Leicester City vs Manchester United - Prediction, Odds & Picks

  • This is essentially a play-off to determine which of the two teams will qualify for the Champions League
  • A draw is enough for Manchester United, while Leicester have to win
  • Both teams have been questionable defensively of late and there could be plenty of goals

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What Leicester City vs Manchester United
Where King Power Stadium, Leicester, England
When Sunday, 26 July 2020, 11 AM EST
How to watch NBC Sports

After almost 12 months and 37 games each, the fate of Leicester City and Manchester United will be determined by 90 minutes of soccer.

The fixture computer has done the neutrals a huge favor by pitting two of the three remaining Champions League contenders against one another on the final day. With Chelsea certain to qualify for Europe’s preeminent competition if they beat Wolverhampton Wanderers, this is essentially a play-off to decide whether Leicester or United finishes in the top four.

So, how did we get here? A few short weeks ago, Leicester fans could not have envisioned their side being in this predicament going into matchday 38. Occupying the fifth spot ahead of the final day would have sounded like an excellent proposition last summer, but when the Premier League resumed in June Leicester was third and held an eight-point advantage over United in fifth. Since then Brendan Rodgers’ men have accumulated only eight points from 24 available, continuing an iffy run of form that sees them ranked only 12th in the calendar year table.

United have been much better since the restart, collecting 18 points from their eight matches – a tally bettered only by Manchester City over the same period. Yet after an excellent run of four consecutive wins, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has entered a sticky patch, drawing at home to Southampton and West Ham United as well as losing the FA Cup semi-final to Chelsea.

Neither team will go into this match full of confidence, then, but both know that their fate remains in their own hands. A draw here will be enough for United, but Leicester will hope that home advantage brings them the victory they need.

Leicester City vs Manchester United Odds

Total goals Odds
Over 3.5 +195
Under 3.5 -286

Odds taken from BetMGM.

Games of this nature are often cagey and low-scoring, but there is reason to believe this one will be different. First, both teams are better going forward than they are at the back, so Rodgers and Solskjaer may conclude that attack is the best form of defense in this instance.

Secondly, unless word gets through that Chelsea are losing heavily to Wolves, neither side at the King Power Stadium will be happy with the present scoreline. If it is a draw, Leicester will need to score. If the Foxes are ahead, United will need to pull level. With that in mind, over 3.5 goals is the way to go.

Manchester United Endure Late-Season Wobble to Set up Dramatic Climax

After United’s highly impressive 3-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion earlier this month, it was hard not to see them qualifying for the Champions League. The front three of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Mason Greenwood was in fantastic form, while Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes had struck up a promising partnership behind them.

Those five players are clearly good enough to take United where they want to be, but we have seen in recent days that the squad as a whole is still not strong enough. Solskjaer rotated heavily for the FA Cup semi-final and saw his team well beaten by Chelsea, while there were notable areas of weakness in the 1-1 draw with West Ham too.

Missing out on the top four at this stage would be a huge disappointment for United, who were being widely tipped to finish third just a couple of weeks ago.

Leicester Have One More Chance to Salvage a Top-Four Place

Leicester’s downturn has lasted longer than United’s dip, although Rodgers has not been helped by injuries. Like United’s, Leicester’s squad does not have sufficient strength in depth in many areas, and the Foxes have looked particularly weak at the back after being forced to make some changes to personnel with Ricardo Pereira, Ben Chilwell and Caglar Soyuncu all missing of late.

Leicester cannot afford a first-half collapse like the one that occurred in Sunday’s 3-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur. However, there are still goals in this team – Jamie Vardy looks set to win the Golden Boot – and United’s backline will not be in for an easy 90 minutes.

Neither Team Will Be Happy With Any Scoreline Unless Chelsea Come Unstuck

The only plausible scenario in which Leicester and United might take their foot off the gas is if Wolves rack up a sizeable lead at Stamford Bridge. If the Chelsea game is close, or the Blues are winning comfortably, it is impossible for both Leicester and United to be pleased with whatever the scoreline is at any particular moment.

That should encourage an attacking, end-to-end game, which would make for an entertaining conclusion to the top-four race. United are favorites to qualify ahead of Leicester, but the goals market is where you should be looking.

Our Pick

Take the Over option here – both teams are better in attack than defense, and the overall situation means there will always be a point in the game where one team needs a goal.

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Greg Lea

Expert on Soccer

Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]