The Manchester Defence Forces could delay Leicester's celebrations
Manchester United v Leicester, Sunday 2.05pm, Sky Sports 1
Describing Old Trafford as a ‘fortress’ was met with sniggers and scoffs in the Power Tower office this week. ‘Newcastle are about to relegated and they got a point there’ they laughed. ‘More than a quarter of Norwich’s points on the road came courtesy of their Old Trafford win’, they spluttered. ‘Your hair looks shite’, one of them said.
But be that as it may, Manchester United’s home record is the best in the league – with Louis van Gaal’s red army picking up an average of 2.18 points per game at the Theatre of Dreams. If Leicester are indeed to be crowned Champions at Old Trafford, they’re going to have to do it at the hardest away ground in the top flight.
Remarkably only five teams have even managed to score at Old Trafford this season – Southampton, Norwich, Liverpool, Swansea and Arsenal – as the Red Devils have kept 12 clean sheets in front of the Stretford End. The average Premier League team have conceded 20 goals at home in the league this season. Manchester United have conceded just seven.
LVG’s team have conceded an average of just 2.24 shots on target per game at home this season, and 82 per cent of those shots on target have been saved. David De Gea’s stock continues to rise with every passing week, while Chris Smalling and Daley Blind have come in for plenty of praise for tightening up United’s backline.
Can Leicester break down the fortress? No team has averaged more away goals than the Foxes (1.82), although they continue to battle on without Jamie Vardy who picked up an extra ban for impolitely telling referee Jonathon Moss where to go. Liverpool’s 1-0 win against Leicester on December 26 was the only time this season Leicester have failed to score on the road, but with the title within reach can they find the onion bag at OT?
In case this cocktail needed any extra kick – defeat means Manchester United can’t mathematically make the top four. So it’s not like the home side have nothing to play for…
Man United are to keep their 13th clean sheet of the season, while the home side are big favourites to win the game at despite the two team’s respective league standings. The value bet might be to back the 0-0 draw however at . Chelsea, West Ham, Man City and Newcastle have all been held to scoreless draws at Old Trafford this season, while Leicester’s defensive record in 2016 (11 clean sheets in 16 games) isn’t too shabby either.
A point keeps Leicester in pole position for the title, just about keeps Man Utd in the hunt for a Champions League spot, and could bag us a 15/2 winners. Everybody’s happy right?