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Manchester United vs Leicester: United to make slow start

Manchester United vs Leicester Match Preview and Predictions

[All odds correct at time of publication]

Match information

When is it? Friday 10th August 2018

What time is kick-off? 20:00

Where is it being played? Old Trafford

Which channel is it on? Sky Sports Main Event

Who is the referee? Andre Marriner

Manchester United and Leicester City get the 2018/19 Premier League season under way in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Old Trafford.

Manchester United made a flying start to last season, winning their opening three matches by an aggregate score of 10-0, but could not maintain the momentum.

It is another tough opening to the season for Leicester, who went to Arsenal on the opening weekend last season and twice took the lead before conceding two late goals in a 4-3 defeat.

Manchester United vs Leicester Betting Tips

The lowdown

United may have been prolific in front of goal at the start of last season but their attack ended the season ranked just sixth in terms of chances created.

Their xG was 2.0 or higher in six of their first seven games, which included a 2-0 win against the Foxes, but they failed to create the same amount of expected goals in any of their last seven matches.

Whether United have done enough over the summer to become more creative remains to be seen but they conceded only nine goals in the Premier League at Old Trafford, while the signing of Fred may allow Paul Pogba to play in a more attacking role.

Assuming they remain as solid defensively against a team now missing Riyad Mahrez, the BetStars odds boost of 6/4 for United to win 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 appeals as the first of our Manchester United vs Leicester predictions.

Under 2.5 goals at 4/5 also looks the way to go in the over/under market and would have paid out in five of United's final six Premier League matches of last season.

First goalscorer tips

While many of United's attacking players - plus Leicester's Jamie Vardy - spent the summer at the World Cup, Alexis Sanchez was able to enjoy a much-needed break due to Chile's failure to qualify.

The January signing should be ready to hit the ground running and appeals at 10/3 to open the scoring.

Anytime goalscorer tips

Chris Smalling is not exactly known for his form in front of goal but he proved a threat from set-pieces at the end of last season, scoring three goals between the start of March and the end of the campaign.

In a tight match, set-pieces could make the difference and Smalling may be worth backing to find the net again at 11/2.

Where the game will be won or lost

Both managers start the season under some pressure to improve on last season, with United hoping to be more of a threat in the title race while Leicester must stop the rot after taking just four points from their last seven matches of the previous campaign.

It was thought Leicester may get rid of Claude Puel but he has been kept on by the club's hierarchy, who instead made changes to his coaching staff.

United boss Jose Mourinho believes Leicester should be better prepared for the start of the season, moaning during pre-season: "When I look to Leicester, if I am not wrong, only (Harry) Maguire and (Jamie) Vardy were in the World Cup, the final phase, because (Kasper) Schmeichel was, but back sooner.

"I think a team that is working for six weeks minimum, with all the players except one central defender and one striker that can join in the last week and probably be available, I think that is clear, a much better situation for them."

It may take a while for United to get going so we complete our Manchester United vs Leicester betting tips by taking 31/10 for the scores to be level at half-time before United secure the three points.

Team news

United are without Sergio Romero, Antonio Valencia, Marcos Rojo, Nemanja Matic and Diogo Dalot through injury, while there is a doubt over Ander Herrera.

Paul Pogba, Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard and Marouane Fellaini will be assessed after returning late following their World Cup exertions, while Anthony Martial's availability is unclear after missing the final pre-season friendly at Bayern Munich. New boys Lee Grant and Fred are available.

Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire are among a handful of players who are doubts for Leicester. The England stars were given an extended break following their exploits at the World Cup this summer and only rejoined the rest of the Foxes squad this week.

Summer signing Jonny Evans, formerly of United, Nampalys Mendy and Demarai Gray (ankle) are also concerns but new recruits Ricardo Pereira, James Maddison, Danny Ward, Rachid Ghezzal and Filip Benkovic are all expected to be available.

Traders' Tips - View from the trading floor

United have have been engulfed in a wave of negativity all summer, primarily down to manager Mourinho's unhappiness with the lack of transfer activity in the off season. Despite Leicester losing star man Mahrez they have made some decent signings, so we expect Vardy and co to come away with a point from Old Trafford to add to Mourinho's woes.

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Andrew McDermott
@a_mcdermott in Football