Manchester United 4:1 Leicester City
A first half defensive horror show for City saw them trail 4-0 at half time at Old Trafford on Saturday…
Claudio Ranieri retained the same side that beat Burnley in the previous league game, though the team news was dominated by the fact that Jose Mourinho had dropped Wayne Rooney.
United enjoyed a good opening spell, probing at City’s defence without finding an opening, but then City had a good few minutes of their own.
A well worked corner saw Drinkwater teed up on the edge of the area. His shot, and then Amartey’s follow up were both blocked, before Huth fired well high and wide from a narrow angle.
But City went a goal down in the 22nd minute. A Blind corner from the left was nodded in by Smalling who was barely marked at the far post.
If that goal had been against the run of play, the rest of the half was all United.
Ibrahimovic sent Rashford in on the right but the youngster miscued his shot.
Ibrahimovic then cut through the defence, took a ball from Pogba on his chest, but then fired over with the goal at his mercy.
City were now looking fragile at the back and Zieler had to move smartly to tip a 30 yarder from Pogba round the post.
A second looked almost inevitable for United, and it came in the 37th minute when Lingard set up Mata in the area and he steered home a precise half-volley.
Three minutes later City’s afternoon got worse when they were caught napping by a quickly taken Blind corner. Mata, completely unmarked at the near post, squared for Rashford to net from close in.
Two minutes after that it was 4-0 was City conceded their third goal from a left-sided corner, this time Pogba easily rose above Fuchs and directed a neat header beyond Zieler for his first United goal.
A shell-shocked City were pleased to hear the half-time whistle.
Fortunately the rout did not continue after the break, with Ranieri making changes that both rested his star players for Tuesday night, and tightened things up for damage limitation – King and Gray replacing Vardy and Mahrez.
There were few incidents in a subdued second half, though City fans had something to cheer on the hour. Gray looked to be well marked on the left, but cut inside Lingard and launched a superb long range shot across De Gea and into the far corner.
With Schlupp on for Albrighton, City pressed forward in search of a second goal.
It should have arrived in the 68th minute, when a Schlupp cutback found King in space, but he sent a tame shot straight at De Gea.
Gray then tried a repeat of his goal but this time De Gea clawed it away.
The match petered out with the result a forgone conclusion before half-time.
City showed some character to ‘win’ the second half, but the inability to defend corners needs to be addressed very quickly.
Claudio Ranieri commented: “It’s not possible to concede three goals from a corner, that means you are not concentrating, and that’s it, the match was gone in the first half. We are very solid on corners and free-kicks, it is very difficult to score against us, but today it was very, very strange for us.”
United: De Gea, Bailly, Pogba, Mata (Young 87), Ibrahimovic, Smalling, Lingard (Carrick 78), Blind, Rashford (Rooney 83), Herrera, Valencia. Subs Not Used: Rojo, Romero, Fosu-Mensah, Fellaini.
Leicester: Zieler, Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs, Drinkwater, Amartey, Mahrez (King 46), Albrighton (Schlupp 62), Vardy (Gray 46), Slimani. Subs Not Used: Hamer, Hernández, Ulloa, Okazaki.
Referee: M Dean. Attendance: 75,256.
PHOTOS: Simon Kimber
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