Saturday 24 September 2016

Match report: United 4-1 Leicester City

United blew away champions Leicester with a scintillating first half showing as Paul Pogba scored his first goal for the club to move the Reds up to third in the league.

Three of the four goals came from corners as Chris Smalling headed the opener, Juan Mata curled in an excellent strike to double the lead, Marcus Rashford pounced from close range and Pogba nodded in just shy of the interval to give the team a scarcely believable 4-0 half time cushion. 

The shell-shocked visitors did improve after half-time and reduced the deficit through a goal of the season contender from Demarai Gray but it proved to be only a consolation. 

The Foxes had actually enjoyed the better of things in the opening exchanges as Danny Drinkwater had a shot blocked from a set-piece and Robert Huth headed narrowly over from a narrow angle following a counter-attack.

Former United keeper Ron-Robert Zieler did well to deny Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the other end before the hosts moved ahead on 22 minutes through an unlikely source.

Having built their title triumph around set-piece prowess at either end of the field, Leicester were surprisingly undone from a corner when Smalling met Daley Blind's inswinger to rise above three defenders and power in a header.

Minutes later and it could have been two as United started to turn the screw as first Ibrahimovic and then Rashford both went close in quick succession. 
Pogba, United's marquee summer signing was coming to the fore as his magnificent clipped pass released Ibrahimovic to fire narrowly wide before he was involved again on the half hour mark.

This time he saw a stunning 35 yarder tipped behind by Zieler, but the rampant Reds pressure finally told as we doubled the lead eight minutes shy of the interval.

Great link-up play between Pogba and Lingard saw the former find the latter whom in turn picked out Mata to turn home a superb finish on his 150th Premier League start. 

Incredibly, the lead was doubled by the break as Rashford slid home following a Blind corner and Pogba silenced his critics with a bullet header after another set-piece from the impressive Dutchman. 

The game was as good as over by the break but substitute Gray's 35 yard belter made it 4-1 before Lingard fired over and Zieler saved well from Ibrahimovic as United twice went close to a fifth.

Gray almost replicated his goal but this time David de Gea was equal to it in a low-key second half with the damage done in an impressive a 45 minutes as I can remember from a United side. 

Overall team performance: 9/10
United Faithful Man of the Match: A superb team display from the revitalised Reds but Paul Pogba gets MOTM having silenced his critics in emphatic fashion. Scored one and was heavily involved in two of the others. Magnificent. 

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