Leicester City are within inches of winning an historic Premier League trophy but they may have to put the Champagne on ice for at least 24 hours after their trip to Old Trafford on Sunday. The allegation that they are a one-man team was quickly put to bed last week with a resounding 4-0 triumph over Swansea, as the Foxes proved that they can cope admirably without Jamie Vardy. Recently crowned PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez led the charge, and with England’s new striker missing again after his FA ban was extended, it will fall to the creative midfield man to make the difference against the Red Devils.
United were also celebrating this time last week after a last-gasp win over Everton in the FA Cup semi final gave them a place in the season finale at Wembley against Crystal Palace. Attention will now turn to their quest to oust Arsenal or Manchester City from the Champions League places and there will be no easy ride for Leicester on Sunday by any stretch of the imagination.
Meanwhile, fresh from holding Real Madrid to a 0-0 draw in the Champions League semi final, Manchester City face a very tough trip to Southampton who still have European aspirations of their own; and Liverpool travel to Swansea also looking to secure a place in the top six of the Premier League table. It all adds up to an excellent day of football and we’ve got tips on each of the three games.
Manchester United v Leicester
The draw is the stand out bet when United and Leicester go head-to-head at +252 with Marathonbet
Both of these sides have something to fight for and both are defensively solid above all other things. Leicester know that three points from their last three against United, Chelsea and Everton will wrap up the title, but it will also be in the bag if Spurs fail to win at Chelsea on Monday night. Tottenham’s 1-1 draw with West Brom last week leaves them 7 points adrift of the Foxes and there is a distinct possibility that Chelsea will finish off their faint hopes of glory. With that in mind Claudio Ranieri would probably be more than happy to settle for a point here. Leicester have kept six clean sheets in the last seven games, and if they can retain that solidarity for another 90 minutes they will be one step closer to the ultimate prize.
Manchester United must win this game to have a realistic chance of catching Manchester City or Arsenal, and with those two scheduled to play each other next Sunday, it is not beyond the realms of possibility. Despite six wins in seven and an FA Cup final, it appears the jury is still out on manager Louis van Gaal and the style of play this season has been less than the Old Trafford faithful expect. United have kept five clean sheets in the last seven, and can also call on considerable defensive strength.
A draw is slightly less than either team would want in the circumstances, but it may be a case of spoils shared in this lunchtime kick off.
Southampton v Manchester City
Manchester City are in the midst of a Champions League semi final and that makes Southampton worth the punt at +181 with Marathonbet
The Citizens drew 0-0 at the Etihad and face a daunting trip to the Bernabeu next week when Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to be fit again. This is the last fixture they would have wanted as it consists of a long trip to the south coast to play an in-form Southampton side still fighting for a top six finish. With a home game against Arsenal and an away game against Swansea to come, it may be a case of juggling the pack for Manuel Pellegrini in this one. City are unlikely to drop out of the top four at this stage, and they are long since out of the title race. Qualifying for next year’s Champions League is obviously important, but the priority is surely next Wednesday’s second leg against Real.
The Saints are back in decent form – winning four of their last six – and look to be in a four-way fight with West Ham, Manchester United and Liverpool for the Europa League places. They comfortably beat Aston Villa last week and will be fired up for a game against a top side here on home ground. City have only won two on their travels in the last six, and could easily be forgiven for having one eye on next week’s epic clash.
Swansea v Liverpool
A Swansea v Liverpool fixture is always easy on the eye and over 2.5 goals looks a great bet at -105 with Marathonbet
Both teams play free-flowing attacking football, and although Liverpool are also in the midst of a European semi final, they still need points for league position. It’s possibly an advantage for them that Swansea have nothing left to play for – and that has shown in the last two defeats to Newcastle and Leicester – but they are likely to raise their game for the visit of one of England’s traditional big guns.
Jurgen Klopp may opt to rest players, as he did in the recent fixture at Bournemouth, but the attacking style will remain. There is little value in gaining just a point, so the Reds are likely to approach this game with the intent of getting all three. Each of Liverpool’s last five have had more than three goals, as have three of Swansea’s last five, so odds close to the evens mark are plenty good enough.
Manchester United and Leicester to Draw
Sunday 1st May, 13:30 GMT
Southampton to beat Manchester City
Sunday 1st May, 16:00 GMT
Swansea v Liverpool – Over 2.5 Goals
Sunday 1st May, 12:00 GMT