Manchester United travel to the King Power Stadium this afternoon as they attempt to end their two-game winless run in the Premier League against an out-of-sorts Leicester City side.
The Red Devils haven’t been firing on all cylinders themselves either. Although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s charges sit just two points behind league leaders Chelsea, their recent form has been quite alarming.
Defeats against Young Boys, West Ham United and Aston Villa in recent weeks have raised serious question marks over the progress being made in the red half of Manchester, adding greater importance to today’s encounter with the Foxes.
The problems for Solskjaer appear to be all over the pitch. The Old Trafford outfit have kept just one clean sheet all season, the debate over the midfield double pivot continues to rumble on, and the forward line has scored just three goals in the last four games. However, the solution to at least one of those issues could be a rather simple one for the Norwegian.
Despite making just one start in all competitions in the opening weeks of the campaign, Jesse Lingard has caught the eye with multiple standout cameo appearances off the bench.
He added gloss to the scoreline with a well-taken goal against Newcastle United, sealed all three points with a sumptuous last-minute strike in the victory over West Ham and provided the assist for Cristiano Ronaldo’s injury-time winner against Villarreal.
There was much talk of Lingard leaving his boyhood club on a permanent basis over the summer after he entered the final year of his current contract, but Solskjaer decided to keep hold of the versatile forward, and he is now being rewarded for doing so.
In just 45 minutes of Premier League action, the England international has been on the scoresheet on two occasions, and now the time has come for Lingard to be thrown in from the start.
With Marcus Rashford only just coming back from injury, Edinson Cavani unavailable, Jadon Sancho still acclimatising to his new surroundings and Anthony Martial struggling for form, Lingard could arguably be the main attacking threat over the weekend for the 20-time English champions.
The £19.8m-rated wizard was labelled “outstanding” after firing the Hammers to sixth place last term, and now he must be given a chance to prove that he’s worthy of a place in Manchester United’s starting line-up against the FA Cup holders this afternoon.
Lingard’s previous exploits have shown that he’s capable of having a huge impact for United today at Leicester, whom he scored against on the final day of the 2019/20 season, but Solskjaer needs to provide him with the opportunity to do so.