|Image from BBC Sport|
Manchester United 1-0 Leicester City
Manchester United vs Leicester played in a capacity-filled Old Trafford Theatre of Dreams. A lot of debate about squad selection prior to kick off as three key players were ruled out of the squad on Saturday the 14th of September 2019. The manager Ole Solskjaer hinted he may need to look to the Manchester United youth and test the depth of the squad to fill the gaps by not having left back Luke Shaw, midfielder Paul Pogba and striker Anthony Martial available for selection all ruled out due to injury. The squad selected by Solskjaer did include a youthful reserve bench filled with potential but the team chosen to start the game included the more experienced Mata and Matic who have been not regular starters in the campaign thus far. Andreas Pereira was also given another opportunity to start and played in a congested Manchester United midfield.
The opening 5 minutes set the scene of how the game would be played. The midfield was the key battleground both the teams had early opportunities with Pereira free kick in the opening minute whipped towards the top corner was brilliantly saved by Schmeichel. Daniel James came close to equalling his manager Solksjaer’s record from 1996. This was to score in his first three Premier League games at Old Trafford but his shot did not hit the target let alone test Schmeichel. Leicester have a terrible record against United having lost 18 times this is more than any other opponent. Leicester could have taken the lead early on with an opportunity which fell to Maddison whose shot was saved by De Gea.
The match had ebbs and flows and when penalty awarded in the 8th minute on a rash tackle by Soyuncu. Rashford was the man for the occasion and slotted home the penalty sending Schmeichel the wrong way. Manchester United had to dig deep and defend their lead and clean sheet and Harry Maguire was key in ensuring the result would remain a positive one for Manchester United. The Red Devils registered only their second Premier League won in their last 10 matches, the team fought hard for the win and are hoping the momentum will carry onto next opponent on Thursday night game versus Astana in their opening Europa League tie.
The talking points of the match were Man of the match winner Marcus Rashford slotting home the penalty and scoring his third goal of the campaign. This is the fourth time he has scored against Leicester in nine games. De Gea kept his second clean sheet of the campaign with a sublime save from Ben Chilwell’s pile-driver over the crossbar. The defence was marshalled by Maguire. Another mention would be the three players who made their first appearance of the season Fred, Tahith Chong and Axel Tuanzebe all three played their part when brought on by the manager.
Hard fought win over a strong Leicester team is a good momentum builder for the rest of the campaign. Need to improve overall but a great result in the end.