3 Key Battles That Will Help Decide Premier League Opener Between Man Utd & Leicester

3 min


Manchester United and Leicester City will kick off the opening game of the eagerly awaited 2018/19 Premier League season at Old Trafford on Friday night.

Here’s a look at three key battles that could help decide the outcome…

3. Fred vs Wilfred Ndidi

New United signing Fred might have been afforded a slow start for his club had the likes of Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera been available for this one, but he’ll be thrown straight in against one of the Premier League’s best box-to-box midfielders in Wilfred Ndidi.

Fred will be the most experienced in United’s expected midfield trio alongside Andreas Pereira and Scott McTominay, with that battle for supremacy in the centre of the pitch crucial, not least because Leicester have altered their tactics over summer to include greater focus on the ball.

2. Kelechi Iheanacho vs Eric Bailly

Leicester striker Kelechi Iheanacho is no stranger to scoring the winner at Old Trafford after netting the decisive goal for Manchester City in a local derby clash in September 2016. Eric Bailly was in the United side that day and will again line up against his fellow African.

With Jamie Vardy not expected to start, the Iheanacho will likely be leading the line for the Foxes and keeping tabs on his movement is the only way to ensure he doesn’t inflict damage.  

1. Marcus Rashford vs Wes Morgan

In a similar vein at the other end of the pitch, it could be youth versus experience as 20-year-old United forward Marcus Rashford goes up against veteran Leicester skipper Wes Morgan.

Wearing his new number 10 shirt, Rashford is more likely to start the game than Romelu Lukaku after featuring less at the World Cup over the summer. He didn’t take his chances enough last season and simply has to be more clinical in front of goal.  

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