These three will have a big say on Saturday's game. Dave Thompson/PA Images

The 3 key battles that will decide Man United v Leicester

The game kicks off at 5.30pm on Saturday evening.

BETWEEN THEM, MANCHESTER United and Leicester City have 14 Premier League titles and the pair go head-to-head at 5.30pm this Saturday evening at Old Trafford.

United have started the season in impressive fashion, firing home eight unanswered goals in back-to-back 4-0 wins over West Ham and Swansea and their performances already have fans dreaming of a first title since 2013.

Leicester, meanwhile, were on the wrong end of a seven-goal thriller with Arsenal on the opening day before securing a 2-0 win over Premier League new boys Brighton last weekend.

Both sides have a chance to really set the tone for the rest of the season in this game, but what three key battles will decide Saturday’s encounter?

1. Romelu Lukaku v Wes Morgan

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A few eyebrows were raised when Manchester United forked out nearly €85 million for Romelu Lukaku but, with three Premier League goals to his name already this season, he is certainly making an impact at Old Trafford.

Wes Morgan is all too familiar with Lukaku, having watched the Belgian score in a 2-0 St. Stephen’s Day win over the Foxes and he also found the net when the pair met in the FA Cup less than a month later.

And to prove he loves scoring against Leicester, Lukaku hit a brace in a 4-2 Premier League win over Saturday’s opposition last April, a game Morgan missed through injury.

Leicester kept just nine clean sheets last season and Morgan must be particularly wary of his 24-year old opponent at set-pieces as he’s set to return from the back injury that kept him out of Tuesday’s League Cup game.

Advantage: Manchester United

2. Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba vs Matty James and Wilfred Ndidi

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Nemanja Matic has been outstanding since his move to Manchester United with his role as a holding midfielder giving Paul Pogba the freedom to be more creative in his play.

The results have been instant with the French midfielder scoring twice and providing two assists in his opening pair of Premier League games. For context, he managed just five goals and four assists all of last season.

Tasked with marshalling the pair on Saturday evening will be Wilfred Ndidi and Matty James, a former United trainee who missed all of Leicester’s title-winning campaign through injury and who spent last season on loan at Barnsley.

With Danny Drinkwater still recovering from injury, James has formed a solid partnership with Ndidi, giving Shinji Okazaki the freedom to push up and support Jamie Vardy.

However, it’s one thing bossing Brighton’s midfield, it’s quite another going to Old Trafford and expecting to do the same.

Advantage: Manchester United

3. Jamie Vardy v Phil Jones

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If you’re looking for efficiency this season, Jamie Vardy is your man with two goals from just three shots over two games.

Last season was something of a struggle for Vardy, finding the net 13 times, compared to his 24 goals in Leicester’s title-winning season.

He failed to find the net against United in the league last season, but did score in a 1-1 draw during Leicester’s title campaign.

On Saturday, he comes up against a United defence that hasn’t conceded a goal this season and, indeed, has only allowed one shot on target.

Phil Jones and his centre-half partner Eric Bailly have looked impressive to date, but have yet to face a striker capable of causing as much chaos as Vardy.

Advantage: Leicester


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While United’s clean sheet record could well go in this game, their midfield dominance looks set to be hugely influential in determining the outcome.

Add the fact that they’ve had four different goalscorers already this season and you would expect the home side to have too much firepower for Leicester.

Prediction: Manchester United 3-1 Leicester City

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