The Premier League is back! A brilliant World Cup in Russia made that three-month off-season go by a little quicker but this is the day that we have been counting down to since May. We start at the home of England's most successful club as Manchester United
host Leicester City
at Old Trafford...
MAN UNITED: De Gea; Darmian, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; Fred, Pogba, A. Pereira; Mata, Sanchez, Rashford
Subs: Grant, Smalling, Young, Fellaini, McTominay, Martial, Lukaku
LEICESTER: Schmeichel; Amartey, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell; Ndidi, Silva; Ricardo, Maddison, Gray; Iheanacho
Subs: Ward, Evans, Vardy, Albrighton, Iborra, Fuchs, Ghezzal
springs a bit of a surprise by throwing Paul Pogba
in straight away, despite the World Cup winner having missed the majority of pre-season. What's more, the Frenchman captains the Red Devils tonight - a sign that it is time for him to step up at United after a sparking tournament for France.
The Special One has revealed in his pre-match interview that Antonio Valencia remains United's regular captain. The Ecuadorian full-back is missing this evening with a calf problem so Matteo Darmian, who could yet leave before the end of the European transfer window, deputises at right-back.
There is a debut for United's only major summer signing - £60m midfielder Fred who has joined from Shakhtar Donetsk. Alongside Fred and Pogba in midfield is Andreas Pereira, who will hope to take advantage of injuries to Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera to finally establish himself at the club.
Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini are other World Cup stars who have been rushed back into action because of United's extensive injury list. While surely short of match fitness, the Belgium internationals do represent an excellent pair of options off the bench if they can manage 20 minutes or so.
Mourinho has been preparing to open the season without Lukaku by using Alexis Sanchez
in a centre-forward role. The Chilean, who is tonight flanked by Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata, will be expected to hit the ground running this season after struggling for form upon joining from Arsenal in January.
The biggest frustration for United this summer was their failure to bring in a top-class centre-back, with their scattergun approach failing to land any one of five targets. Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly, the two Mourinho-signed central defenders at Old Trafford, start a league game together for the first time.
One of the defenders on Mourinho's wish-list was Leicester's Harry Maguire
, who starts tonight on the back of a breakthrough World Cup. As promised by Puel, the 25-year-old is in Manchester this evening, but wearing Foxes blue after they rejected two offers from their opponents to sign him this summer.
A minor muscle strain prevents Jonny Evans from partnering Maguire on his return to Old Trafford, but there are two summer signings who do start for Leicester - Ricardo Pereira
and James Maddison who cost a combined £41m. Pereira, a right-back by trade, appears to be playing on the wing.
Maddison, who scored 14 goals and supplied eight assists for Norwich City in the Championship last season, is one of those tasked with filling the creative and goalscoring void of Riyad Mahrez
, who finally got his move to Manchester City this summer after combining for 61 goals and assists in three years.
Demarai Gray is another player who will need to step up following the departure of Mahrez. The England Under-21 international has publicly complained about a lack of first-team action in the past but now has the opportunity to prove himself right and establish himself as a first-team regular.
Despite losing the other half of the attacking duo which inspired Leicester's miracle title win in 2015-16 - and potentially 10 goals a season from Mahrez's assists - Jamie Vardy
has committed himself to the Foxes with a new four-year contract. The 31-year-old starts from the bench this evening.
will be hoping for big things from Kelechi Iheanacho this season. The Nigerian was a lethal poacher at Man City but didn't translate that in a frustrating first campaign at the King Power. Iheanacho found his feet in the final months of last season and has been banging them in this pre-season.
Unlike United, the Foxes were able to recruit two centre-backs on deadline day but neither Caglar Soyuncu or Filip Benkovic make the squad tonight. There could be debuts for Rachid Ghezzal and Danny Ward, although in the latter's case, that would mean a bad night for Kasper Schmeichel on his dad's old stomping ground.
The focus on defensive recruitment at Leicester is understandable considering that they conceded 60 goals last term - the fifth worst record in the division. They could do with taking a page out of United's book as the 19 clean sheets kept by the Red Devils in 2017-18 was the most in the league.
Leicester won five of their first eight league games under Puel, but only recorded the same number of victories in their remaining 21 fixtures last season. The Frenchman survived the summer but the pressure will be on him straight away if the Foxes get off to a slow start.
The bad news for Puel and Leicester is that they have won their opening Premier League fixture in only one of the past nine attempts - beating Sunderland 4-2 in 2015. They have not started a top-flight campaign with an away victory since beating Aston Villa in 1933.
In contrast, United have won their opening Premier League match on an unmatched 17 occasions. Their only opening-day defeat at Old Trafford in 14 games came against Swansea in 2014. Furthermore, Mourinho has never lost on the opening day of a Premier League campaign, winning eight and drawing one.
Mourinho failed to win the league title in his second season at a club for the first time in his managerial career. When he took over at Old Trafford he asked to be judged after three seasons so there is pressure on the Portuguese to deliver on his promises this time around.
However, United do not enter the season as one of the favourites to be crowned champions, with the biggest challenge to Man City expected to come from big-spending Liverpool. In fact, there are signs that it could go the other way at Old Trafford - a repeat of his turbulent third season at Chelsea.
The Portuguese appears to have alienated Pogba and Anthony Martial, two of his most exciting offensive players, to the extent that both have been angling for a move away from Manchester this summer, according to reports. Martial makes the bench tonight but seems to be on his way out.
Furthermore, United's pre-season results and performances have been very underwhelming, which led to Mourinho openly belittling the young players who made up their US touring party in the absence of his World Cup stars. Not a smart move considering United fans' affection for their academy.
HEAD TO HEAD: These two teams met at Old Trafford on the opening day of the season 20 years ago when United had to come from two goals down to snatch a draw. Their only home defeat to Leicester in the Premier League era came the previous season through Tony Cottee's solitary strike.
United are unbeaten in eight matches against the Foxes since losing a 5-3 classic at the King Power Stadium in Leicester's first season back in the top flight in 2014. They also faced them in August last season, when goals from Rashford and Fellaini earned Mourinho's men a 2-0 win.
Speaking of classics, Leicester served one up in the first game of the 2017-18 campaign when they shared seven goals with Arsenal, losing out to a late Olivier Giroud header. If tonight's encounter is half as good as that one than we are in for a good night. Less than 10 minutes until kickoff now.
While the top six have been pulling away over the last half a decade, Leicester have established themselve as a bit of a giant-killer. Vardy has been a huge part of that, and last season he became the first player to score against City, United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs in the same PL season.
Mata the match-winner tonight?
PREDICTION: The inclusion of Pogba and Lukaku on the bench is a massive boost for United as otherwise their lineup would have been short of inspiration. Leicester don't pose the same counter-attacking threat without Vardy and Mahrez so I reckon the hosts will win 2-1.
KICKOFF: The action is underway at Old Trafford, where Andre Marriner is our referee this evening.
Marriner is straight into the action as he awards a penalty to United for handball against Daniel Amartey
! Sanchez's toe-poke is blocked by Morgan and the full-back is adjudged to have used his arm while trying to control the bouncing ball.
GOAL! MAN UTD 1-0 LEICESTER (PAUL POGBA, pen)
Pogba takes five seconds to get to the spot, stuttering his way up and lifting the penalty towards the top corner, above Schmeichel who had dived the right way. When your run up is that arrogant, you have to score and the Frenchman did. United and Pogba are up and running in quick time!
It must be said that Pogba appears to have brought his World Cup form straight into the Premier League season. The midfielder has already produced some raking passes including the one that found Sanchez in the move that led to the penalty.
This game has started at a rapid pace and Leicester are trying to slow things down with some passing in midfield. Rashford, who is playing as the central striker, and Sanchez are buzzing around Ndidi and Silva to give them as little time as possible.
Maddison buys a free-kick under the challenge of Fred who is unlucky to be penalised for what appeared to be little more than a strong tackle. United will be wary of giving away cheap set pieces as they aren't the tallest team, and Maguire showed at the World Cup how potent he can be from the dead ball.
That goal is the quickest that United have ever scored in their opening Premier League game of the season. It is also the third time in succession that Leicester have conceded the first goal of the new campaign.
The visitors are slowly settling down and moving the ball forward, with Maddison finding space in between the lines and Chilwell and Gray outnumbering Darmian down the Leicester left.
Gray lifts a clever pass through three defenders and into the feet of Iheanacho, who is allowed to turn too easily by Lindelof and gets a shot away which is inches wide of the post. The offside flag is raised late against the Nigerian who has scored previously at Old Trafford for Man City.
There is some concern over Rashford who is holding his hamstring - a potential hazard of being rushed into action. Lukaku is warming up but Mourinho won't want to use him so soon either.
Leicester may be a goal down but they are on top of this game - dominating possession 61% to 39% which is a fair achievement at Old Trafford.
Amartey appears to be a weak link in this Leicester lineup. That is not scapegoating him for the handball but going back to last season when he was culpable for several goals. Rashford robs him in the right-back area but can't find a team-mate in the middle.
Pogba resists the temptation to unleash a volley from 25 yards out, instead choosing to bring the ball down and trying to line up a more controlled shot but Iheanacho picks his pocket and the chance is gone. Pogba chases him back but eventually loses out in a 50-50.
whips in a decent cross which Bailly clears, albeit in unorthodox fashion as he raises a boot high in front of Iheanacho's face rather than head the ball clear. Pereira was brought in to provide right-back competition for Amartey and I don't think it will be long before he ends up there.
Chilwell and Gray constantly have the advantage over Darmian with Mata reluctant to track the full-back. Leicester win a corner which Rashford clears in front of Maguire who was attacking it.
SAVE! Maddison learns the hard way about the step up to the Premier League as he is denied by the best goalkeeper in the world. He peels off his marker nicely and strikes across Pereira from 12 yards out but De Gea reads his effort well and pushes it away strongly at full stretch.
Leicester are lining up from corners exactly as England did in Russia - something I'm sure Gareth Southgate watching in the stands will appreciate. Maguire is yet to emerge from the queue to get his head on one yet though, the latest corner coming when Pereira's shot was deflected over by Bailly.
Pogba is furious to be penalised for a foul on Maddison but the ex-Norwich playmaker's feet were just too quick for him. Maddison was a bit of a set-piece specialist at Carrow Road but cannot lift this effort over the wall. Pogba started brilliantly but he has been much less involved in the last 20 minutes.
CHANCE! Lindelof just, just about does enough to prevent Iheanacho from getting a shot away after running onto a delightful pass around the corner from Gray. The Nigerian eventually outmuscles the Swede but loses control of the ball and Bailly comes across to make the clearance.
Fred switches the play nicely to Sanchez but the Chilean's pass is sloppy after Shaw had made a 50-yard burst on the overlap.
SHOT! Pogba finds space in between the Leicester midfield and defence, something which this three-man midfield should allow him to do more, and he takes on the shot early but it is tame and straight at Schmeichel.
CHANCE! Shaw and Mata exchange a one-two in the left channel and the Englishman's power gets him away from Pereira and into the box, but his right-footed shot is gathered by Schmeichel. The wait for his first senior goal goes on...
Leicester should be really encouraged by the way that they have come back into this game. They have created the better chances since going behind and if they play the same way in the second half then they will fancy nicking a point.
United's defending from set pieces so far has been excellent as another dead-ball opportunity goes begging for Leicester. Maguire hasn't had a sniff yet, even though the delivery from Maddison has been decent.
HALF TIME: MAN UTD 1-0 LEICESTER
United go into the break with a 1-0 advantage but in truth both managers will be happy. The Red Devils did not lose any of the 21 matches in which they scored first last season but Leicester's response suggests that there is plenty to play for in the second half.
Pogba has brought the swagger that he plays with France back to Old Trafford with him, stepping up to score the third-minute penalty after a convoluted run-up. It was a big call by Andre Marriner so soon into the season but the referee was brave and got it spot on.
The Foxes have got plenty of joy down the left flank through the tandem of Chilwell and Gray which has overwhelmed Matteo Darmian. However's Leicester's best chance came from the right when Pereira teed up Maddison, who was denied an equaliser by De Gea.
Fred has enjoyed a decent first 45 minutes as a United player. He is a good foil to Pogba in that he is not afraid to do the hard work, but he is also a slick passer of the ball and the midfield trio, also consisting of Andreas Pereira, are moving the ball quickly compared to some of United's laboured build up last season.
Pogba and Sanchez debating over who should take the penalty. United's captain for the night pulled rank!
STAT: That Paul Pogba penalty was the 500th Premier League goal under Jose Mourinho's management. I fancy they might need to make that 501 if they are to take all three points tonight.
KICKOFF: The action resumes at Old Trafford with both sides unchanged. How long can the likes of Pogba and Rashford last?
Gray has been lively going forward and has also made a couple of really important covering runs defensively. Here he stays with Rashford all the way and restricts United to a corner.
Amartey feeds a nice pass into Gray's feet on the edge of the box but neither he nor Maddison can get a shot away as Bailly and Lindelof stand tall.
YELLOW CARD! A blatant tug back on Sanchez earns Amartey a yellow card. He was not booked for the penalty but Puel may want to think about a change as Pereira can slip in easily at right-back.
CHANCE! Sanchez slips in Rashford who has a great chance to fire a shot across Schmeichel but he can't sort his feet out and Maguire recovers to thwart the danger. At full fitness that is the sort of opportunity you would expect Rashford to bury.
YELLOW CARD! A booking apiece for Fred and Maddison who have been tussling all afternoon. The Leicester No.10 tripped Fred off the ball and the Brazilian was cautioned for his feisty response.
SHOT! Darmian is not known for his attacking threat, especially not compared to Valencia, but on his first notable venture forward the Italian takes on a low shot which Schmeichel turns around his post.
So far Sanchez has not been able to bring his pre-season form into this match. His performance has been more like the Sanchez of last season which will be one disappointment for Mourinho.
Ndidi makes a good interception and quickly releases Iheanacho over the top. He gets away from Lindelof but Bailly sweeps things up, albeit by barging the Leicester striker to ground perhaps unfairly. I don't think United could have complained had Marriner evened up the penalty count there.
SUBSTITUTIONS: And here comes Vardy as half of a double change, with new winger and Mahrez replacement Rachid Ghezzal also coming on. Amartey goes off, as does Maddison who can be more than happy with his top-flight debut.
CLOSE! Pogba plays a defence-splitting pass inside the full-back and Sanchez unselfishly checks back to tee up Mata, who runs onto the layoff but side-foots a shot wide, via a deflection and is therefore furious not to get a corner.
SUBSTITUTION: Rashford's race is run and on comes Lukaku, whom Mourinho will hope can find United a second to make this opening-weekend points secure becuase Leicester are still pushing.
Mourinho's team talk must have been so easy - "do it for Roy Cropper lads". With 20 minutes to go United's fans are on course to be celebrating in the Rovers Return tonight.
Sanchez does well to bring down a pass from Fred but he leaves his ball to Lukaku short. The Belgian striker would have been in had Sanchez been able to avoid Maguire with his pass.
SAVE! Typical Vardy, who chases a lost cause and robs Shaw of the ball by the byline. He drills in a cross which Gray meets with a cushioned volley, after running in front of Bailly, but De Gea reacts well to keep it out.
SUBSTITUTION: Fred gets a warm round of applause as he leaves the field following a competent debut. Scott McTominay is on ad it looks at this stage as though Pogba may go the full 90.
CLOSE! Tantalisingly close for Lukaku! This time Sanchez does manae to find the Belgian, who only has Schmeichel to beat from 12 yards but the Dane makes himself big and gets enough on the shot to deflect it narrowly over the crossbar.
SUBSTITUTION: Puel makes his final change and it is a straight swap in midfield as Iborra replaces Silva.
United have an aerial target to aim for in the box now and crosses are going in to Lukaku but so far Morgan has been equal to them.
GOAL! MAN UTD 2-0 LEICESTER (LUKE SHAW)
A first ever professional goal for Luke Shaw
has surely ensured that United will begin the new season with a win. The full-back sneaks in behind Ghezzal and Mata found the run of the left-back, who had some fortune in getting by Pereira before hooking the ball across Schmeichel and into the corner.
He has had some difficult moments at Old Trafford so this will mean a lot to the youngster.
SUBSTITUTION: Pogba will be spared the last five minutes as Fellaini comes on to help United manage the final stages.
De Gea scuffs a clearance straight to Ghezzal but gets away with it because the Algerian can't bring the ball under control.
Sanchez turns on the halfway line and knocks a beautiful ball over the top for Mata, whose cross is too deep for Lukaku at the back post.
CHANCE! Vardy should have set up a tense finish but he blazes over his volley when unmarked 10 yards from goal. Darmian had lost the striker.
GOAL! MAN UTD 2-0 LEICESTER (JAMIE VARDY)
Vardy has now scored. He couldn't quite get on the end of a cross from Pereira, which beat everybody and came back off the post, with Vardy gobbling up the rebound from close range.
We are into the final minute of stoppage time. Maguire has been thrown up front for Leicester - the England defender scored a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw with the Red Devils last term.
What a story that would have been! Schmeichel comes up for a corner and gets his head to Chilwell's delivery but steers it wide. That was a flashback to 20 years ago but Kasper didn't quite have the clinical touch his pops did.
FULL TIME: MAN UTD 2-1 LEICESTER
Mourinho's heart will have been beating for those final few minutes but his side survive a late scare
to kick off their Premier League campaign with a win. Luke Shaw
's first professional goal was decisive in the end with Leicester proving game opponents right until the death.
That's it from our coverage at Old Trafford. Thanks for joining us this evening and be sure to rejoin us tomorrow when will have extensive coverage of the first Premier League Saturday of the season. Until then, goodbye!