Preview: Leicester v Manchester United

Leicester face Manchester United in desperate need of points and with the memory of having been completely outplayed by the Red Devils the last time these two sides clashed.

Premier League
Date: 5 February 2017
Match Day 24
Kick-off: 18h00 (GMT+2)
Venue: King Power Stadium

Referee: A. Taylor
Assistants: S. Bennett, P. Kirkup
Fourth official: N. Swarbrick

Head-to-head summary:

Leicester 86 22 22 42
Manchester United 86 42 22 22

Previous encounter:

Manchester United 4-1 Leicester 24/09/16 (Premier League)

Manchester United goalscorers: C. Smalling (22′), J. Mata (37′), M. Rashford (40′), P. Pogba (42′)

Leicester goalscorers: D. Gray (59′)

Players to watch:

With Leicester’s stars from last season generally under performing, Shinji Okazaki is one player that continues to give his all for the faltering club. While he has registered just two goals in 19 games this season, his hard-running and self-less play makes him an important player for Claudio Ranieri at this difficult period.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the obvious choice as one to watch for Man Utd fans, but for good reason, with 14 goals in 22 games already this season. He was rested in the 4-0 FA Cup win over Wigan, and had a lot to say for the team’s below-par performance in the 0-0 draw with Hull, so expect him pop up with a goal or two this weekend.

Team form and manager quotes:

In sharp contrast to their incredible form of last season, Leicester have won just five games this term. They last won against West Ham in December and they have since drawn 0-0 with Middlesbrough, and lost 3-0 to Chelsea and Southampton and 1-0 to Burnley, leaving them in serious trouble in 16th place with just 21 points.

Man Utd come into this match on a 14 match unbeaten run in the league that includes five successive wins. Jose Mourinho looked to have resolved his side’s early season woes, although they have struggled in recent weeks, and drew 1-1 with Liverpool before being held to a 1-1 draw by Stoke and a 0-0 draw with Hull last time out.

Reflecting on the 1-0 defeat to Burnley, Ranieri said: “I am happy with our performance, our character. We showed a good performance but the result is not with us and we have to work more, believe and fight more.

“Of course, how we can lose we can win. We need to make two or three good matches with points and then we are getting better.”

Mourinho added: “It’s a very difficult match for us and I think also a very difficult match for them. But total respect for what they did and total respect for the change of life they are experiencing. I think next season will be much better for them again.”

Team news:

Mourinho has a near fully-fit squad to choose from, with only Phil Jones out with a foot injury, and James Wilson sidelined with a knee injury.

Leicester have new signing Molla Wague available but Islam Slimani will not be risked as he continues his recovery from a groin injury, as Leo Ulloa also remains sidelined, and Daniel Amartey has yet to return from the Africa Cup of Nations.