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Manchester United v Leicester City

Midfielder Fred was Manchester United’s main summer signing for a reported £52.7m

TEAM NEWS

Summer signing Fred is expected to make his Manchester United debut on Friday but several other players are missing.

Antonio Valencia, Marcos Rojo, Diogo Dalot, Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic are all injured, while Jose Mourinho will check on the fitness of those who returned late from the World Cup.

Leicester manager Claude Puel must similarly decide whether to include Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire.

New signings Jonny Evans and James Maddison are available after injuries.

Demarai Gray is also fit, while Ricardo Pereira and Rachid Ghezzal could be involved.

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

Martin Fisher: Jose Mourinho rarely smiled last season and his expression hasn’t changed after a summer of frustration.

Several transfer targets were identified but failed to materialise and it seems the United boss doesn’t fancy his chances of closing the considerable gap on champions City with the pool of players left at Old Trafford.

Leicester have finally cashed in on Riyad Mahrez but they’ve shown characteristic resolve to rebuff United’s interest in Harry Maguire.

The England World Cup hero only returned to training on Monday but is still in line to start. Jamie Vardy is less likely, as Kelechi Iheanacho has been scoring goals aplenty in pre-season.

VIEW FROM THE DUGOUT

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho: “Now it’s serious stuff. It’s not anymore about friendlies, it’s not anymore about preparation, it’s about points.

“Any point can be crucial – you don’t know what is going to happen at the end of the season. You have to try your best to get points and even with the difficulties that we had with our pre-season, now I don’t think is the time to be speaking about that.

“It’s time just to say ‘tomorrow we have a Premier League match’ and we have to play to win it.”

Leicester manager Claude Puel: “We lost Riyad Mahrez, who was a very valuable player for us, so it was important to keep our best players and have good additions to the squad.

“We have to prepare for this season with good possibilities.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

The atmosphere at Old Trafford will be interesting because Manchester United have not had the greatest pre-season.

But does that matter if you win your first game? I would suggest not, and I do think United will start with a victory.

Leicester lost five of their last seven games last season and the first few weeks of this campaign are going to be crucial for their manager Claude Puel because, if they start poorly, he will be under pressure again.

Prediction: 1-0

Lawro’s full predictions v Inbetweeners star Joe Thomas

  • Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game.
Their tally of opening victories is a Premier League record

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Leicester have won only three of their 44 top-flight away matches against Manchester United. Their only Premier League victory at Old Trafford came in February 1998 when Tony Cottee scored the solitary goal.
  • Manchester United have won 13 and drawn four of the subsequent 18 league meetings, with Leicester 5-3 victors at home in 2014.

Manchester United

  • United have won their opening Premier League match on an unrivalled 17 occasions. Their only opening-day defeat at Old Trafford in 14 games came against Swansea in 2014.
  • Jose Mourinho has never lost on the opening day of a Premier League campaign, winning eight and drawing one.
  • Manchester United won all 21 Premier League matches in which they scored first last season.
  • The 19 clean sheets kept by United in 2017-18 was the most in the division.
  • However, Mourinho failed to win the league title in his second season at a club for the first time in his managerial career.

Leicester City

  • The Foxes have won their opening Premier League fixture in only one of the past nine attempts – beating Sunderland 4-2 in 2015.
  • They have not started a top-flight campaign with an away victory since beating Aston Villa in 1933.
  • Leicester won five of their first eight league games under Claude Puel, but only recorded the same number of victories in their remaining 21 fixtures last season.
  • Puel’s side scored with 13.3% of their attempts on goal in the league, a conversion rate bettered only by champions Manchester City in 2017-18.
  • Jamie Vardy scored against each of the top six last season, the first player to do so against those teams in a single Premier League campaign. He became the first Leicester City player to score 20 goals or more in two top-flight seasons since Gary Lineker in 1983-84 and 1984-85.
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