Tag Archives: Leicester City

New Premier league fixtures announced

Today fans can start looking forward, planning and getting excited about the new Premier League season as their teams fixtures have been released. The wait is over to find out when your team play their big local derby, crucial relegation and european qualification battles.

Newly promoted Leeds face the toughest challenge possible on opening weekend against Champions Liverpool. Championship play-off winners Fulham will host Arsenal, while West Bromwich Albion, the third promoted side, are at home to Leicester City. A tough start for all the newcomers.

The opening round of fixtures will take place on the weekend of 12 September. However, Manchester City v Aston Villa and Burnley v Manchester United will be rearranged.Those two games will not be played on the opening weekend to give City and United 30 days since their defeats in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and the semi-finals of the Europa League respectively. Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ opening matches are both scheduled for Monday, 14 September after their slightly earlier European exits. The Blues are at Brighton, while Wolves go to Sheffield United.

The other opening weekend fixtures are Crystal Palace v Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur v Everton and West Ham United v Newcastle United.

Exact dates and kick-off times will be confirmed when the television selections are made.

When are the key fixtures?

Manchester City, who finished second last season, face title rivals Liverpool at Etihad Stadium on 7 November, with their other game on 6 February.

Selected matches…

  • 19th September – Chelsea v Liverpool
  • 5th December and 13th March – Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal
  • 12th December and 6th March – Manchester United v Manchester City

With the season starting a month later than usual because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the games will come thick and fast.The upcoming campaign will be five weeks shorter than a standard season because of the late end to 2019-20.

Arsenal and Liverpool meet in the Community Shield on 29 August, with players then going on an international break for the Nations League before the Premier League starts.

Spurs start Europa League qualifying on 17 September and could end up with two first-team matches in the same midweek as those are the dates Premier League clubs not in Europe enter the Carabao Cup at the second round.

Which Players Have Been Released From Each Premier League Club?

With the end of June fast approaching players across the country who haven’t reached an agreement to extend their contracts will be leaving their respective clubs and can sign for other sides on a free transfer.

Premier League clubs have already published their lists of players who will be released on the 30th June, here is a look at each of the twenty clubs and their departures this summer.

Arsenal

Only one players so far is set to leave the Gunners on the expiry of their contract and that is youngster Tobi Omole. The 20 year old defender has featured regularly for Arsenal’s U23 side but hasn’t made a senior appearance for the first team, despite signing his first professional contract in 2018.

Aston Villa

Relegation threatened Aston Villa will have a number of departures this summer, before their fate has even been decided. Fourteen players will leave the club, including James Chester, Andre Green and Callum O’Hare.

Chester and Green have taken up the option to extend their loan deals at Championship sides Stoke City and Charlton respectively. Academy graduate O’Hare meanwhile, who made nine appearances for the first team, played a staring role for Coventry in League One as they clinched promotion to the Championship.

Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, Borja Baston and Ross McCormack were other high profile stars exiting the club. Hepburn-Murphy spent 15 years at Villa in their various youth ranks whilst Spaniard Baston was a January deadline day signing from Swansea who made just two appearances for the side.

McCormack’s ill fated spell was finally brought to a close with the expiration of his contract, four years on from his £12 million move from Fulham.

Third choice goalkeeper Matija Sarkic has agreed an extension to see out the current campaign, but will be released after it is concluded.

A number of U23 players are also leaving the club with Jack Birch, Anton Hooper, Dutchman Colin Odutayo, striker Dimitri Sea and New Zealand goalkeeper Jamie Searle departing.

Bournemouth

Another club who are involved in a relegation dogfight, the Cherries will let eleven players leave at the end of their contracts, including a number of big names.

Jermain Defoe, who has been on loan at Rangers since January last year will exit the club along with £15 million winger Jordon Ibe, who has flattered to deceive on the South Coast.

Ryan Fraser, who has been linked with a number of other clubs, rejected the chance to sign a short term extension to see out the end of the season, and so will leave Eddie Howe’s side on June 30th after making over 200 appearances for the club.

Youngsters Charlie Seaman and Tyrell Hamilton, who were both playing non league football this term, will also be leaving the club. Australian Brad Smith has extended his loan stay at Cardiff City, and will leave Bournemouth once the Championship season ends.

Long-serving midfielder Andrew Surman, and full back Charlie Daniels alongside back-up goalkeeper Artur Boruc have all accepted an extension to keep them at the Vitality Stadium until the conclusion of the current Premier League season.

