Manchester United vs Leicester City Match Analysis

Manchester United vs Leicester City Match Analysis

Source: The Guardian

The first Premier league game of the 2018/19 season kicked off with Manchester United vs Leicester City at Old Trafford. Manchester United looked to bounce back after mostly disappointing pre-season and an underwhelming transfer window, where they were linked with nearly every centre back in the world and managed to not bring a single one to Theatre of Dreams. United had a shaky pre-season with results and performances not meeting the expectations of the fans, however it did give the team vital minutes to get up to full fitness in preparation for this game. Additionally, the pre-season saw Manchester United without many of their first team players as they were on extended holiday following the World Cup, this gave some of United’s fringe players the chance to stand out and break into the United first team, which some did as can be seen by the team sheet below.

The game saw a mostly expected eleven for Manchester United with the only real shock being a starting place for Paul Pogba, who only just return to the team following his extended Holiday after he won the World Cup with France during the summer. Not only did Pogba start this game but he also captained the team which was a shock to many following recent speculation that he was unsettled and looking for a move to Barcelona. The other team news for Manchester United was that Eric Bailly partnered Victor Lindelöf at the back, new signing Fred played in midfield alongside Andreas Pereira, who impressed hugely on the pre-season tour, and Manchester United’s new number 10 Marcus Rashford started up top. In addition, for Leicester one of Man United’s summer targets and England’s World Cup hero Harry Maguire started, as he looked to show United what they missed out on.

Manchester United XI: David De Gea, Matteo Darmain, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelöf, Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba (c), Andreas Pereira, Fred, Juan Mata, Alexis Sánchez, Marcus Rashford

Leicester City XI: Kasper Schmeichel, Daniel Amartey, Wes Morgan (c), Harry Maguire, Ben Chilwell, Wilfred Ndidi, Adrien Silva, Ricardo Pereira, James Maddison, Demarai Gray, Kelechi Iheanacho

It was a great start from United as within the first 2 minutes they had a penalty. Paul Pogba took responsibility of it and slotted it home, giving United an early lead. United looked bright for a brief period after the first goal went in but Leicester worked their way back into the game and really started to press, with a few attacks in quick secession down the left side. United sat back and invited Leicester on which led to Maddison having a shot on the United goal that was well saved by David De Gea and several other good attacks that led to nothing. Though the performance wasn’t entirely convincing, the half ended 1-0 to United. Throughout the half United’s new signing Fred looked very impressive, he was extremely composed on the ball and worked very hard when United weren’t in possession, if he can continue this type of performance for the rest of the season United will have a player on their hands.

At the start of the second half United managed to get a bit more possession of the ball and press Leicester back. They worked a few good opportunities but just couldn’t finish them or the game off, it just didn’t seem to click for United’s forward line. This is nothing to worry too much about at the moment though, as it’s only early days in the season and I’m sure that once a few more players come back we’ll start to see them click more. Towards the end of the game, the match became stretched and opened up into an end to end contest with both teams creating plenty of half chances. David De Gea was forced into another good save as a Jamie Vardy’s ball was whipped in and met by Demarai Gray who couldn't quite get the right contact on the ball. After that United could have sealed it but Lukaku squanded a great chance, though it has to be said that Kasper Schmeichel pulled off an excellent save. That missed chance didn’t matter in the end, as United managed to get their 2nd goal not long afterwards. Th scorer of the goal was the unlikely source of Luke Shaw, who finished very well to get his first senior goal in English football. Following this, Man United looked to slow down the game and seal the victory. However, Leicester had other plans and really pushed and pressed for the goal to get them back in the game. Their hard work finally paid off in stoppage time as they managed to pull a goal back with a goal from Jamie Vardy who caught the United defenders sleeping. Despite a late corner scare, United managed to hold on to their 2-1 lead to get the victory, which will see them top of the table on the first day of the new season.

Overall, United’s performance was a mixed one, but they managed to get the job done and win the opening game of the 2018/19 Premier league season. Though the performance wasn't perfect we managed to get the result in the end and we an only hope that this is just a starting point and that United can continue to improve all the way through the season. There are quite a few positives to take  away from this game but the most significant one has to be the fact that Bailly looked excellent at the back alongside a solid Lindelöf, hopefully they can continue this for the rest of the season and if so we’ll have a great chance to compete for trophies. Additionally, there needs to be a shout out to Luke Shaw who did himself a huge favour by getting that goal, which we can only hope helps to give him the confidence to push on and become the starting left back at Manchester United.


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