The opening match of the Premier League sees Manchester United taking on Leicester City at Old Trafford on Friday evening. All eyes will be on the home side to see just what shape they are in after a pre-season of moaning from Jose Mourinho.
You get the feeling that Leicester City are going to have a go at things this season and they have an ideal chance to announce themselves when they make the trip up the M6 for the first game of the new campaign.
Jose Mourinho has made it quite clear that he wanted more players brought into his squad in the summer and having not got that it wouldn’t be a complete surprise if his petulance came to the fore once again. Whatever his feelings are he will know his side cannot afford to drop home points if they are to challenge this season.
It feels like a big season for United with their fans wanting better and more attractive football but with rivals looking to have strengthened better than them it remains to be seen whether the supporters can be satisfied. It will be interesting to see if Mourinho opens this United side up or whether they will continue with his dogged style.
I think the Foxes have something of a free run at this match. It is their first one without Riyad Mahrez so if they are beaten they can suggest they are coming to terms with the loss of him. I would expect his absence to be a motivating factor for those he left behind though and I would imagine they will be out to prove that they can be competitive without him.
You look at this Leicester side and you want them to open up and have a go because they certainly have the personnel to do that but whether Claude Puel will take the handbrake off and allow them to remains to be seen. Even if he doesn’t here they look to have sufficient ability on the counter attack to get the job done.
Jose Mourinho is without a number of players for this season opener with Nemanja Matic, Diogo Dalot, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo and Antonio Valencia all injured. The likes of Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford arrived back late from the World Cup and could miss out too. Fred is expected to make his debut.
Leicester City boss Claude Puel must decide whether to play Harry Maguire and Jamie Vardy from the start after they only returned to training on Monday. Jonny Evans and James Maddison are in line for debuts.
With both sides having players who only recently returned to training after the World Cup it remains to be seen what sort of line ups we see in this match but the one thing we know is Man Utd look short in defensive areas with all their injuries, especially in the full-back positions.
That should give Leicester encouragement whether they take the match to their opponents or sit in and look to counter United. That all gives me the impression that both teams to score could be the way forward in this one. You would think both teams would want to make a statement so both finding the net can allow them to do that.
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