Brighton

Brighton, who have impressed since their return to action after the enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic, will let nine players leave the club, including a number from the youth team.

English trio Luca Cocoracchio, Archie Davies, Lewis Freestone, Welsh midfielder Jordan Davies and Finnish goalkeeper Hugo Keto have been released, alongside centre back Kacper Lopata and Serbian striker Bojan Samoukovic.

Beram Kayal who has been with the Seagulls since 2015, has signed a short term extension, having returned from his loan spell at Charlton in January following an injury. Ezequiel Schelotto has also signed an extension to keep him at the Amex until the end of this campaign having already played eight times for Brighton this term.

Burnley

Burnley, like Bournemouth, will allow a number of first team squad members to depart Turf Moor at the end of this month. Aaron Lennon and Joe Hart will move on, having played peripheral roles this term.

Irishman Jeff Hendrick, a key cog in the Burnley midfield, is also set to leave having rejected the offer to extend his contract for next season. Goalkeeper Adam Legzdins will also become a free agent, leaving Burnley having failed to make a single appearance in his three year spell at the club.

Tunde Bayode, Christian N’Guessan, Henri Ogunby (who signed a short term deal in January) and Joel Senior, all members of the U23 squad, will also be released.

Chelsea

Chelsea’s squad overall, which began last summer under Frank Lampard will continue, with big hitters Pedro and Willian set to leave the club having failed to reach an agreement to extend their contracts beyond the current campaign.

Pedro has already chosen to link up with Serie A side Roma for the 2020/21 season, whilst cult hero Willian has admitted he could yet extend his stay at Stamford Bridge despite interest from other Premier League clubs.

Other plays exiting the club include defender Josh Grant, who spent the first half of this season on loan at Plymouth, Marcel Lavinier, who has been with the club since the age of seven and Richard Nartey who made 25 appearances for League One side Burton this campaign.

Crystal Palace

No first team player will leave Selhurst Park this summer, in a huge boost for Roy Hodgson, as five members of the development squad have being shown the exit door.

Dion-Curtis Henry who spent time playing in the National League South this season, Kian Flanagan, who was the U23 Young Player of the Year last season and Jason Lokilo, who made his senior bow for the club in an EFL Cup tie against Ipswich in August 2017 join Jacob Mensah and Joe Tupper in leaving the club.

Everton

Carlo Ancelotti’s Merseyside rebuild will begin in earnest this summer, and the club has started by releasing some dead wood from their squad.

Back-up goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg will depart once the current campaign is over to join his former side Ajax, whilst Cuco Martina, signed on a free transfer from Southampton in 2017, will also move on.

Luke Garbutt, who came through the Toffees’ academy system will also be allowed to leave once his contract expires, having spent the past four years on loan in League One and the Championship. Outcast Oumar Niasse, a £13.5 million signing from Lokomotiv Moscow four and a half years ago, is the fourth and final first team player to be released.

U23 players Morgan Feeny, Alex Denny, Matty Foulds, Manasse Mampala and Korede Adedoyin will all leave Everton along with Kieran Phillips, who will depart once he completes his loan spell at Huddersfield.

Leicester City

Long serving midfielder Andy King will leave the Foxes this summer, after 378 appearances during a 15 year spell with the club, which saw him win the Premier League in 2016. He has spent the past two seasons on loan in the Championship after falling out of favour but he will go down as a club hero among Leicester fans.

U23 captain George Thomas, first choice goalkeeper Viktor Johansson, Irish midfielder Conor Tee and Ryan Loft will also say their goodbyes at the end of this season. They join Rhys Davies, Ed Elewa-Ikpakwu, Justen Kranthove and Bruneian Faiq Bolkiah in leaving the club.

Liverpool

The Premier League champions will wave goodbye to Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne this summer, two men who played a starring role in Klopp’s early years in charge of the Reds before injury derailed both their careers on Merseyside.

Lallana was offered a short term extension to his contract, to ensure that he can pick up a Premier League winners medal, although right back Clyne was not afforded the same luxury and will leave on the 30th June.

Third choice stopper Andy Lonergan has also been handed a short term extension to complete the season at Anfield.

Liverpool will also let Academy prospects Isaac Christie-Davies, who played against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup earlier in the season, goalkeepers Shamal George, Daniel Atherton and Kai McKenzie-Lyle leave the club along with defender Jack Walls.

Manchester City

City’s big name departure is of course David Silva, who will bring the curtain down on his glorious ten year spell in Manchester once the current campaign ends, having signed a short term extension to see out the end of the season.

The Spaniard has won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, five EFL Cups and Teo Community Shields during his time with the Citizens, as well as amassing over 300 appearances, scoring 58 goals in the process and going down as a true City legend.

His next destination remains to be seen as the 34 year old reportedly has offers from across the globe.

Claudio Bravo, City’s second choice goalkeeper is also set to depart the club this summer. After signing from Barcelona in 2016, the Chilean endured a difficult first season as the number one shot stopper at the club, before he was replaced by Ederson in 2017.

Since then the 37 year old has been playing second fiddle to the Brazilian, appearing predominantly in cup competitions. He has been linked with a host of clubs including Arsenal and Celtic, according to the Manchester Evening Standard.

Joining them in leaving the Etihad this summer are Ghanaian midfielder Ernest Agyiri and goalkeeper Thomas Scott.

Manchester United

United will wave goodbye to eight academy players at the end of the current season. Of those leaving, Cameron Borthwick- Jackson is the only player to have featured for the first team, making 10 appearances for the Red Devil’s. He has spent this campaign on loan with League One side Oldham Athletic.

Irish goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara will depart, after spending the majority of his United career on loan at lower league clubs. Nineteen year old Dion McGhee, Demetri Mitchell, who scooped the United Reserve Player of the Year in 2018, Englishmen Aidan Barlow and George Tanner, goalkeeper Alex Fojitcek and midfielder Ethan Hamilton have also been released.

Newcastle

Goalkeeper Rob Elliot will bring his nine year stay on Tyneside to an end this summer. The Englishman last made an appearance for the Magpies in 2017 having fallen down the pecking order at the club.

Jack Colback will also leave Newcastle at the end of the campaign, having spent the entirety of last season on loan at Nottingham Forest. Academy graduate Jamie Sterry joins him in departing, having made three appearances for his boyhood club.

Youth players Luke Charman, Victor Fernandez, Liam Gibson and Nathan Harker have been released after their contracts expired.

Norwich

Basement side Norwich will allow seven players to leave the club upon the expiring of their contracts this summer.

They are all members of the U23 squad, with the majority having spent this campaign out on loan. Diallang Jaiyesimi, Mason Bloomfield, Timi Odusina, Saavas Mourgos, Alfie Payne and Billy Johnson played their football away from Carrow Road, whilst Tom Scully remained at Norwich in the U23 squad this term.

Sheffield United

The Blades, who have enjoyed a fairytale first season back in the Premier League, will see a raft of players leave the club this summer.

First team squad players Leon Clarke, Jack Rodwell, Phil Jagielka, Kieron Freeman, who have made a combined seven Premier League appearances this season have all signed short term extensions but are still likely to exit the club once those expire.

January signing Connor Leak-Blunt has also signed a short term extension, after impressing with the U23 side.

Mark Duffy, who has been at Bramall Lane since 2016, playing over 100 games for the club will depart this summer, along with Ricky Holmes, who has announced his retirement from football after a back injury.

They join youngsters Ta’Shae Andall-Gibbons, Keenan Ferguson, Oliver Greaves, Callum Gribbin (formerly of Manchester United), Harry Sheppeard, Samuel Ompreon, Reece York and Jake Young I’m waving their goodbyes to Bramall Lane.

Ben Heneghan and Nathan Thomas will also be released having spent this campaign on loan at Blackpool and Carlisle respectively.

Southampton

The Saints will allow long serving defender Maya Yoshida to leave Saint Mary’s, once his contract expires. The Japanese international has not been offered a short term extension and so will leave the club on 30th June.

Cedric Soares, has also left the Saints, joining Arsenal on a permanent deal, despite having failed to register a single appearance since his loan move to the Gunners in January.

Twenty-three year old Marcus Barnes, who made his first, and only appearance for Southampton in an FA Cup tie against Derby in January 2019 will leave along with U23 goalkeeper Alex Cull, defender Simon Kozak, midfielder Harlem Hale, Irishman Aaron O’Driscoll and forward Christian Norton. Goalkeeper Jack Rose, who spent time on loan at Walsall this year, will also be released.

Tottenham

Jan Vertonghen has signed a short term extension, to keep him at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium until the end of the current campaign, although his future at the club after that remains to be seen.

Third choice goalkeeper Michel Vorm has also penned an extension to see out the season at Spurs, but he is set to depart after it expires.

