Finally, weekends are set to be exciting again for the football fans, as English Premier League kicks off today at Old Trafford, where, Manchester United will start their 2018-19 season campaign against 2015-16 champions, Leicester City.
Just like Manchester United’s manager Jose Mourinho said, ‘’now it’s serious stuff, It’s not anymore about friendlies, it’s not anymore about preparation, it’s about points.” And Manchester United fans will be hoping that the Red Devils start their new season just like they have started, the previous 2 seasons under Mourinho. Manchester United have always started their League campaign brightly, as they have won their first 3 games of the Premier League campaign under the Portuguese manager.
Although, Mourinho welcomed back Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku this week in training, he is reluctant to rush them back despite the shortage of options.
As, the Portuguese coach said in his pre match conference: "They returned on Monday. They trained Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and today [Thursday] so you can imagine they are not really fit and ready but we have needs.
"After training I will speak will that group of players because everyone is different physically and mentally.
"I want to see how available they feel they are because it is very important they are feeling to understand they think they can help or not help."
Claude Puel’s attempted joke regarding Harry Maguire’s future at Old Trafford being limited to a few hours will probably not have tickled José Mourinho, as despite of Manchester United considerable interest Harry Maguire remains a Leicester player. And Leicester manager, Puel refused to reveal if Harry Maguire or Jamie Vardy will play at Old Trafford after only returning this week from their holidays following their World Cup commitments.
"Harry and Jamie are ready in their minds, but after I don't know if they're ready in their body, with their fitness levels.”
"We have another training session this afternoon, and then we will see."
Both the teams are stretched through injuries and fitness issues with returning World Cup stars heading into their Premier League.
Leicester could be missing up to six players for the trip to Old Trafford. Matty James and Nampalys Mendy are the only definite absentees but their new star signing, James Maddison should shake off a knock. Just like Jose on Pogba and Lukaku, Puel will make a late call on Maguire and Vardy. While late calls will also be made on Jonny Evans and Demarai Gray who had minor injuries.
Manchester United’s injury list is more dampening for them as, Sergio Romero, Antonio Valencia, Marcos Rojo and Diogo Dalot are out through injury on Friday, as are Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic.
Paul Pogba, Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard and Marouane Fellaini will be assessed after returning late following their World Cup exertions, while Anthony Martial's availability is unclear after missing the final pre-season friendly at Bayern Munich. There is some positive news for the Manchester United as new boys Lee Grant and Fred are available for the selection.
Although, Leicester were unable to beat Manchester United season, they managed to secure a dramatic 2-2 draw at their home ground, King Power Stadium. With Manchester United missing their several big names, Cluade Puel’s Leicester City has a great chance of changing the torrid record against the Red Devils as Manchester United are unbeaten in their last seven Premier League games against Leicester City, winning four and drawing three, and have lost just one of the last 18.
Player to Watch- James Maddison