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Early gift costs Leicester at Old Trafford

Manchester United 2:1 Leicester City

1819 man united away

An early penalty presented United with a 3rd minute lead as City lost 2-1 at Old Trafford on Friday night in the Premier League’s opening game..

Claude Puel started with Maguire, but his England team-mate only had a place on the bench, with Iheanacho up front. Possibly the biggest surprise was Amartey at right back with Ricardo right midfield.
And it was Amartey who gifted United the lead soon after kick off. A Sanchez shot was blocked by Morgan, and as the deflection went past Amartey he needlessly stuck out an arm. Pogba did a comedy run-up to the penalty spot before lashing the ball into the top right hand corner, giving Schmeichel no chance even though he guessed right.
However, after this rocky start to the season City settled into a passing rhythm that saw them dominating possession for much of the first half.
Maddison delivered a good free-kick into the area, which Pogba cleared, Ndidi fired a low long-range effort straight at de Gea and then Iheanacho sent an angled shot narrowly wide, but was marginally offside.
In the 28th minute Maddison was denied a debut goal when de Gea brilliantly saved his angled half-volley from 12 yards. Soon after Ricardo’s 30-yarder struck Pogba and looped up over the bar. Gray then sent Iheanacho in on goal, but he couldn’t quite shake off the attentions of Lindelof who snubbed the chance out.
Only late in the half did Schmeichel have anything to do, making comfortable saves from Pogba and Shaw.
After that early set-back City had controlled the game, without finding that cutting edge needed to get past de Gea.

The second half was more even, though there were few chances at either end.    Schmeichel fielded a Darmian shot at the second attempt and de Gea had to palm away a Chilwell cross. But a change was needed, and Puel made a double substitution in the 63rd minute, bringing Vardy and Ghezzal on for Amartey and Maddision.
Mata had a shot deflected wide by Morgan’s arm and was furious to see a goal kick awarded.
City had a great chance in the 76th minute when Vardy’s persistence saw him rob Shaw of the ball on the byline, before delivering a low cross to the near-post. Although Gray got a foot to it, de Gea made another fine save to deny City again.
Two minutes later substitute Lukaku had the goal at his mercy 10 yards out, but Schmeichel advanced swiftly and blocked the shot with his legs.
With ten minutes remaining Puel brought Silva on for Iborra as City chased the game, but it was soon out of their reach.
In the 83rd minute Shaw ran into a yawning space on the left side of the penalty area. His first touch was poor but lucky and it took him round Ricardo, before he jabbed the ball across Schmeichel and into the net.
City pressed forward in the closing stages, but Vardy misconnected with a volley sending it way over the bar.
He did start the season with a goal, however, as the game went into time-added-on.
A Ricardo cross from the right evaded everyone in the area and struck the left hand post, where Vardy was rewarded for following it up and nodded home from a yard out.
A late corner, which Schmeichel came up for, caused some late tension, but it was headed wide and City had kicked off 2018-19 with a defeat.

It had been an encouraging display by City, but for two weak moments in defence not enough presence up front, and Claude Puel was happy enough:  “The first half with all the chances we could have, we have to perform and to score and to come back into the game. We didn’t find the good clinical edge in this moment but it was a very good first half, good intensity in the play, good pressing, good quality and I was happy about the performance.”

United: De Gea, Darmian, Bailly, Lindelöf, Shaw, Fred (McTominay 76), Pereira, Pogba (Fellaini 84), Mata, Rashford, (Lukaku 67), Sánchez.
Substitutes: Martial, Smalling, Grant, Young.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Amartey (Ghezzal 63), Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell, Adrien Silva (Iborra 80), Ndidi, Ricardo Pereira, Maddison (Vardy 63), Gray, Iheanacho.
Substitutes: Evans, Albrighton, WardFuchs.

Referee: Andre Marriner. Attendance: 74,439.

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Leicester sunk by subs at Old Trafford

Manchester United 2:0 Leicester City

1718 man utd away

Late lapses from City denied them a point from a decent display, with United subs Rashford and Fellaini sealing a 2-0 win for the early pacesetters.

Craig Shakespeare stuck with the starting XI that beat Brighton, and they got off to a good start, although Morgan had to block a Mkhitaryan shot in the first minute.
At the other end, a curling 25 yarder from James went narrowly wide.
A long ball forward then evaded Vardy by inches as de Gea came out to collect.
Morgan blocked another Mkhitaryan shot, the ball looping up into Schmeichel’s grasp as Mata closed in.
United had the ball in City’s net in the 18th minute, when Schmeichel saved a Lukaku shot but Mata netted the rebound. The offside flag looked harsh.
United had a head of steam up now and Pogba met a Martial cross at the far post but sent his shot back across goal and wide of the left hand post.
A minute later Schmeichel stretched to save a Mata effort that was heading for the top left hand corner.
A rare atack for City saw Vardy collect a long ball and tee up Okazaki for a low 20 yard shot that de Gea saved comfortably.
With United pressing forward again, Pogba unleashed a 25 yarder that narrowly beat the the left hand post.
Pogba followed this up with a couple more long range efforts that went well wide, and then continued his shooting frenzy as half time approached, forcing a good save from Schmeichel and sending another one narrowly wide.
It was all United up to the break, but Lukaku sent a header wide and City held out.

