Fresh from their thrilling encounter with Barcelona on Thursday, Manchester United have domestic responsibilities to tend to today in the form of a resurgent Leicester City outfit, who are hoping to avoid defeat for the third season in a row at Old Trafford.
United have pocketed an impressive 24 points from the 30 on offer at the Theatre of Dreams since their opening day-defeat there to Brighton, though Leicester – who have won four of their last six Premier League assignments on the road, will believe they can test the Red Devils’ hardened resolve.
You can dive into my stats pack for this afternoon’s fascinating tussle below, which should equip you with all the data you need to compile smarter bet builders for the game. If you need some pointers on how to get the most out of the metrics, check out my Stats Pack Guide here.
Donny van de Beek and Christian Eriksen remain long-term absentees for United, and they are joined on the sidelines by Anthony Martial and Antony, while Casemiro serves the final game of his three-match ban.
Marcel Sabitzer could slot back into midfield after missing Thursday’s meeting with Barcelona through suspension. Likewise, Lisandro Martinez should return having sat the game out in midweek in similar circumstances.
Full-backs James Justin and Ryan Bertrand are still in the treatment room, while Boubakary Soumare and ex-United defender Jonny Evans are listed as doubtful. Youri Tielemans is fit again and could return to Brendan Rodgers’ XI.
If Tielemans doesn’t make the cut, expect Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and Nampalys Mendy to be partnered in midfield. Kelechi Iheanacho should lead the line with James Maddison tucked in behind him.
Manchester United returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a 2-0 triumph at Leeds on Sunday and with their 2-2 draw at Barcelona on Thursday chucked in, they have now lost just once in 18 matches in all competitions since early November.
While their underlying stats for the campaign look a little unremarkable overall, United’s 1.56 xG against figure per 90 is one of the Premier League’s lowest, while only Manchester rivals City have collected more points at home (31 to 26).
United still have work to do to improve their disciplinary record however, and only Fulham (55) have collected more cards than Erik ten Hag’s aggressive side (54) in 2022/23.
Despite sitting ten places behind United in the current standings, Leicester have been a match for the Red Devils in the goals per 90 department (1.64 to 1.65), though they have been outperforming their xG by a decent chunk.
Interestingly, Brighton (22) are the only outfit with more away goals than The Foxes (21) this season, however, only Bournemouth (32) have shipped more at the wrong end on the road than Leicester (25). 73% of City’s away fixtures have seen over 2.5 goals – an option that can be added to your coupons at 6/10 today.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Marcus Rashford showcased his dazzling skills on a grand stage at Camp Nou on Thursday evening, when he racked up five attempts against Barcelona, three of which found their mark. The 25-year-old has hit at least two shots on target in six of his last 11 appearances for United and Rashford is decent value at 11/10 to test Danny Ward with at least two strikes again today.
Despite his limitations in the final third, Fred just loves a pop at goal and the Brazilian has logged at least one shot in each of his last seven appearances in red. Fred is even money to have two attempts against Leicester today.
Kelechi Iheanacho, Harvey Barnes, James Maddison and January recruit Tete have been purring as a quartet of late and between them they racked up 20 shots in Leicester’s last two Premier League assignments.
Nine of those shots were on target and any one of those four Foxes attackers would represent excellent value to clock at least one accurate attempt at Old Trafford. Iheanacho is priced at 8/15 in that market, Maddison 4/7, Barnes 8/11 and Tete 11/10.
Player Goals and Assists
In 16 United fixtures since December 21st, Marcus Rashford has scored 14 times and created four more, and a goal for the 25-year-old is almost guaranteed with the match ticket at present. Rashford has also often been a scourge of Leicester, netting six career goals against Foxes in total and the on-fire forward is a generous-looking 8/11 to either score or assist against them again today.
Alejandro Garnacho has been packing a punch off the bench for United this year and the Argentinean super sub should be called into action in the second half again today regardless of the game state. Interestingly, the teenager is priced at 11/2 to be the last goalscorer at Old Trafford.
James Maddison’s return from injury has lifted the quality of Leicester’s football to new levels and the playmaker chipped in with two goals and an assist in the Foxes’ last two Premier League fixtures. Maddison is a self-proclaimed Man Utd fan and keen to impress onlookers at Old Trafford, he looks a snip at 9/5 to either create or score again.
In-form Kelechi Iheanacho meanwhile, has scored three times in his last five runouts against United, including his last visit to the Theatre of Dreams in April 2022. The 26-year-old, who is something of a bogey player for United, is 11/5 to net anytime today.
Manchester United are averaging 53% possession per game in the Premier League in 2022/23, however, in their 16 competitive fixtures since the campaign’s resumption, that figure has jumped to 58.4%, which suggests their ball retention skills are sharpening.
