EPL

Big Match Focus: Manchester United v Leicester City (Saturday 15:00 BST)

By Sports Desk September 12, 2019

Leicester City are unbeaten and seemingly ready to rattle Manchester United when the Premier League resumes on Saturday.

Their Old Trafford record might be poor but a strong start to the new season and an in-form Jamie Vardy make the Foxes a fearsome prospect.

Harry Maguire will be tasked with stopping his former team-mate and delivering a clean sheet which would steady Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side following a three-game winless streak.

History, according to the Opta data, is in United's favour, but this Leicester side is on the rise.

 

LEICESTER OFF THE LEASH

Brendan Rodgers took over at King Power Stadium two days after Claude Puel's dismissal in February 2019 and is proving an inspired choice as manager.

Four games into the new season, Leicester have eight points on the board and sit third. 

Avoiding defeat at Old Trafford would not just underscore their credentials as top-four contenders, it would be the second time the Foxes have gone unbeaten in their opening five fixtures since doing so in 2000-01.

The other occasion, in 2015-16, ended with the most miraculous of title triumphs.

Such feats might be beyond this crop of players but there is much to be admired about the work that has delivered Leicester a haul of 25 points during Rodgers' time in charge.

Since March 3, the date of Rodgers' debut defeat at Watford, only Liverpool (40) and Manchester City (37) have claimed more points.

HEAD TO HEAD: MARCUS RASHFORD V JAMIE VARDY

Vardy never really stopped scoring in the years following Leicester's top-flight triumph and yet he still seems a man reborn under the current set-up.

In the time former Celtic boss Rodgers has spent at the helm, the experienced striker has scored a league-high 12 goals.

Solskjaer would love a similar return from Marcus Rashford in the months leading up to Christmas as he attempts to manufacture a high-class centre-forward.

The 21-year-old could do worse than to study what happens at the other end of the pitch on Saturday.

Concerns over whether Rashford can replace Romelu Lukaku at the point of attack centre on an insufficient 'big chance conversion' figure of 26.9 per cent since the start of last season.

Vardy, a more natural goalscorer, has taken 48.7 per cent of his big chances in the same period.

After the 1-1 draw at Southampton, Solskjaer asked his potential leader of the line to eschew spectacular efforts in favour of scoring scruffy goals.

Certainly, Rashford's shot conversation rate of 12 per cent suggests he could be more judicious, particularly as Vardy has taken 15 fewer shots for the accumulation of nine more goals. 

FORM GUIDE

United have lost momentum since steamrolling Chelsea on the opening weekend of the season.

Away draws at Wolves and Southampton would normally be palatable, but not either side of a negligent 2-1 home loss to Crystal Palace.

Imminently returning to winning ways appears particularly important with the club's Europa League campaign to commence against Astana next week.

Leicester beat Bournemouth 3-1 in their last outing, the result following an EFL Cup triumph at Newcastle United and a hard-earned 2-1 win on the road against Sheffield United.

Earlier draws against Wolves and Chelsea, teams who could finish around them, laid the foundation for an assault on bigger targets.

HISTORY SAYS…

Old Trafford is a true trial for the Foxes.

United might have lost three of their past five Premier League home games but this trip is unlikely to be any less daunting for this weekend's visitors.

From their previous nine visits, Leicester have secured nothing more than a solitary point.

The general record in recent league meetings between the teams makes for similar reading: 15 victories, four draws and a single defeat for United over the course of 20 encounters.

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