City were still on the back foot early in the second half, and United were awarded a penalty when Simpson handled a Martial cross that hit him on the arm from close range. It looked harsh, but Lukaku sent his spot kick too close to Schmeichel, who pulled off a fine save.
City then had an attacking spell of their own, with Mahrez looking dangerous. He skinned Jones inside the area, but de Gea managed to block his near post shot.
Craig Shakepeare made a double change on the hour, bringing on Gray for Albrighton, and King for Okazaki and Gray was soon haring forward, though his pass to Mahrez was too late and his shot was blocked by Jones.
Mahrez then tricked his way past Blind before firing a shot across goal, but no blue shirt was on hand to divert it goalwards.
In the 67th minute Mourinho brought Rashford on for Mata and the game swung in United’s favour again.
Rashford had a shot blocked by Maguire, who had been superb in City’s defence again, but the sub didn’t have long to wait for a goal.
A Mkhitaryan corner from the right found Rashford, completely unmarked ten yards out, and his sidefooted effort struck the turf and deceived Schmeichel, spinning through his attempted parry.
Slimani replaced Vardy as Shakespeare sought a way back into the game, but it was a United sub, Fellaini who would seal the game for United.
In the 82nd minute, United’s 100% start was confirmed when Lingard fired a shot goalwards and Fellaini stuck out a knee to divert it into the net. He looked fractionally offside, but the goal stood, and there was no way back for City.
In time added on Gray delivered a low cross from the right, but King’s near post effort was blocked by de Gea.
Lukaku’s last chance at becoming the first United player to score in his first three games was frustrated by a Morgan block.
It was a decent showing from City, but United were already looking like title contenders.
Craig Shakespeare summed up: “We knew we would have to frustrate them coming here and for large parts of the game, I thought we did that and did it really well. Of course we needed to do a bit better with the ball at times but I felt for large chucks of the game to 70 or 75 minutes, we did. We frustrated and restricted them. We knew they’d have moments. Then they managed to capitalise on the big moments.”

United: de Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Blind, Pogba, Matic, Mata (Rashford 67), Mkhitaryan (Fellaini 74), Martial (Lingard 76) Lukaku. Subs Not Used: Smalling, Romero, Herrera, Darmian.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez, James, Ndidi, Albrighton (Gray 60), Okazaki (King 60), Vardy (Slimani 76). Subs Not Used: Chilwell, Iheanacho, Hamer, Amartey.

Referee: M Oliver. Attendance: 75,021.


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Leicester dismantled at Old Trafford

Manchester United 4:1 Leicester City

1617-man-utd-away-a

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.

1617-man-utd-away-c

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.

1617-man-utd-away-b

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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Leicester edge towards title with Old Trafford point

Manchester United 1:1 Leicester City

2015-16 man utd away c

City overcame a stuttering start to earn a hard-fought point against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday…

Claudio Ranieri stuck with the starting XI that beat Swansea so convincingly, but they got off to a nervy start in their quest for a victory that would seal the league title.
City couldn’t get any possession and it was one-way traffic towards Schmeichel’s goal. Rashford had a shot blocked by Huth, before the Red Devils took an 8th minute lead.
Valencia delivered a precise ball from the right that found Martial in space at the far post and his crisply struck low finish went under Schmeichel.
Five minutes later Schmeichel prevented this early setback from becoming a disaster: Fellaini teed up Lingard for a well-struck, low shot which the City keeper did well to get a hand to.
City rallied after this, and delighted their 3,000 strong (plus hundreds in the home areas) following with a 17th minute equaliser.
Drinkwater delivered a free-kick from the right, and Morgan evaded the scrum on the six yard line to nod home past De Gea.

2015-16 man utd away a

It was a more even encounter now, with play flying from end to end.
Rooney dragged a shot wide, Schlupp had an effort blocked by Valencia, and then Lingard and Simpson had a race to goal, but pulled each other over before Schmeichel slid in to hoof the ball clear.
City ended the half on top, with De Gea beating away Schlupp’s cross, loud penalty appeals when Rojo crashed into Mahrez, Drinkwater and Morgan both going close and 1-1 at the break was a fair reflection of the game.