U23 quartet Rayan Clarke, Phoenix Patterson, Maxwell Stratham and Jonathan Dinzeyi have had their contracts extended until the end of the current Premier League campaign, with their long term futures still to be decided. Twenty year old defender Tariq Hinds has been released.

Watford

The Hornets, who are hovering dangerously over the drop zone, will allow up to eleven players leave Vicarage Road this summer.

Defensive stalwarts Adrian Mariappa and Jose Cholevas, along with back up goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes have signed short term extensions to help Watford in their fight to escape relegation.

Twenty-one year old midfielder Callum Whelan, who made his Watford debut as a substitute in the FA Cup game with Tranmere in January, before starting the replay a week later, has also renewed his contract until the end of the current campaign.

U23 captain Jamal Balogun, Jayden Bennetts, who also made his Hornets’ debut in the replay defeat to Tranmere, Kaylen Hinds, who scored Watford’s equaliser in that game, forward Micheal Folivi, defenders Lewis Gordon and Cameron Green and have all been released.

West Ham

Defenders Pablo Zabaleta and Carlos Sanchez, who have played 16 Premier League games between them this season, will leave the Hammers once their contract expires, with Zabaleta rejecting a short term extension.

Also departing the London Stadium are U23 players Anouar El Mhassani, Reece Hannam and Louie Watson.

Wolves

High flying Wolves will allow five players to leave the club once their contracts expire.

Jordan Graham, who has had five separate loan spells during his five years at Wolves has already left the club and is joined by Phil Ofosu-Ayeh who failed to make a single appearance in his three years with the club, young defender Connor Johnson, Irish winger Callum Thompson and Swiss midfielder Ming-Yang Yang.

In Modern football is too much blame being placed on the manager?

The past seven days in the premier league has witnessed two managers relieved of their duties.

Both Unai Emery at Arsenal and Quique Sanchez Flores, at Watford that was his second spell at the club and marked the hornet’s second managerial change of the season. 

Arsenal director Josh Kroenke revealed that the decision to remove Emery from his position had been ‘weeks’ in the making as they felt that the head coach had lost the backing of the fans. The former Sevilla and PSG boss was on a run of seven games without a win.

Former Arsenal player, Freddie Ljungburg, replaced the 48 year old and the Swede opened his managerial account with a 2-2 draw away to Norwich this past weekend.

Ljungburg is the latest appointment by a club chairman and the board of a former player at one of the big six clubs following the trend of Frank Lampard at Chelsea at the start of the season and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United and has prompted Kroenke to say that, “ Ljungburg has Arsenal DNA and understands the club.”

These latest managerial sackings however prompt the question… Is too much blame being placed on the manager?

Head Coach versus Manager role

For a start some teams nowadays have Head Coaches while others have Managers.

The former Tottenham Manager Mauricio Pochettino speaking in 2015, highlights the subtle differences between the roles:

“If you are the manager, you decide many things about the club.  But if you are a head coach, your responsibility is to play better, try to improve the players and to get positive results.”

Pochettino continued:

“At Southampton, I was manager my responsibility was not only to coach the team. With Tottenham, I am a head coach.  A head coach is head of your department. My department is to train the team.”

The attributes needed to be successful are reportedly the same for both roles, being adaptable in terms of training and good judgement on team selection for instance.

The head coach however can protest regarding lack of signings, but there is a lack of authority on the role compared with being a Manager.

It seems that the days are long gone when an Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson figure end up having complete control in terms of how things are run at football clubs.

Ultimately however is enough time given to managers or head coaches these days to implement the changes they require?

Former Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson, speaking to Harvard Business Review said:

“I believe that the cycle of a successful team lasts maybe four years and then some change is needed.  So we tried to visualise the team maybe three or four years ahead and make decisions accordingly.”

Ferguson continued: “Because I was at United for such a long time, I could afford to plan ahead – no one expected me to go anywhere. I was very fortunate in that respect.”

Is football after all a team game?

Football is supposed to be a team game, so shouldn’t the players, coaching staff and those who run the club be held equally accountable?

There is a squad of 25 players and even though the manager is there to inspire, implement tactics and produce impactful substitutions, he is not out there on the field playing the matches.

Sir Alex Ferguson was often praised for bringing on substitutes that would lead to last minute Manchester United winners. More recent examples include Jurgen Klopp and Brendan Rodgers, who have been praised for the way they set up their teams at Liverpool and Leicester City respectively.

