IT’S been pretty much the perfect start to the Premier League season for Manchester United.
Jose Mourinho has a great record at winning the league in his second season at a club and the way his side have started, there won’t be too many betting against them.
They started off with a 4-0 win at home to a flat West Ham United team.
Then they replicated that scoreline away at Swansea City.
The next side to see if they can stop their winning start to the season are 2015/16 Premier League champions Leicester City.
After a disappointing title defence, the Foxes look a lot more like the side that won the league, with Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez looking more like the players that destroyed defences up and down the country.
The two meet on Saturday at Old Trafford on BT Sport, with kick off at 5.30pm.
Our friends at Football Whispers have identified where the match could be won or lost.
Key battle: Matic and Pogba vs James and Ndidi
Nemanja Matic is making Chelsea fans question why they ever let him join Mourinho and strengthen a title rival.
He’s been outstanding since making the switch up North and he and Paul Pogba are already looking like one of the midfield pairings in the league.
They’ll come up against Wilfred Ndidi, one of the few bright sparks for Leicester last season, and a reborn Matty James with Danny Drinkwater still recovering from injury.
If Ndidi and James can stop Matic and Pogba from controlling the game, you fancy Leicester to get something. But that will undoubtedly be a big ask.
Potential match winners: Lukaku and Vardy
Romelu Lukaku is playing like he’s been at Old Trafford all his life, and is already their biggest goalscoring threat, with three goals in his two Premier League starts, as well as another in the Super Cup too.
If Leicester can somehow keep him quiet, they will go a long way towards winning the game.
So far in a red shirt, the Belgian has averaged four shots a game, with a 60 per cent accuracy.
Vardy is the Foxes’ top scorer so far this season, with two in two.
He caused Arsenal’s defence all sorts of problems in the opening match of the Premier League season and Eric Bailly and Phil Jones won’t have it easy.
The 30-year-old has actually only had three shots in the league this season – an average of 1.5 per game, which is considerably lower than Lukaku.
But when you take into account they’ve all been on target and he’s scored two of them, it’s obvious how deadly he can be.
Mourinho is using a tried and tested 4-2-3-1 that we saw in his second spell at Chelsea.
It fits United’s players perfectly, and you would expect him to carry on using the same team and shape to face Leicester.
Craig Shakespeare has so far liked to use a 4-4-2, with Mahrez and Marc Albrighton out wide.
Yet against Arsenal, with his side winning 3-2, he switched to a 4-5-1, bringing on Daniel Amartey for Shinji Okazaki as he looked to close the game off.
Only when he brought on Kelechi Iheanacho for James, returning to a 4-4-2, did Arsenal get back into the game.
Shakespeare will know that Manchester United will be putting pressure on his side, so he could consider the more defensive 4-5-1, but that would leave Vardy very isolated indeed, so expect him to stick with the 4-4-2.
How the teams are likely to be set up
Man Utd (4-2-3-1)
There’s no reason for Mourinho to change things, although perhaps given that Anthony Martial has scored twice in a row now, he may consider starting him instead of Marcus Rashford.
Danny Drinkwater, Kelechi Iheanacho and Robert Huth and Vicente Iborra all missed Leicester’s midweek Carabao Cup game against Sheffield United through injury.
Given they haven’t started a Premier League game this season, if any of them are match fit to take on the league’s form side, it would be a surprise.
Key stats heading into the game
The two sides have faced each other 124 times previously, with United winning 63, Leicester coming out on top 33 times, with 28 of the meetings ending as draws.
United have created considerably more chances per game than Leicester so far this season – 14.5 to just 6.
No team has made more dribbles per game than Mourinho’s side’s 19 either. The Foxes have averaged 6.5.
The Red Devils have also averaged the fewest offsides per game too, just 0.5 – Leicester are on 2 per game.
Since the start of the 2014/15 season, James Milner (21) is the only Englishman to have provided more Premier League assists than Vardy’s 19.
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