Manchester United v Leicester City: Foxes can frustrate hosts
Leicester City have been plagued by injuries for much of the campaign, but Kevin Hatchard believes the picture is getting rosier, and that a good result at Old Trafford is possible...
Rangnick trying to keep UCL dream alive
While he may have flirted with the idea of retaining the manager's job and eschewing his mysterious consultancy role, Ralf Rangnick must now accept that United's next permanent boss won't be him.
It appears that Ajax coach Erik ten Hag is the front runner (he is the 4/9 favourite on the Sportsbook), with Mauricio Pochettino, Julen Lopetegui and Luis Enrique also rumoured to be in the mix.
Rangnick has been in football long enough to know that unless he delivers a top-four finish, his time at the United helm will be deemed a failure. At times (particularly the abject second-half display against Manchester City) the players have looked disinterested and bereft of any kind of fire, but at others their individual quality has shone through (the 3-2 win over Tottenham was a fine example).
Rangnick has never truly been able to bed down his fast-paced style, using a tactical sticking plaster in the short term, an uneasy compromise.
Rangnick's home record in the league has been respectable, with just one defeat, two draws and five wins. Had United been more clinical in front of goal, that record might be even better - they put up an Infogol Expected Goals figure of 2.93 in a goalless draw with Watford and racked up 2.47 in a 1-1 draw with Southampton.
Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba both came through international duty unscathed, despite recent injuries. Edinson Cavani picked up a knock in action with Uruguay against Chile, and is a doubt.
Foxes returning to full health
It's been a frustrating campaign for Leicester City, with the East Midlands side brought low by a glut of injuries and consistent instability in defence. Having finished fifth in each of the last two campaigns, a push for the Champions League places this term has never looked on the cards. However, having won the FA Cup last season, there could be more silverware this time around, as Brendan Rodgers has led his side into the quarter-finals of the Europa Conference League.
The return of centre-back Wesley Fofana is hugely important, as in his absence (he was seriously injured in pre-season) the team has crumbled defensively. Veteran Jonny Evans in also back in the ranks after injury, and Ademola Lookman is back in contention after COVID-19.
Leicester's big UECL match against PSV isn't until Thursday, and it's at home, so there is no reason why Rodgers shouldn't field a strong side here.
The Foxes certainly need to improve their away form, as they have lost five of their last six road matches in the top flight. However, they have a decent recent record against the Red Devils, having won the clubs' last three meetings. They won their last game at Old Trafford 2-1, and earlier this term they beat United 4-2 at the King Power.
United just too short to trust
It's tempting to look at Leicester's away form and conclude that this hosts are fairly priced at 1.57 in the Match Odds market, but that's way too short for my liking. United don't lose many at home, but they have found this matchup difficult in the last couple of seasons, and the lack of complete buy-in when it comes to Rangnick's methods is a concern.
You can back Leicester +1.0 on the Asian Handicap at evens, which means that only a two-goal defeat or worse for the visitors will see you lose your stake. If you look at United's last 20 competitive home games, they have won by multiple goals just twice.
If you want to be a little more conservative, you can back Leicester +1.0 and +1.5 on the Asian Handicap at 1.72, so even a one-goal Foxes defeat gives you a half-win.
Both teams can strike
BTTS is priced at 1.76, and even though it's well short of evens, I still think it's a decent bet. It has landed in 14 of United's last 22 games, and 15 of Leicester's last 22. If you look at the clubs' recent meetings, the last four have all seen both teams find the net.
We can talk about Bruno
Bruno Fernandes is on a high after scoring a brace to fire Portugal to the World Cup in midweek, and he is priced at 6/4 in the To Score market on the Sportsbook. There's no doubt that his offensive output has dipped significantly this term, but he has still scored 13 goals for club and country.
For Leicester, James Maddison has scored in three of his last six competitive appearances. He is priced at a chunky 7/2 to find the net, and 4/7 to just have a shot on target.
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