In the build-up to the last game of the 19/20 Premier League season, few teams have as much depending on the fixture as Manchester United and Leicester City, who as fate would have it face each other on the very last day, as they continue their fight to clinch a spot in the top 4, subsequently getting Champions League football. With United on 63 points and a +28 goal difference and Leicester on 62 points with the exact same goal difference, a draw would only leave their fate in the hands of Chelsea, whose loss against Wolves could end up seeing them out of contention.
But both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Brendan Rodgers would be willing to take control in their own hands and get a certain victory and not rely on the off chance that Chelsea might lose, which only means a challenging game on Sunday with both teams raring to go. Leicester have seemed a bit off the pace compared to their form in the initial stages of the season, having bagged only 20 points from the last 48 available which is largely due to missing key players like James Maddison, Ben Chilwell, and Ricardo Pereira. Even with the sidelined players, Leicester are far from an easy opposition, and here’s a look at 5 players who are definitely capable of damaging United’s top 4 hopes and the ones Ole would be definitely wary of.
The young English midfielder has been an integral part of Brendan Rodger’s side operating mainly on the left flank providing attacking support to talisman Jamie Vardy. At just 22 years of age, he’s energetic, skilled on the ball, and quick on his feet and will be definitely looking to make things hard down the wing for United at times. Having chipped in with 14 Goals+Assists in the league this season, he’s a major attacking contributor for Leicester and Ole would be trying to set his team up to keep him under control. In a one on one situation, Manchester United’s right-back, Wan-Bissaka would be up to the task of keeping Barnes at age but with his versatility, he could cause problems for the Reds’ defender.
Another young talent who has become a real performer for Leicester of late, Tielemans’ ability is no secret to any opposition and with his creativity and distribution, he’s known to be a major threat especially with the likes of Jamie Vardy up front. He operates on the right side of the midfield usually with having a good mid to long range shot as well as the ability to play the ball in behind looking for runners into the opposition box. Solskjaer wouldn’t want his men to give Tielemans a lot of space and time on the ball as he poses a real threat to the United goal. Being interested in the midfielder in the past himself, Ole is sure to be aware of his quality and will not take his presence lightly.
The easiest inclusion here, he’s been one of the most prolific strikers in the league for 4 seasons running and is in the contention for the golden boot this season, having netted a league highest 23 goals already. His ability to get in behind the defense and deadly finishing make him an at times unavoidable threat, so it’s only natural that Ole would be expecting a really high level of focus and concentration from his two center-backs to try and neutralize the explosiveness of Vardy if United look to get a positive result at the King Power Stadium.
With 5 assists to his name as well, he can hold the ball up and play it into his teammates to create chances off of the center operating as a false 9 and with his high energy pressing style of play, he’s an increasingly dangerous player for United, as they have struggled every time they’ve been pressed high up into their own half, something Vardy will fully look to exploit.
Few players have been as pivotal in their teams’ successes this season, as Wilfred Ndidi has for Leicester’s. The Nigerian has been one of the first names on Rodgers’ team sheets when fit, and his performances reflect the same. A commanding presence in the center of the field, Ndidi plays an almost identical role to that of N’goloKante’s in the title-winning Leicester side of 15/16. Having completed a total of 123 successful tackles this season, he’s the second-highest league behind Wan Bissaka. Great at winning back possession and dictating the tempo of play, the United midfield and attack will have to work extra hard to work around the deep-lying midfielder to try and put pressure in the final third of the opposition. Highly energetic and efficient, even in his passing, with an almost 86% pass completion rate, being 5th highest in the league, he is integral to Leicester as a link between defense and attack, United will be aware of his effectiveness and would look to neutralize the threat.
A name, not most people would expect to be on here, but the veteran defender has been the epitome of consistency this season. Having started all 37 games up until this point, there is nothing to suggest that he won’t in the final game either. Given the suspension of Caglar Soyuncu, a consequence of a red card more relies on him to keep United’s attack at bay, and as he displayed many times in his years with the Reds, Evans is a big game player and at his best when it matters the most. To say that United will have to be at their prolific best to have a look at the goal is an understatement as he has been a rock at the centre-back position for Brendan Rodgers’ side.