Managers therefore are quickly praised but equally critics are ready to pounce if things are not quite going to plan. This leads to increased scrutiny on the man in charge and he is more often than not, provided with enough time to turn things around.

Flores for instance was only given 87 days so the window provided is getting shorter for managers to make the desired impact that the clubs fans and owners are looking for.

When asked about the recent pressure that Everton manger, Marco Silva was under, England and Everton’s number one goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford said:

“ A few bad performances should not put the manager under pressure”

Pickford continued:

“ We have to look at ourselves as individuals and as a squad.  You are a team and you win together and you loose together.”

Sacking managers is not always the answer

Pickford has currently had 11 managers throughout his Premier League career to date, since his introduction seven in three seasons at Sunderland, who are now currently in League One and four in the past three seasons at Everton.

Although Silva and his team enjoyed an impressive conclusion to the previous campaign, there is little suggest that Everton will challenge currently for the top six positions that they are looking to break into.

Owners expecting quick results

The influx of money, particularly in the Premier League and the spending power of clubs has changed, particularly in the past few years.

It has become harder for the top clubs to get the players that they want as other teams are under less pressure to sell and want to get the maximum amount for the player in question.

When the high transfer fees are spent, Emery for instance had over 100 million to spend on transfers over the summer, including 70 million on Nicholas Pepe from Lille, both the fans and the owners expect the side to hit the ground running.

If the desired results are not being delivered the boardroom will look for someone to blame. The easiest answer will ultimately always be the person in charge, the manager.

Challenging football schedules

Liverpool Manager, Jurgen Klopp eluded to this matter at the start of November as the German said,

“ Crazy football schedule for international players, there is no time for the manager to work with the players on the training field.”

Sadio Mane, one of Liverpool’s key attackers for instance has only had two weeks break all year round. The league leaders are currently at a start of a run that will see them play 13 matches over a six-week period.

It is therefore a struggle for a new manager or one that is under pressure to implement a new style of play or change tactics for an upcoming game if he does not have enough time to coach the players.

There is also the addition of international tournaments such as this year’s Nations League competition that increases the amount of time that players are away from their club sides.

The demanding schedules lead to the increased chances of injuries to significant players for key games as well as player fatigue that leads to a greater chance of players making mistakes out on the field of play.

Pressures of qualifying for Europe’s elite competitions

All the elite clubs strive to be apart of the Champions League with the prize money seemingly increasing year on year, for this season clubs would have secured roughly 15 million just for reaching the group stage.

This would drive club owners to make knee jerk decisions, especially if their team was not performing on the field.

Media scrutiny on Managers

Finally the media scrutiny on managers in this day and age is enormous.  Particularly for sides such as Manchester United and Liverpool, who have former players as pundits such as Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher.

They are quick to point out what the manager should and should not do using video technology in their Sky Sports Studio.

The influence of the Video Assistant Referee is also proving to be a game changer this season.

The manager also has to watch what he says in the pre and post match interview. He is ultimately put under the microscope more than any one individual player as he is exposed to the media every week.

If a player has a bad game he can choose to avoid the media and public eye following the match and can always redeem himself the following week.

When it is going well, the manager is quick to be praised by everyone and can supposedly do no wrong.  When things however start to go wrong, fortunes can change very quickly, owners want to see a return on their increased investment and it is on the whole easier for them sack one person rather than wait till the transfer market to sell and sign numerous players. 

 Feel free to give 24/7 your opinion, is too much blame and pressure being put on the manager or head coach?

 

 

Is Maddison the man for Ole?

James Maddison is continuing to impress at Leicester and is looking more and more like the finished article and one of the elite play-makers in the country. And with United’s current plight, Maddison seems like the perfect fit to come in and save their season.

The attacking midfielder showed flashes of his brilliance last season playing 36 games and getting seven goals and seven assists in his first season in the top flight. With Claude Puel getting the chop in February, Brendan Rodgers has come in and turned the foxes around with some shrewd signings and inventive tactics. Rodgers’ arrival has also seen Maddison step up his game with goals against Liverpool and Spurs as well as an assist against Chelsea, Maddison has become a big game player.

Maddison is Leicester’s most creative midfielder, has a brilliant eye for a pass and can score goals in or outside the box. Add this to his brilliant dead-ball and dribbling skills and it is tough to find an area of his game that needs significantly improving.

Brendan Rodgers’ has pushed Maddison back slightly into a number eight role, giving him more defensive responsibility and requiring him to work for the team more. Maddison has taken to this new role like a duck to water and it has also seen him get on the ball more and dictate play.

