Manchester United and Leicester City have the honor of getting the eagerly awaited 2018/19 Premier League season underway, kicking off at Old Trafford on Friday.

By 90Min
August 10, 2018

Manchester United and Leicester City have the honour of getting the eagerly awaited 2018/19 Premier League season underway, kicking off at Old Trafford on Friday.

United will be desperate to ensure its campaign begins in a positive manner after a difficult summer that has been characterised by a rather miserable Jose Mourinho, while Claude Puel's Leicester will certainly be eyeing a potential early scalp.

Here is the preview as we begin the new season.


Classic Encounter

Leicester's famous 5-3 win over United at the King Power Stadium in September 2014 is the only time the Foxes have beaten the Red Devils in the last 20 years, with their last victory at Old Trafford coming in January 1998.

Tony Cottee scored the only goal that day, with the likes of Emile Heskey, Robbie Savage, Muzzy Izzet, Neil Lennon and Steve Guppy lining up for Martin O'Neill's Leicester.

United's team was largely the one that would go on to win the treble the following season, but the loss Leicester came as part of a run of one won in five Premier League games that ultimately prove crucial in the final standings as Arsenal snatched the title by a single point.


Preseason Form

Missing several key players as a result of summer breaks delayed by the World Cup and later others due to injury, United have a tough pre-season, winning only one of their five friendlies.

Bizarrely, that came against Real Madrid, albeit a weakened team, with losses against Liverpool and Bayern Munich, and draw against Club America, San Jose Earthquakes and AC Milan.

Leicester, on the other hand, have had a slightly more positive run, with former Manchester Cty striker Kelechi Iheanacho in fine early form in particular.

The Foxes were only beaten by Udinese, before earning a credible draw against Valencia. Having earlier also hammered Notts County and drawn with Akhisarspor, Claude Puel's team signed off pre-season with a 2-1 win against Lille in France.

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Team News

Man Utd: Matteo Darmian could be a surprise starter in light of injuries to Antonio Valencia and Diogo Dalot, while holes in midfield caused by the absences of Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera will see that Fred, Andreas Pereira and possibly Scott McTominay get the nod.

Marcos Rojo and Sergio Romero are also out. And, of the players who were at the World Cup until the final weekend, Phil Jones, Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku are more likely to feature than Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Young.

Leicester: Nampalys Mendy and Matty James are the only definite absentees for the Foxes, but summer signing Jonny Evans remains a doubt, while there are question marks over England World Cup players Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire after only minimal training.

Young £20m midfielder James Maddison looks to have overcome a preseason knock.


Probable Lineups

Man Utd (4-3-3): De Gea; Darmian, Bailly, Smalling, Shaw; McTominay, Fred, Pereira; Mata, Rashford, Sanchez

Leicester (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Pereira, Morgan, Benalouane, Chilwell; Ndidi, Iborra; Diabate, Maddison, Albrighton; Iheanacho


Prediction

Despite the circumstances of missing several key players and looking especially light in midfield, United must be considered the favourites in any game that isn't against a top six rival and this fixture should be no different.

It will be up to the home side to perform on the night and to prove that a string of disappointing pre-season results were ultimately meaningless. But in players like Alexis Sanchez and Juan Mata, they still have the power to hurt Leicester, while all eyes will be on summer signing Fred.

Leicester will hope to snatch a draw or more, yet they themselves will be missing key players in Vardy and Maguire and have seen talisman Riyad Mahrez leave the club.

Manchester United 2-1 Leicester City

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