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Eric Bailly returns as Manchester United take on Leicester City

The Ivorian makes his first start since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations.

Manchester United v Middlesbrough - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The teams are out for Manchester United’s encounter away at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium, and the biggest (and best) news is that centre-back Eric Bailly is to make his first start since returning from Africa Cup of Nations action. He partners Chris Smalling at the heart of the United defence, with Marcos Rojo preferred to both Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw at left back — neither of whom, strangely, are on the bench.

In midfield Juan Mata is preferred to Michael Carrick, meaning Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba are seemingly starting in a deep-lying two. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford are flanking striker Zlatan Ibrahimović. Captain Wayne Rooney misses the game with illness, though Anthony Martial provides an attacking option from the bench.

The two stars of last season, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, are handed starts by Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri. However, they’ve both struggled to recapture their best form so far this campaign, and hopefully their struggles continue again today: