Manchester United have maintained a proud tradition of attracting the best players in world football to the club through a flurry of acquisitions during the transfer window that have provided Louis Van Gaal with a star-studded squad. Deadline day signings Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao wrapped up a wonderful summer for the club, although the general acceptance that new faces need time to settle may not go down well with fans that have been treated to many years of success.
A slow start to the season has come as a result of the rebuilding process overseen by Van Gaal, but the resounding 4-0 victory at Old Trafford against Premier League new boys Queens Park Rangers showed there is a lot to be optimistic about. Manchester United may be firm favourites in the latest Premier League betting odds to take three points from their next game at Leicester on Sunday, but Van Gaal will need his star men to perform if the Red Devils are to meet expectations.
Having a squad packed with talent does not always guarantee success, but the arrival of Falcao and Angel Di Maria provides Manchester United with players who can win a game on their own. It is very much a team effort under Van Gaal who continues to stamp his authority on the training ground and on match days, with the international break providing the Dutchman with plenty of time to assess his squad and incorporate his style of football. Van Gaal will look for a marked improvement at the King Power Stadium as Manchester United have struggled to impose themselves away from Old Trafford; unconvincing draws at Sunderland and Burnley must be addressed if United are to assert themselves as strong Premier League title contenders.
Manchester United will be without Phil Jones for the trip to Leicester as the England defender picked up a torn hamstring injury which will keep him out for a month. Although Marcos Rojo impressed on his debut against QPR, Jones’ injury leaves Van Gaal short of options and may continue with the 4-4-2 system which was more suitable and effective than his tried and trusted 3-5-2. Record signing Angel Di Maria is likely to start again following his wonderful performances since joining from Real Madrid, although the Argentine star continues to work on his fitness and may not last 90 minutes. It remains to be seen whether Falcao will make his first start, or whether Van Gaal will continue with Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney upfront.
The Foxes have undoubtedly adapted to life in the Premier League far better than the other teams who came up from the Championship last season, with Nigel Pearson’s side looking well equipped to secure their position in the top flight. Impressive performances have shown that Leicester have enough quality amongst their ranks to make a real impact; they were unlucky in defeat at Chelsea, while they were by far the better team in their home draw against Arsenal. A deserved victory at Stoke means Leicester will be high in confidence ahead of the game against Manchester United – one which they may fancy their chances of winning on home soil. Pearson has instilled a wonderful work ethic into his team who play enterprising football, with Wes Morgan and Leonardo Ulloa standing out in the opening month of the season. The latter has instantly repaid the £8 million fee paid to Brighton for his services, with the Argentine striker netting 3 goals in 4 games and will be a serious threat to Manchester United’s defence with his presence.