Manchester United cruised to a 1-0 win against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.
United opened the score in style, courtesy of a Jadon Sancho goal, who did well to round the Foxes goalkeeper before slotting the ball into an empty net.
United were exemplary in the opening 45 minutes, excelling in their retention of the ball, winning possession back, passing between the lines and creation of chances.
The team fought hard in the second half against a resolute Leicester side, eventually clinching all three points.
Here are three things we learned from United’s clash against Brendan Rodgers’ men.
Outstanding 45 minutes
The Red Devils came out flying from the start against their opposition. In stark contrast to the 1-0 win vs, Southampton, the team did well in dictating the play and speed of the match.
The midfield looked in control bar a few instances in which they were caught in transition and required the defence to bail them out.
Bruno Fernandes, United’s captain of the day was the standout in the first half. He was crucial in a lot of his side’s chance creation and progression of the ball. Christian Eriksen had another steady game in the pivot where he was able to pull strings and keep proceedings ticking.
Scott McTominay, who has come under intense pressure, was solid, rarely giving the ball away. The Scotland international was also immense in his defensive duties, doing well to shield the back four.
The attack was again fluid, with Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rahsford the most outstanding of the trio. The two seem to be developing a deadly partnership, capped by the no. 10’s assist to Sancho for United’s opener.
Erik ten Hag and certainly the fans will take a lot of positives from the first 45 minutes.
United were more solid defensively
The Red Devils were relatively comfortable in the game and never looked likely to leak a goal.
The team came under more pressure in the second half with the Foxes pushing for an equalizer, but the Reds withstood the goading.
The full-backs, despite being on yellow cards for most parts of the game, were disciplined while still containing Leicester’s pacy attackers.
As has now become the norm, Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane combined well to lock down the Red Devils’ defence and prevent an opposition goal.
What stuck out was also the work rate of Rashford, Elanga and Sancho, who got back on multiple occasions to lend out a helping hand. Casemiro, who came on in the second half, served to further reinforce an already watertight defensive unit.
United can not stay on the front foot for 90 minutes
While the 20-time English champions were stellar in the first half, the second was a far cry from the opening 45 minutes.
Ten Hag’s men seemingly reverted back to old habits, absorbing pressure and looking to hit the Foxes on the break. They tried to use balls over the top to catch Rashford’s runs behind defenders – a tactic that was to a large extent unsuccessful.
United also did not create a multitude of chances as in the first period, although they did come close once or twice.
Leicester were clearly the more adventurous and searching side, and pushed United back. It is crucial that Ten Hag find a way to sustain constant pressure throughout the game.
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