Manchester United suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Championship team Bristol City in the Carabao Cup quarterfinal in midweek. Jose Mourinho, however, shied away from blaming his players as he felt that they had done enough to secure a win.
Mourinho would want to brush aside any worries ahead of the crucial game against Leicester City. United had scrapped their way to a 2-0 victory over the Foxes earlier this season.
Since Puel has taken over, Leicester has lost only a single match in the League and has gone from strength to strength. The introduction of Demarai Gray has been determinable as the youngster has proven his worth by delivering some splendid performances.
It would not be a surprise if Manchester United have to fight their way to a win as Leicester has been determined and focused over the last few weeks. Let us see how the Red Devils might line up.
Eric Bailly will undergo a surgery and will be out until February at least. More importantly, the heavy workload on Antonio Valencia seems to be catching up with him as the Ecuadorian limped off due to a hamstring injury in the game against West Brom.
Jose has confirmed that Fellaini will miss the game too due to his knee injury. Michael Carrick is still recovering from an abnormal heart rhythm and hence United are set to miss out on the services of some prolific players in this busy Christmas period.
David de Gea will be the undisputed starter in the game against Leicester. He has been scintillating this season and has particularly stepped up during the big games.
Antonio Valencia’s injury means that Matteo Darmian will get another chance at right-back. Darmian has been far from convincing this season and has failed to live up to the hype surrounding his talent.
Ashley Young has been impressive in his recent outings and would be a sure starter, though Luke Shaw’s impressive performances have increased the competition for the left-back slot.
Jose will trust his strong and consistent defenders Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to start at the centre of the defence and get the job done.
United will be strengthened by the return of Paul Pogba in the Premier League. Pogba would be crucial if United are to penetrate Leicester’s resolute defence. He was not at his best against Bristol City but would be more comfortable now after a short layoff due to his three-match suspension.
Nemanja Matic’s absence was sorely felt by United against Bristol, as there was no linkage between the defence and attack. Matic has slotted into his role really well and would resume his responsibilities after being given a break in the League Cup match.
Romelu Lukaku has headed in two goals in the last two games in the Premier League and seems to be getting back to form slowly. Jesse Lingard has been the most consistent of all the players that Jose has played in the number 10 position and expect him to start again.
Juan Mata brings in a sense of creativity and immense work ethic into the team. Mata plays in an inward right wing position which helps him to link and connect better with Lukaku at the centre.
Marcus Rashford has started two games in the past five days and he would be given a rest in this game. This means that Anthony Martial would start on the left wing.