UNITED PROTESTS GIVE LEICESTER A HUGE BOOST
After the protests that recently took place at Old Trafford, there was always going to be some form of fallout and although Manchester United did not receive anything in the way of punishments, some of their rivals will wish they were forthcoming.
Because as the original date for United’s clash with Liverpool was unable to be fulfilled, the issue regarding rescheduling came to the fore and with the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men then having to play three Premier League matches in a week, something would have to give.
Something that did give on Tuesday night, as Leicester made the trip to Old Trafford and with several clubs outside the top four watching with increased interest, they would have been aghast at the United starting eleven.
A line-up which saw wholesale change from the former Norwegian forward and after making so many switches, Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers must have felt that Christmas had come rather early.
Now this was a United team for the taking and after picking up an incredibly important 2-1 win away from home, the Foxes have taken a huge step towards Champions League football next season.
A step that they seriously needed to take, as failure to win either of their previous two league outings before that and subsequently earning just one point from the six on offer, had opened the top four door to the likes of West Ham and Liverpool.
However, if that door were ajar, there is a sense that it is nearly slammed shut and if United can get the better of Liverpool on Thursday night, Leicester would need just two points from their remaining two league matches.
Something that should be achievable, especially as West Ham are also seemingly stuttering in the final lap of this top four race and although Leicester are running on empty themselves, they do seem to now have just enough fuel in their tank.
Of course, the focus after their win on Tuesday, was the role that Manchester United played in all of this and although many rival fans will take umbrage about a de-facto reserve team being played, it is umbrage that is rather misplaced.
Ultimately, with United reaching their top four objective with games to spare and Europa League silverware still within reach at the end of the month, they have every right to make any necessary changes.
For those who were relying on the Red Devils doing the business on Tuesday night, therein lies the problem and it is not one United defeat in isolation that will scupper others hopes of Champions League football, it is their own missteps throughout the rest of the campaign.
While what better way to generate a maximum level of seethe, than by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer naming as strong a starting eleven as possible on Thursday and with so many players being rested on Tuesday night, you get the feeling that this will prove to be the exact case.