Could Leicester City Really Overtake Manchester United This Season?

When Brendan Rodgers walked out of Celtic to join Leicester City in February this year there was a collective sense of bemusement within football.

At Celtic Park he was revered for delivering seven trophies in just under three seasons and also overseeing an incredible unbeaten run of 69 games.

So why would Rodgers swap the chance to win a third consecutive Scottish domestic treble for the chance to take charge of mid-table Leicester in the Premier League?

Four games in to the new season we already have our answer.

Rodgers’ Leicester side are currently third in the table tucked in nicely behind the two title contenders Manchester City and Liverpool.

They are unlikely to trouble these teams above them, but more importantly are also peering down at Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United, and harbouring increasing hopes of sticking around in the top four.

Unbeaten Leicester have already amassed eight points with draws against Chelsea and Wolves, and wins over Bournemouth and Sheffield United.

Next up is a trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on Saturday, which even this early in the season is a game rich with symbolic value: Can Leicester inflict more misery on United and overtake them in the Premier League?

After nearly leading Liverpool to the title in 2014, Rodgers was never going to be truly fulfilled with all the success he enjoyed in Scotland.

He had been patiently waiting for the right project back in the Premier League, and believed he had found it when Leicester came calling earlier this year.

Rodgers realised he was unlikely to get one of the leading jobs in England again so soon, and so for him, Leicester was the next best thing.

The former Swansea and Liverpool manager surveyed the quality inside the Leicester squad and knew he could push them even further.

Since Leicester’s incredible title win in 2016, they have finished 12th and ninth twice, but believe they can break back in to the top six this season.

There is a noticeable hunger and intensity about Leicester this season, and Rodgers has characterised his side’s new approach as “really aggressive.” 

If Leicester don’t have the ball they hunt and press in packs for it, and when they get it they have the players to use it quickly and astutely.

Despite selling Harry Maguire to United for £80 million in the summer, Leicester have adjusted to his absence, with the Turkish defender Caglar Soyuncu impressing in his four starts so far this season.

Alongside him the underrated Jonny Evans, Ben Chilwell and Ricardo Pereira offer a significant barrier in front of their keeper Kasper Schmeichel.

It could easily be argued the Leicester midfield is superior to their opponents on Saturday, being able to boast the talents of Youri Tielemans, Wilfred Ndidi and Hamza Choudhury.  

But the jewel in this midfield is James Maddison, fresh from his recent England call-up, who created the most chances in the Premier League last season with his unerring ability to pick out his team-mates.

The £25 million Leicester paid Norwich for Maddison a year ago now appears to be a bargain, with his value having probably trebled since.

And at the front of all of this is still Jamie Vardy, whose two goals against Bournemouth at the end of August evoked memories of his very best form in the club’s title-winning season three years ago.

With his pace and movement, the former England striker remains the perfect recipient for the passes of Tielemans and Maddison.

Having built up this early season momentum, Leicester travel to Old Trafford on Saturday confident they can now barge them out of the top six this season.

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