Image: Britain Football Soccer – Watford v Manchester United – Premier League – Vicarage Road – 18/9/16 Watford’s Daryl Janmaat in action with Manchester United’s Luke Shaw Reuters / Eddie Keogh Livepic
By Steve Tongue
LONDON (Reuters) – After successive Premier League defeats, Manchester United will hope to re-energise their faltering campaign and make up ground on the early pacesetters with victory at home to champions Leicester City on Saturday.
After losing to leaders Manchester City and Watford, either side of a Champions League defeat to Feyenoord, United already trail Pep Guardiola’s vibrant City by six points and sit in seventh place.
Manager Jose Mourinho has spoken about his new charges reacting badly to “negativity”, which some observers felt he increased with public criticism of defender Luke Shaw after the 3-1 defeat by Watford last weekend.
A 3-1 win over Northampton Town in the League Cup on Wednesday prevented a fourth straight defeat, but it was not an entirely convincing United performance against the third-tier outfit.
There will particular interest in Mourinho’s team selection at home to Leicester (1130GMT) and whether England and United captain Wayne Rooney, who has been in poor form, keeps his place.
City, having won their first five league games under Guardiola to top the table, visit Swansea City for the second time in four days, after Guardiola’s side won 2-1 in a League Cup tie on Wednesday.
Striker Sergio Aguero will be available after completing a three-match suspension, although City scored six goals without him in the two league matches he missed against United and Bournemouth.
Everton and Tottenham Hotspur, the two other unbeaten sides lying second and third respectively, both face long trips on Saturday.
Everton go to the south coast to face Bournemouth, who are in the bottom four but held them 3-3 in one of the most dramatic games of last season, with four goals in the last 10 minutes.
Tottenham, missing injured England striker Harry Kane, travel to the north-east to face promoted Middlesbrough, who had started well before losing their last two games.
Arsene Wenger, named as Arsenal manager 20 years ago this week, will hope to celebrate with victory in the London derby at home to Chelsea.
Antonio Conte’s side slipped up at home to Liverpool last Friday to drop to fifth place before impressing the manager by recovering from 2-0 down to win a League Cup tie 4-2 at Leicester.
Liverpool’s victory at Stamford Bridge took them up to sixth and they will be fancied for a third successive league victory at home to Hull City.
The only two clubs without a win both have home games with mid-table opposition: Sunderland against Crystal Palace and Stoke City against West Bromwich Albion.
(Editing by Toby Davis)
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