By Harry Ogilvie
- Lukaku misses chance to open scoring from penalty spot
- Rashford, Fellaini and Lingard all make impact from the bench
On the back of another 4-0 win against Swansea City after a late flourish of goals. Manchester United faced a tough Leicester City side.
Leicester came close to getting a result against Arsenal on the opening day of the season but just missed out. Losing 4-3, before beating Brighton 2-0 last weekend.
Jose Mourinho opted largely for the same side that earned him two big wins in the first two games of the season.
The one change he made was Rashford out for Anthony Martial. The Frenchman had been very dangerous and effective when coming off the bench, scoring against both Swansea and West Ham.
However, Marcus Rashford may feel hard done by as in a rather lacklustre first half against Swansea. He looked to be the only threat despite not having the cutting edge to finish his one-on-one chance against Fabianski.
But many reds still believe Martial was getting the start he deserved as he looked terrific in the minutes he played.
The rest of the side remained the same. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku all retaining their places after strong starts to the season.
The back four also remained the same. Made up of Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Daley Blind with Matic and Pogba in the holding midfield role.
United Control Possession
United appeared comfortable and confident in possession in the opening 20 minutes. With Pogba going close with a couple of shots and Mata having a goal disallowed after a Schmeichel save from a powerful effort from Lukaku.
Although United were getting plenty chances, the sides went in 0-0 at half-time.
As the game restarted. United continued to dominate possession.
Leading to Martial firing a cross off the hand of Danny Simpson to win a penalty. Lukaku’s penalty was saved well by Kasper Schmeichel, son of United legend, Peter Schmeichel.
The Reds eventually broke the deadlock, thanks to Marcus Rashford who came on for Juan Mata. The goal came in the 70th minute, from a Mkhitaryan corner as the Leicester defence left Rashford unmarked to volley home.
The second goal came 12 minutes later from another substitute, Marouane Fellaini who came on for Mkhitaryan in the 74th minute.
The goal came from a Jesse Lingard cross, which allowed Fellaini to stick his thigh out and send it goal-wards to put United 2-0 up.
Jose Mourinho’s men saw the game out comfortably and continued to create chances after the second goal.
Many fans of the club will no doubt have been worried after the Lukaku penalty miss and painful memories of last season’s game against Bournemouth.
But the Portuguese manager’s substitutions made the desired impact with both Rashford and Fellaini scoring and Lingard supplying the assist. Hence why the boss deserves plenty of credit for today’s result.
Bailly And Jones Impressive Once Again
First mentionable performance came from the centre backs again. Who continued their fine start to the season, earning themselves their third clean sheet in three games.
Eric Bailly was as brilliant as ever. Using his athleticism and strength to deal with Jamie Vardy upfront as well as using his more technical abilities to build attacks from the back by constantly playing intricate passes forward.
Phil Jones partnered the Ivorian and was equally as good. The pair dominated Leicester and countered any of their attacking threats perfectly.
The Englishman made a few marauding runs forward. In addition to all his great defensive work including several interceptions, tackles and headers.
Pogba, Mata And Martial Put In Strong Performances
Paul Pogba also deserves a mention after another strong performance in the middle of midfield with Matic.
The French midfielder was especially good in the first half, Making superb runs that allowed him to be available on the edge of the box to fire shots at the Leicester goal.
Despite no attempts going in, the intelligence to find the space deserves credit.
Juan Mata was also impressive constantly looking dangerous and creative. The playmaker always appeared to be trying to create something and make the forward pass, rather than playing the simple sidewards pass.
Martial is another player who deserves a mention after a great first half which saw him create four chances. More than anyone else.
The winger also kept possession effectively and his decision making ensured he rarely lost the ball. This is an area Mourinho has clearly worked on with the 21 year old.
Substitutes Changed The Outcome
The three substitutions also deserve credit for obvious reasons, predominantly for earning their team the result. Rashford added some much needed pace to the side and eventually bagged a goal after a decent instinctive finish.
Fellaini came on and constantly made forward runs to put the Leicester backline under pressure.
Fellaini’s determination to go forward also paid off after Lingard’s cross found him and allowed him to score.
Lingard added width, movement and energy to the side which is something that was also lacking beforehand.
The Manager’s View
Jose commented on the performance, saying his side “played very well”.
He continued saying “The result was open at 0-0 , the blue wall was very well organised, I give credit for that”, even after the penalty miss he says he “saw a confident team”.
The Portuguese said the “one word I can think to describe my team is solid.”
He continued to praise his substitutes saying “my players are on the bench waiting for the chance and they broke the wall, a very good wall.”
The boss also commented on his side’s progress since end of last season saying “the difference between last year is the quality of our football. We have the ball totally in our control.” He said he now likes his team “very very much”.
Manchester United should be very pleased with their excellent start to the season. Mourinho clearly has this team fit and firing.
The Reds have won three games out of three, Earning three clean sheets and scoring ten goals in the process. As well as brilliant performances from certain individuals in the side every game.
United fans will be hoping their side can push on after the international break. And increase the gap between them and their rivals.
If all United players come back fit from the break then there is no reason they cannot push on. And really fight for the title with Mourinho at the helm.