United are currently crying out for a creative midfielder with the absence of Paul Pogba, and on paper Maddison seems like the perfect option to bring in. Ole seems to be clinging onto the job by the skin of his teeth and it is almost inevitable that he or whoever is in the Old Trafford hot seat in January will be given money to spend to improve a squad that has looked a million miles away from challenging for the top four this term.

But then begs the question, why would Maddison leave Leicester for United? Right now Leicester have a much better squad and manager than United, and it’d take a minor miracle for United to finish above them this season considering they are seven points behind after ten games.

United have always been able to attract the very best and despite not being in a great place over the past few years, have not lost that pulling power that has seen the likes of Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexis Sanchez turn down bigger money to join the Red Devils. And with Maddison being a United fan as a boy, that could be a key factor in whether he makes the move this winter.

The Battle for Sixth

10 to 15 years ago, the Premier League was a far simpler place. The established top four were Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. Generally, the excitement came from seeing what order those teams would finish in. 

Nowadays, we have a top six after the rise of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. And not just that, we appear to have a few more teams who are looking to gate crash the big boys. 

With the recent declines of United, Chelsea and Arsenal, sixth spot, at least, is starting to look like it may be up for grabs. One of the teams vying for it is Leicester City. 

Harry Maguire is 26 years old. He’s probably just about old enough to vaguely remember Man United’s treble, and certainly old enough to have grown up in a time when the Red Devils still dominated English football. 

It’s a frame of mind that may have stuck in his head over the summer, as he eventually got his £85 million move to Old Trafford. At the moment though, a move from Leicester to United could arguably be seen as reducing your chances of finishing in a coveted European spot. 

The two teams now go head to head on Saturday, and it is already looking like the match could be an important marker for both sides this season. 

The Foxes have some excellent players, and their midfield is packed with talent. Wilfred Ndidi has proved himself superbly in a holding midfield role, and Hamza Choudhury is developing into a fearsome player. 

On the more attacking front, Leicester have the talents of James Maddison and Youri Tielemans. Maddison adapted brilliantly from the Championship to the Premier League last season, creating the more chances than anyone else in the league. 

Tielemans, meanwhile, was arguably one of the most underrated transfers of the summer. The talented young Belgian impressed in the second half of last season, and has started this season in great form with a goal and an assist from his opening matches. 

Kasper Schmeichel is a fine keeper, and the Foxes have good options at full back with Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell. And who could forget Jamie Vardy, who has started this season excellently. Keeping him fit will be key to Leicester’s top six charge. 

Things seem to be coming together nicely under Brendan Rodgers at the King Power stadium. The same can’t really be said for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the north west. 

It would be foolish to label United’s squad as being generally limited. They still have David de Gea. Paul Pogba – for all that pundits like to slander him – is a brilliant player, and they have the talents of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford up front. 

But nothing seems to have really gelled for the Red Devils. Really, they are a counter-attacking side with two pacy forwards in Rashford and Martial combined with the superb long range passing of Pogba. 

But teams are happy enough to sit back against them. Maybe it’s a hangover from 10 years ago when you’d expect to be beaten by Manchester United, or perhaps most managers have cottoned on to the fact that if United have a lot of the ball, they tend to struggle. 

United lack any true creative presences further up the pitch. Pogba seems to operate better from deeper positions and while they do have a former No10 supremo in Juan Mata, his powers are fading as the pace of the game appears to be getting away from the Spaniard. 

All hope should not be lost though. Maguire and Victor Lindelof have the potential to become a solid defensive partnership, and their backline has been further strengthened by the addition of Aaron Wan-Bissaka. 

And then there is the form of Daniel James, who has exceeded all expectations. His first goal for United may have been a tad lucky courtesy of a deflection, but it seems to have given him great confidence and belief – he is now scoring fine goals for both club and country. 

But United cannot be solely reliant on Pogba hitting long balls to Rashford and Martial, and James smashing in screamers. They need to forge more of a style – perhaps they would be better off hunkering down and attempting to focus on counter-attacking. For the moment at least, they lack the personnel to truly dominate and successfully wear down the opposition. 

They come up against a Leicester side who have a highly technically proficient midfield, one that arguably has the potential to cut through most Premier League sides. 

Getting an edge over United on Saturday will be vital for Rodgers’ and his side, while Solskjaer will be looking to stop the rot at Old Trafford after just three wins in his last 16 games.