Leicester v Manchester United Tips: Foxes look vulnerable to FA Cup exit

Manchester United can continue their strong record against Leicester in Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final, says Andy Schooler...

United dominant in head-to-head

Manchester United can maintain their iron grip on Leicester when the sides meet in the last of the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday evening.

Many people remember the Foxes' famous 5-3 victory over United (from 3-1 down) under Nigel Pearson but that was now six and a half years ago and in the intervening period, Leicester have failed to beat the Red Devils, drawing four and losing nine.

Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the reins at Old Trafford, it's three wins out of four for United, all those victories coming without conceding a goal.

A repeat here should certainly be considered.

United's defence has been miserly of late, conceding just one goal in their last seven matches in all competitions, and eight clean sheets in their last 11.

They are unbeaten in 14 games, while they haven't tasted defeat in a domestic away game since January 2020, a time when the phrase COVID-19 had barely entered the lexicon.

Their recent run has included a 2-0 victory at runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City, while on Thursday they were impressive 1-0 winners away to AC Milan.

Forward concerns for visitors

Turning to the team news, the obvious worry looks to be in the forward line. Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial both missed the trip to Milan, while Marcus Rashford had to come off at half time. Still, at time of writing, none of the trio had been ruled out.

On the plus side, Rashford's replacement was the returning Paul Pogba, who shone and bagged the winner, while Donny van de Beek and David de Gea were also back in the squad again.

Expect Solskjaer to shuffle his pack for this game, this is the FA Cup after all. However, wholesale changes seem unlikely. In the last-16 win over West Ham, he named arguably eight of his first-choice XI, resting Bruno Fernandes, Scott McTominay and Luke Shaw. Van de Beek, Nemanja Matic and Alex Telles all played instead.

With a two-week international break to follow, there's no immediate concern about a forthcoming game either.

Key men missing for Foxes

Leicester's injury problems look worse.

They remain without three of their best players this season - James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and James Justin - while Ricardo Pereira is another absentee you could argue would be in Brendan Rodgers' best XI.

Given those recent problems, it's not a surprise that they've stuttered of late, winning only three of their last seven matches. They've exited the Europa League in that time and lost 3-1 at home to Arsenal.

Last Sunday they demolished Sheffield United 5-0 but I'm not reading too much into that. The Blades are destined to be relegated with one of the worst points tallies in Premier League history, while last weekend their players seemed more bothered about praising departed boss Chris Wilder on social media than anything on the pitch.

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It will have raised confidence but the Foxes players will also know they have really struggled at home to the league's better sides this season.

Against teams in the top half, Leicester have gone 2-1-4 at the King Power. They've also lost at home to 11th-placed Leeds.

Rodgers 1280.jpg

Rodgers chopped and changed in the early rounds of this competition - Darren Ward, Vontae Daley-Campbell and Cengiz Under all started the last-gasp win over Brighton in round five - but with his side now out of Europe, Leicester should be closer to something resembling their best-available XI.
However, whoever plays in blue I have doubts about whether they will be able to deal with a team of United's quality.

United can march on

There's no doubt some flaws remain in the visitors but they've become a very functional unit, particularly away from Old Trafford, and I expect them to quell a home attack which simply doesn't offer the same threat without Maddison and Barnes.

In addition, its spearhead, Jamie Vardy, has scored once in 15 games.

United are 2.46 for the win in 90 minutes which seems perfectly fair. Leicester are at 3.1 with the draw a 3.6 chance.

Goals in short supply

For those seeking a bigger price, combining the away win with under 2.5 goals looks a decent approach.

That defensive record is highly impressive and why the unders goes against the grain of what both sides have managed across the season as a whole, it looks like some of both sides' best attacking players will miss the tie.

United to win and under 2.5 goals can be backed at 5.6.

Another option is for United to win to nil at 4.6, again off the back of that defensive solidity they have shown.

Like United/under 2.5, this has landed in three of the sides' last four meetings, while five of the visitors' last six wins have come via this method.

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