Home Sports Football Premier League United can blank Foxes in curtain raiser
United can blank Foxes in curtain raiser

United can blank Foxes in curtain raiser

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The 2018/19 Premier League season starts on Friday night with Manchester United and Leicester City having the honour of cutting the ribbon on the new campaign.

Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho has been more miserable than usual during pre-season but should end the evening with a smile on his face.

Man Utd to win to zero @ 6/5

United had to play the bridesmaid to runaway champions Manchester City last season and it might be tricky for them to bridge the gap to their local rivals after a relatively quiet transfer window.

Mourinho’s men start the new campaign at 27/4 to finish top of the pile but, as usual, the Portuguese has played down his team’s chances of success.

Having been denied several of his star names during the build-up to the new campaign due to the World Cup, and with Fred the only notable addition to the squad at the time of writing, it could be a tricky third season at Old Trafford for the ‘Special One’.

Leicester find themselves in a similar position after losing star man Riyad Mahrez to Man City although they have at least managed to freshen up their squad following the signings of Ricardo Pereira, Jonny Evans, James Maddison, Danny Ward and Rachid Ghezzal.

However, it is the absentees, rather than the debutants, that are likely to dominant the thinking of both sets of supporters when the teams are announced.

Leicester boss Claude Puel does not expect either Harry Maguire or Jamie Vardy to feature, while Mourinho says he will make a late decision on his own World Cup stars.

Sergio Romero, Antonio Valencia, Diogo Dalot, Marcos Rojo and Nemanja Matic will definitely miss out for United, while Eric Bailly and Ander Herrera are doubts.

All the absences means Mourinho could go with a few youngsters in his XI, as he did in pre-season, although history suggests that is unlikely to change the outcome.

United are the masters of getting their season off to a good start, winning their last three curtain raisers, while they have only lost one of their home openers since the inaugural 1992/93 Premier League campaign.

United’s record against Leicester at Old Trafford is impressive, too, winning seven of nine encounters with the Foxes on home soil, including a comfortable 2-0 victory last season.

It is no surprise to see United as the 20/39 favourites, with the draw 3/1 and an away win 27/4.

Given they kept clean sheets in 12 of 19 home leagues games last season, United to win to zero offers decent value.

Mata to score anytime @ 7/2

Given he didn’t go to the World Cup, Juan Mata looks a shoe-in to feature heavily in the early part of the season and will relish the opening game.

The Spaniard has made it a habit of scoring against the Foxes and has notched four in his last four appearances.

Leicester struggled defensively on the road last season, keeping just three clean sheets away from home in the league, and with Maguire missing on Friday they could provide Mata and co with plenty of opportunities.

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Chris Rivers An experienced journalist, Chris is very knowledgeable on a host of different sports and often focuses on NFL, boxing and Formula One. Chris is also a regular at the Emirates Stadium, which adds to his knowledge of top flight and European football.