Manchester United extended their winless run in the Premier League to three matches as they lost comprehensively 4-2 to a rejuvenated Leicester City. The Red Devils opened the scoring in the first half before being pegged back to 2-1. Marcus Rashford equalised but late goals from Jamie Vardy and Patson Daka handed the three points to Brendan Rodgers’ men.
FULL-TIME Leicester 4-2 Man Utd
— Premier League (@premierleague) October 16, 2021
The first half saw Leicester dominate proceedings right from kick-off as the Foxes came out looking sharp. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, as usual, looked extremely susceptible in transition and more so with the rather immobile double pivot of Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba.
Rodgers’ men had a few warning shots in the first quarter of an hour with Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho looking bright together but it was the Red Devils that took the lead thanks to a stunner from an in-form Mason Greenwood. The recently turned 20-year old cut in from the right hand side and unleashed a shot into the far top corner from over 25 yards out leaving Kasper Schmeichel helpless.
Leicester though, were not deterred by going a goal down. Manchester United’s defence looked like making a mistake every time put under pressure and that is exactly what happened just after the half hour mark. Harry Maguire failed to react to a short pass from David de Gea and was dispossessed by Iheanacho who cut it back for Youri Tielemans. The Belgian midfielder curled in a delightful strike from the edge of the box to draw things level which is the least Leicester deserved.
— Leicester City (@LCFC) October 16, 2021
The home side continued to push and there were good chances for Iheanacho and Vardy before the break. United though held on to ensure things were level at the interval. The second half started the same with Iheanacho getting a shot away that was saved easily by de Gea but United soon got a foothold in the game.
Greenwood had two sighters in quick time and Nemanja Matic struck a half-volley sweetly just over the crossbar. The game lulled for a while before sparking into life. De Gea made two outstanding saves from Tielemans and substitute Patson Daka before Caglar Soyuncu smashed in a loose ball from a corner.
— Leicester City (@LCFC) October 16, 2021
Manchester United replied instantly with the returning Marcus Rashford levelling things up after a delightful pass from Victor Lindelof. Leicester returned the favour, scoring straight from kick-off through Jamie Vardy who turned in Ayoze Perez’s cross. Daka put the cherry on the cake in injury time thanks to more shambolic defending from the away side from a free kick.
Here are our key takeaways from the match –
Manchester United’s start to the season has been under much scrutiny with the team looking like bereft of structure and stability. The defence has been easily breached and the midfield has been non-existent at times, irrespective of personnel. Some of the cracks have been papered over by moments of individual brilliance but Solskjaer is very much feeling the heat.
United conceded 16 shots on goal, 8 shots on target and three big chances against Leicester City — all in the second half alone.
— UtdArena (@UtdArena) October 16, 2021
Tielemans and Soumare waltzed through Matic and Pogba with ease every time they came forward and the defence was given no support by any of the forward line. United might just be one of the easiest teams to play in the league because they offer so little resistance until reaching David de Gea.
THE FUTURE IS NOW
Cristiano Ronaldo has enjoyed a monopoly of content when talking about Manchester United over the last month but apart his overall play has been expectedly static and rather underwhelming. He still has the goals in him but it is clear that Manchester United will win despite him and not because of him.
And the man who is leading the charge in earnest is Greenwood. The youngster scored his fourth goal of the season on Saturday despite receiving very limited service from his midfield. His outstanding finishing abilities have been on show throughout the early weeks of the season and Solskjaer will be hoping he continues with his form.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 16, 2021
Greenwood has largely been playing off the right so far but the question must arise in his mind what he needs to do to get the central attacking role. He is far more dynamic than Ronaldo or Cavani, and his finishing ability is as good as any. What he lacks is instinct in the box but it is difficult to build any when confined to the wings.
LEICESTER TURNING THE CORNER
The win was just Leicester’s second in eight matches with the other coming against Championship side Millwall in the FA Cup. However, some of the losses have been unlucky for the Foxes and this may just be the result they needed to galvanise their season.
Manchester United have lost an away game in the Premier League for the first time since January 2020.
Dismantled at the King Power. 🦊 pic.twitter.com/xiazZ28Cdu
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) October 16, 2021
Rodgers will be grateful for the win as it comes ahead of a difficult league fixture list with an in-form Brentford up next followed by Arsenal, Leeds and Chelsea. Leicester need points from these fixtures if they are to secure Champions League football this season and repair the heartbreak of the last two seasons.