Despite Leicester City’s stubborn defence, current reigning Europa League Champions Manchester United dug deep and played incisively to defeat the Foxes 2-0 at Old Trafford thanks to late goals from strong midfielder Marouane Fellaini and wonderkid Marcus Rashford.
Craig Shakespeare’s handling of Leicester since he came on to replace beloved boss Claudio Ranieri has been nothing short of pragmatic – the side were strong defensively and are able to keep hold of the ball. However, they came up short against in-form Manchester United. Having strengthened key areas of their squad, Jose Mourinho’s charges swept aside Leicester’s efforts.
Manchester United sought to give themselves the front foot early on, with their first attempt on goal notched as early as the third minute. United frontman Romelu Lukaku pounced on a high ball, but Foxes keeper Kasper Schmeichel was there to make the save.
The Reds were able to catch a breakthrough on the 18th minute. Lukaku was once again with a shot on goal, once again parried by Schmeichel. Intelligent playmaker Juan Mata was there to react for the rebound and slotted what would’ve been United’s first goal of the game – that goal was eventually disallowed for offside.
Leicester had a few attempts at goal themselves, coming very close after a long ball from former United academy winger Matty James finds the industrious Shinji Okazaki, who lets loose the ball towards the net. David De Gea, however, was there to make the save.
Shakespeare’s two banks of four are creating a sturdy defence for the Foxes, and United simply couldn’t find a breakthrough. Memories of last season surely came to the minds of United fans, when their beloved club can’t seem to score against defensive teams and end up losing 1-0.
Come the second half, United were given a golden opportunity to take the lead after they were awarded a penalty for hand ball. Unfortunately, new signing Romelu Lukaku stepped forward and missed from the spot, to the collective disappointing groan of the Old Trafford faithful.
It wasn’t until young Rashford was brought in and played the role of super sub that United were able to slice through the Leicester barricade. A corner kick at the 70th minute well delivered by Henrikh Mkhitaryan finds Rashford inside the box for the opening goal.
Eleven minutes later, it was Marouane Fellaini’s turn to grab the spotlight, scoring a brilliant goal from close-range, sealing the victory for Manchester United.
Two late goals and the United fans go home happy. Somehow brings back memories, good ones this time, from the United of old. Back during the days of Sir Alex Ferguson, when his Manchester United side, despite the opposition’s stalwart defending, still found a goal late on in the game. It was in these kinds of games that Ferguson managed to win 13 Premier League titles.
Will it be 14 come the end of the season? Early signs are suggesting it may well happen.