Lisandro Martinez (60.8), Luke Shaw (63.5) and Casemiro (61.0) are usually the individual standouts in the distribution department. Any member of that trio would fit snuggly on your bet builder coupon to push through a 70 passes ceiling against the Foxes later on.
Leicester controlled just 36.8% of the ball in their last Premier League away game at Aston Villa, which could point to a new counter-attacking philosophy – a gameplan that would make sense given the abundance of speed in their new-look frontline.
The Foxes could have less than 40% possession again when they visit Old Trafford later, though defender Wout Faes (67.0) seems likeliest to pass his way closest to the top of the individual charts in Manchester. The 24-year-old has played over 50 passes in five of his last seven starts in the league.
Manchester United Cards
Brazilian Fred is Manchester United’s foul machine and the midfielder committed six of them against Barcelona on Thursday evening. With Casemiro suspended, Fred should have more dirty work to do and he is superb value at 8/11 to commit two more fouls against Leicester.
Bruno Fernandes meanwhile, has been clocking 1.26 fouls per 90 this term in the Premier League and the prickly Portuguese international is available at 11/10 to give away two free kicks this afternoon. Restored to left back, Luke Shaw could face a tricky customer in Leicester’s Tete, and the 27-year-old is 11/4 to add to his four bookings for the campaign.
Flying winger Tete has already had several tastes of just how aggressive Premier League markers can be and the 23-year-old could be targeted by Luke Shaw today. James Maddison’s ingenuity and appreciation of space should draw plenty of attention from Fred more centrally.
Nampalys Mendy is usually in the thick of the action in midfield and his skirmishes with Bruno Fernandes could be of interest to referee Stuart Atwell.
Match-Ups to watch
Fred vs James Maddison
Bruno Fernandes vs Nampalys Mendy
Luke Shaw vs Tete
Leicester City Cards
We already highlighted James Maddison’s tussle with Fred as a potential card-producer and foul-clocker for the Brazilian, however, Leicester’s Maddison is just as likely to dish out punishment in the opposite direction. The 26-year-old could be a cracking coupon filler at 1/3 to commit 1+ fouls today.
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall has started to add more aggression to his game and the 24-year-old committed three fouls and picked up a yellow card against Tottenham last time out. The anchorman is a juicy 8/15 to commit just one foul at Old Trafford.
Wout Faes meanwhile, could have the unenviable task of marking the lethal Marcus Rashford. Faes has committed at least one foul in five of his last six starts for Leicester and the 24-year-old Belgian is priced at 8/15 to record just a single indiscretion this afternoon.
Fred and Bruno Fernandes could find themselves in an engine room brawl against a hard-working and heavy-tackling Leicester midfield today, especially when they come into Dewsbury-Hall and Maddison’s orbit.
Marcus Rashford seems to have switched to centre-forward for the time being at least and his positional tweak should put him in direct opposition to Leicester’s Wout Faes. Expect the latter to get very hands-on with Rashford in an attempt to limit his influence.
Match-Ups to watch
James Maddison vs Fred
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall vs Bruno Fernandes
Wout Faes vs Marcus Rashford
My Bet Builder Picks of the Pack
I was compiling the stats and found a few bet builder selections that stood out to me. Take a look below and you can load whichever ones you like into your betslip.
Manchester United vs Leicester City
Rashford’s return has increased massively since the World Cup and he now has 12 goals and 3 assists in 23 appearances.
In 16 United fixtures since December 21st, Marcus Rashford has scored 14 times and created four more.
Rashford has also often been a scourge of Leicester, netting six career goals against Foxes in total.
Leicester concede 1.73 goals per game and 1.66 xG.
No player has more cards for Leicester than James Maddison.
He has 6 cards and averages 1.21 fouls p/90.
Up against the likes of Fred and Bruno Fernandes who are fouled on average 2.30 times between them.
Maddison committed 2 fouls against Tottenham last time out.
Fred and fouls. They go together like chalk and cheese.
The Brazilian will again be deputising for the suspended Casemiro, and he certainly replaces his foul count.
He averages well over 2 fouls a game (2.32), and since Casemiro’s suspension he’s been racking up even more.
Against Barcelona in midweek, he committed SIX fouls.
Against Leeds last week he made another 3 in each of the fixtures (EFL Cup and Premier League) and was booked on the weekend.
He’s up against James Maddison, Nampalys Mendy and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall in midfield, who are fouled 2.55, 1.28 and 1.05 times p/90 respectively.
Man United games average 2.87 goals per game.
They average an xG of 3.35.
Leicester games average 3.37 goals per game.
They average an xG of 2.93.
73% of Man United’s games at Old Trafford have seen over 2.5 goals.
Also 73% of Leicester’s away games have seen over 2.5 goals. Brighton (22) are the only team to have more away goals than them (21).