Something of a rarity this evening as we see a Saturday 7:45pm kick-off in the Premier League then again with the new TV deal on the horizon and the inclusion of eight show piece fixtures being played in this particular time slot I guess it is something that we are all going to have to get used to.
Both Leicester and Manchester United suffered defeats in the midweek as their Carabao Cup runs came to an end, Leicester pushed Manchester City as close as possible, first with Jamie Vardy’s dramatic 97th minute equaliser and then a penalty shootout before Claudio Bravo was once again the hero of the hour as Pep Guardiola’s quadruple hopes remain intact.
While Jose Mourinho’s all star lineup were beaten by Championship outfit Bristol City, after going behind to a second half wonder strike from Joe Bryan they soon restored parity thanks to a goal from the mercurial Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
However it was to be an off night for the Carabao Cup holders as Ashton Gate would be rocking thanks to a 93rd minute winner from Korey Smith. A fourth Premier League scalp for Lee Johnson’s men this season while all the United boss could say afterwards was that the victors were ‘lucky’
Sour grapes perhaps from the Portuguese manager but I’m sure he will not dwell on it too much as the task in hand reverts back to Premier League action as it is now not so much keeping pace with crosstown rivals Manchester City but keeping Chelsea at arm’s length.
Chelsea are only three points behind Manchester United going into today’s fixtures and there is every possibility that they could be level by the time we come to the King Power Stadium this evening. So we may not have a title race but we may well have a race to be the best of the rest.
Home side Leicester’s impressive form was bought to a shuddering halt last weekend when they were beaten 3-0 by Crystal Palace at the King Power. A result that not only gave the Eagles their first away league goals of the season but more importantly a first away win.
It was certainly a day to forget for Leicester midfielder Wilfried Ndidi who was shown a red card, that was bad enough as it means he will miss this fixture through suspension but the fact that last Saturday was his birthday would have only compounded the misery further.
And misery is certainly what Crystal Palace inflicted on Leicester last Saturday, the Foxes looked considerably out of sorts and were a pale imitation of the team that made very light work of Southampton at St Mary’s just three days before.
Leicester’s defeat to the South London outfit was a first in six league matches and had they won that clash they would have bridged the gap to the top seven, that said they are still in eighth and the appointment of Claude Puel is looking like a shrewd one.
Manchester United managed to keep their three point buffer over Chelsea going into this set of fixtures thanks to a 2-1 win over West Brom. It was a game of two halves as the Red Devils took a comfortable 2-0 lead, one that all but wrapped up maximum points.
But the Baggies would make something of a contest of it late on as Gareth Barry reduced the deficit, whether this was down to United taking their feet off the gas or West Brom finally removing the shackles can be argued but the valiant attempt by Alan Pardew’s men was ultimately all in vain.
Both Manchester United and Jose Mourinho have had day’s to forget at the King Power Stadium in recent times so the combination of the two may not bode all that well but that said I think it will be the away side who come out on top and give their fans some Christmas cheer.
Here is what Social Media thinks will happen – you can still vote on the outcome
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) December 21, 2017