I’m not saying this is definitely the case, but there’s a chance this meeting between Manchester United and Leicester City will decide which of these two teams will be a legitimate challenger to Liverpool for Premier League glory this season.
It’s quite fitting in a sense that the sides are headed by two managers that get a lot of needless flak, too. For all the Pepisms we have to sit through and every feature-length article on subscription sites where they speak to a former gardener of Guardiola’s second cousin who somehow knows all about his training ground approach, it’s nice to see Ole and Big Brendan in the spotlight.
Leicester v Man Utd, December 26: 12.30pm
BT Sport 1
So, get into the kitchen, grab a half loaf, throw some turkey in between the slices and sprinkle enough salt on there to make sure your half-time quencher is a welcome experience.
It’s Boxing Day – and this is your opener. Here’s three crafty wagers.
MORE TOP TIPS
- PHIL THOMPSON: My 9/2 Man Utd, Chelsea & Man City Boxing Day treble
- SUNDAY’S BIG ACCA: Our 20/1 bet for all FOUR Premier League games
- BOXING DAY SPECIAL BET: Our 17/2 treble from the Premier League, King George & NFL
Both of these sides are chomping at the bit for this fixture because it’s the one that legitimises the respective sides. In theory a points tally should do that, but the problem this year is that almost every club in the Premier League bar Arsenal have about four points separating them and thus we need head-to-heads to really prove just how these teams will match up upon season’s end.
While Jamie Vardy is an odds-on shot to be searching for an up-market turkey at 6pm on Christmas Eve down Marks and Spencer, there’s no chance he’ll indulge to the point where he won’t have an immediate impact on this game. Paul Pogba, however, is liable to complain that the turkey is getting all the attention around the table.
This is going to be played at a frenetic pace and it could very easily be the game of the season: one I fully believe could be 2-2 after about nine minutes.
United know where Leicester weaknesses lie. That’s primarily because they both play the exact same brand of football, and United themselves have been cut open time and time again from the same situations they’ll be looking to exploit.
The transformation in United, though, is their decision making in the final third. It’s almost City-like in that a striker could be two-v-one and instead of youthful exuberance forcing him to shoot, he’ll pull back to increase the likelihood of a team-mate scoring. The man to benefit? Bruno Fernandes.
Both of these sides get in behind far too often for either manager’s liking, and both receive countless shirt pulls, late challenges and over-zealous contact inside the box.
Given that the gremlins in the VAR room like to point to the spot for a light breeze these days, this feels a safe bet, even if we’re not keen to see it ourselves.
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change
Leicester v Man Utd tips
BOXING DAY BEST BETS
- Goal machine Tavernier to help Rangers beat Hibs
- EFL acca: Our 10/1 four-fold for Boxing Day’s big fixture list
- Premier League double: Our 14/1 bet for two 3pm kick-offs
- Celtic recovery to continue with win at Hamilton
- Chelsea to pile more misery on Arsenal in this 9/1 Bet Builder
- Our 6/1 double for Boxing Day’s 8pm kick-offs
SUNDAY’S TOP TIPS
- Burnley to blunt Leeds with Chris Wood on target
- Hot-shot Haller to help West Ham leave Brighton feeling blue
- There’s festive fun for Liverpool in this 14/1 Bet Builder v West Brom
- Wolves and Tottenham set for stalemate in Sunday’s late game