Premier League | 24 September 2016 | Old Trafford | Attendance: 75,256 | Scorers: Smalling 22, Mata 37, Rashford 40, Pogba 42 | Gray 59
This is a special report and analysis of the devastation that befell Leicester City in the Theater of Dreams! Manchester United returned to winning ways in spectacular fashion in the Premier League and in emphatic style after four first-half goals led to the Red Devils beating EPL champions Leicester City 4-1 at Old Trafford.
Defender and Englishman Chris Smalling headed United into a 22nd-minute lead following a Daley Blind corner, before smallish but spectacular Spaniard Juan Mata doubled the Red Devils’ tally on 37 minutes – and counting!!!. Two further Blind corners were met by Mata, who found English teenage sensation Marcus Rashford for the third goal strike, and then Frenchman Paul Pogba made it 4-0 three minutes before the break with his first and very first goal for Manchester United. This may be a most-needed opening Pogba needs to scram from lethargy which marked his return to Old Trafford.
Photo: Teenage sensation, Marcus Rashford (3rd from right) & his teammates celebrate his goal.
Leicester City’s Demarai Gray pulled one back for the visitors with an unexpected and stunning strike 14 minutes into the second half – that took United stopper David De Gea completely by surprise.
United came into this fixture against the EPL champions knowing fully well that only a win including 3 points would do following two successive Premier League defeats that left me in ruins.
According to MANUTD, the opener for United came on 22 minutes through an unlikely source. A Blind out-swinging corner was met by the towering Smalling who climbed above three Leicester defenders to bullet a header past Zieler, who did get a hand to the ball, but could not prevent the Reds taking the lead.
Minutes later and it could have been two as United began to turn the screw. First Ibrahimovic fired over before Rashford did likewise. Pogba then clipped a majestic ball over a Leicester defender for Ibrahimovic, but the Swede again fired over. Were United going to rue these missed chances? The Old Trafford faithful hoped not as they rose to their feet in appreciation of the summer signings’ clever combination.
On the half-hour mark, Pogba was involved again. This time he struck a stunning 40-yard curling effort towards goal which was tipped wide by Zieler, but the pressure finally told on 37 minutes as great interplay between Mata, Pogba and Lingard allowed the Spaniard to celebrate his 150th Premier League start in style as he fired past Zieler into the far corner.
United weren’t done there. A quick corner from Blind three minutes later found Mata again who squared for Rashford to slide the ball in for the Reds third goal and second in quick succession.
If two Blind corners wasn’t enough, how about three? This time Pogba rose highest to head past Zieler for his first senior Reds goal. He celebrated in typically cool style, standing proud as the fans watched on in awe. As reported by MANUTD, the game was as good as over by half-time.
Possession: United 66% Leicester 34%
Shots at goal: United 10 Leicester 5
Shots on target: United 5 Leicester 0
Corners: United 5 Leicester 3
United had a lot to live up to in the second period but it was the visitors who struck next.
Claudio Ranieri introduced Andy King and Gray at half time and the latter spectacularly beat De Gea from 35 yards with a stunning strike into the top corner. A contender for Leicester’s goal of the season thus far.
Lingard fired over on 65 minutes before Ibrahimovic’s low shot was tipped wide by Zieler as United looked to add a fifth.
King should have pulled a second back for Leicester, but after great work by Jeff Schlupp, could only fire straight at De Gea.
Grey was then close to replicating his goal with a similar effort, but this time De Gea did well to tip it wide for a corner.
Photos L-R: Midfielder Paul Pogba, Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic & the boss, Jose Mourinho.
It was a relatively quiet second half in truth, but the damage was done in the first half as United silenced the recently vocal critics in impressive fashion.
Possession: United 67% Leicester 33%
Shots at goal: United 16 Leicester 10
Shots on target: United 7 Leicester 3
Corners: United 8 Leicester 6
United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Bailly, Blind; Pogba, Herrera; Rashford (Rooney 83′), Mata (Young 87′), Lingard (Carrick 78′); Ibrahimovic.
Subs not used: Romero, Fosu-Mensah, Rojo, Fellaini
Leicester City: Zieler; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs; Mahrez (Gray 45′), Amartey, Drinkwater, Albrighton (Schlupp 62′); Vardy (King 45′), Slimani.
Subs not used:Hernández, Musa, Hamer, Okazaki, Ulloa.
Booked: Huth, Simpson
Passes 710710335 335 Long passes 696978 78 Passing accuracy 86.9%86.9%68.7% 68.7% Passing accuracy in opponents’ half (%) 78.4%78.4%52.5% 52.5% Crosses 181816 16 Crossing accuracy 16.7%16.7%6.3% 6.3%
English Premier League
This table charted the Premier League teams | Saturday Sept. 24, 2016.
|1 Previous Position 1||Manchester City||5||5||0||0||15||4||+11||15|
|2 Previous Position 2||Everton||5||4||1||0||10||3||+7||13|
|3 Previous Position 5||Manchester United||6||4||0||2||12||7||+5||12|
|4 Previous Position 6||Tottenham Hotspur||5||3||2||0||8||2||+6||11|
|5 Previous Position 7||Arsenal||5||3||1||1||12||7||+5||10|
|6 Previous Position 3||Chelsea||5||3||1||1||10||6||+4||10|
|7 Previous Position 4||Liverpool||5||3||1||1||11||8||+3||10|
|8 Previous Position 11||Crystal Palace||5||2||1||2||7||5||+2||7|
|9 Previous Position 10||Watford||5||2||1||2||10||9||+1||7|
|10 Previous Position 12||West Bromwich Albion||5||2||1||2||6||5||+1||7|
|11 Previous Position 8||Hull City||5||2||1||2||6||7||-1||7|
|12 Previous Position 16||Leicester City||6||2||1||3||8||11||-3||7|
|13 Previous Position 9||Middlesbrough||5||1||2||2||5||7||-2||5|
|14 Previous Position 18||Southampton||5||1||2||2||4||6||-2||5|
|15 Previous Position 13||Swansea City||5||1||1||3||4||7||-3||4|
|16 Previous Position 15||Burnley||5||1||1||3||3||8||-5||4|
|17 Previous Position 14||Bournemouth||5||1||1||3||3||9||-6||4|
|18 Previous Position 17||West Ham United||5||1||0||4||7||13||-6||3|
|19 Previous Position 19||Sunderland||5||0||1||4||3||9||-6||1|
|20 Previous Position 20||Stoke City||5||0||1||4||3||14||-11||1|
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