2015-16 man utd away b

One goal could win City their first ever title, and they pressed forward.
Morgan sent a header straight at De Gea, and the energetic Okazaki sent one shot wide and saw another cleared off the line by Martial.
Lingard failed to test Schmeichel with a curling effort, while Ulloa sent a header narrowly over.
There followed a rash of yellow cards, which were to damage City more than United later on, Lingard, Carrick, Rooney and Drinkwater all being booked.
Okazaki overhead shot, on target before it was blocked, was his last action of the game as he was replaced by Gray.
A moment of Mahrez magic then saw him glide past Rojo and Carrick before sending his shot just too close to De Gea.
With Albrighton on for Schlupp for the closing stages City continued to look for the goal that would win the title. Ulloa look very tired as he chested and volleyed an effort at De Gea, he didn’t have any support in the attack as Rooney had pulled Gray over, but the United skipper escaped a second yellow.
Unfortunately Drinkwater wasn’t so lucky in the 87th minute, picking up a harsh second yellow for a very weak challenge on Depay. Fortunately, referee Michael Oliver awarded a free-kick when what little offence there was occurred on the line.

2015-16 man utd away d

Schmeichel got a fist to Rooney’s free-kick and the ten men continued to battle.
In four minutes of time-added-on there was only one truly scary moment – Martial, down the right, was tackled by Fuchs but the ball rolled across the penalty area… the alert Schmeichel beat Mata to it by inches.
City held out until the final whistle, the hard-earned point now reducing Spurs’ margin for error to zero.
Claudio Ranieri revealed that he might not be in the country of the big moment arrives on Monday…  “I’d like to watch the match tomorrow, but I think I’m on a flight back from Italy so it’s difficult for me to watch the match. Maybe I’ll find out when I land.
For us, it was important to show our character, our mentality. The beginning wasn’t good, but after I very appreciate our performance. We suffer all the matches because we know what we are. We know every match we have to work hard.”
That hard work could be rewarded in the most monumental way tonight, depending on the outcome of a game in West London…

United: De Gea, Rojo, Smalling, Blind, Valencia, Carrick, Fellaini (Herrera 75), Lingard (Mata 61), Rashford (Memphis 82), Rooney, Martial. Subs Not Used: Romero, Schneiderlin, Darmian, Fosu-Mensah.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Kante, Drinkwater, Schlupp (Albrighton 77), Mahrez (King 88), Okazaki (Gray 67), Ulloa. Subs Not Used: Schwarzer, Wasilewski, Chilwell, Amartey.

Referee: M Oliver. Attendance: 75,275.

 

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FOX 171 – in the Shops Now…

FOX 171 – the September issue – is now in the shops…

This issue features: An interview with former City striker Iwan Roberts; Soccer Stars 77-78 – the full set of stickers; Tribute to Jackie Sinclair; small ads; Odd One Out; Fully Programmed from the Brian Little era; Fox Diary including that night in Cardiff; the latest from the Foxes Trust; Tales From the Riverbank; Rewind to Old Trafford 1974; the Chris Lymn Column; The Gary Lineker Scrapbook; Our Man in a Van; your letters and Bentley’s Roof and Fanatical Frank’s gone all a bit funny…

Iwan Roberts interview extract:

FOX: We met Derby again at Wembley in the Play-Off Final. On paper it seemed that we had no right winning that game as Derby were a hell of a side.

IR: They had Paul Kitson, Tommy Johnson, Mark Pembridge, John Harkes, it was a really good side and they were paying big wages at that time. They were the favourites, no two ways about it. We had a team meeting in the morning and I had been out for the last half dozen games with broken ribs. I wasn’t expecting to start.
Brian Little came up to me and said: “Can you give me an hour?”  because there was a certain way he wanted to play against them. I said: “Yes, I’ll do what I can.”
I was a bit apprehensive to be honest, because I’d only started training the day before.
But with me, Walshy, Big Sticks… there was only one way we were going to play really wasn’t there?!
We thought that if they had a weak side it was defensively and their defenders weren’t that great in the air. So it was a case of getting the ball wide and banging crosses into the box, that was our best chance of scoring.
And it proved to be the case with our first goal, the equaliser.
Gary Coatsworth just lumped a high ball into the area, I clattered the goalkeeper, Walshy headed it in. Any other day I think Roger Milford would have given a free-kick. I’m still amazed that he didn’t, to be honest.

FOX: We all are!

IR: I was going for the ball but I did clatter him with my left elbow. And then I sat on him. But Paul Williams really should have cleared it anyway. How did he let that go past him and into the back of the net? If he’d have stood still it would have bounced off him.

FOX: Obviously we got better in the second half and the longer the match went on the more we looked like winning it…

IR: I think I came off after about 55 minutes and Julian came on. We knew he would pose them a different problem with his pace and his directness. Which he did. He did well for the goal, sending that ball out to Simon Grayson. Larry wasn’t really known for putting over too many quality crosses, but what a ball he put in for Walshy’s second. The keeper made a great save from Sticks header but Walshy was there to poke it home. It was very fitting for such an absolute legend for the club to score the goal that got us promoted. He’d been through a terrible time with injuries that season and fought his way back. It couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke.

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