfielder Wilfred Ndidi (red-carded early in the Palace game). He could probably bring in Shinji Okazaki in a 4-1-4-1 formation with the attacking upper midfield quartet of Albrighton-Gray-Mahrez and the Japanese himself, all playing behind the lone striker, Vardy.
Manchester United will want to do an encore of their August performance at the Old Trafford when they beat the Foxes 2-0. The speed of the likes of Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford along with Lukaku's opportunism could test a Leicester defense that can look really vulnerable when confronted by top-notch attacks.
Jose Mourinho will probably stick to his 4-2-3-1 combination with Matic and Herrera manning the midfield and Darmian, Phil Jones, Smalling and Young marshalling the back and the incredible David De Gea between the posts.
Saturday's clash at the King Power could turn out to be a cracker with both attack-oriented sides in play. But the bookie odds favour the visitors clearly in this one given the hosts' poor history against sides in the Top Six.
Leicester City vs Manchester United Prediction
Leicester City 0-3 Manchester United
Leicester City 1-3 Manchester United
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