Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United have been a little inconsistent this season and had a very slow start to the season, suffering losses to Arsenal FC and Istanbul Basaksehir and even got knocked out of the UEFA Champions League after losing to RB Liepzig.
SkySports analyst Paul Merson believes Manchester United could be regarded as serious title challengers, if they are able to pull off a victory over Leicester City their at the King Power Stadium.
Manchester United had since moved on from their slow start their slow start this season racking up six straight victories moving up to third on the Premier League table after their 6-2 win over Leeds United and Merson believes another win away from home on Boxing day will be a big title statement.
“If United go and win at Leicester, this would be a bigger statement than beating Leeds 6-2,” Merson told Sky Sports. “If they can come away with a win, I would think ‘wow’. It would turn my head and if they win they would be Liverpool’s main rivals.
“I just think with Man City, later on in the season when it comes to the business end of the Champions League, if they’re playing a quarter-final on the Wednesday I can’t see Pep Guardiola playing his strongest team on the weekend. The Champions League is the one he wants and City are already a lot of points behind Liverpool.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made a rare change in his starting line up against Leads United during the weekend with his side ending up victorious and scoring six goals despite playing James ahead of Mason Greenwood in that game but that didn’t come as a surprise to Merson, who believes the James start was a tactical inclusion not just a decision.
“Against Leeds, I didn’t find it a shock at all to see James playing,” he added. “When you play Leeds, you need players who are quick and who are capable of beating opponents as they like to set up one-v-one. West Ham did the same with Said Benrahma at Leeds, but he wasn’t a starter against Chelsea. Certain players will be used against Leeds who aren’t necessarily used every week by their clubs.
“I’d be shocked if James plays at Leicester because you’d normally play Mason Greenwood over him but James is a better one-v-one player with better pace. When it comes to the tighter games and you need a goal, I’d play Greenwood. United have got the squad, but inconsistency is the issue. They went out of the Champions League to RB Leipzig and they’ve been giving teams a head start all season.
Manchester United have one of the best teams in the Premier League at the moment and just need to make their game click. However, Merson doesn’t expect the Leicester game to be easy for the Red Devils as the Leeds game. They will just have to find a way to replicate their performance against Leeds in the Leicester game.
“United are in the hunt but they’ve not played well. They’ve got firepower that other teams just haven’t got. But people are talking about Scott McTominay as if he’s the next Roy Keane all of a sudden. They’ve just played Leeds. If they could pick one team to play each week, it would be Leeds. They need to be producing these performances on a consistent basis.
“Leeds will make their own chances. They’d make them if they were playing against Bayern Munich, but no side won’t make chances against Leeds when they play gung-ho football. Leicester will be completely different. This will be a hard game for United as Leicester won’t come and have a go.”