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Leicester City 3-1 Manchester United: 5 talking points as Foxes send Red Devils crashing out | FA Cup 2020-21

Leicester City dumped Manchester United out of the FA Cup with a 3-1 win.
Leicester City dumped Manchester United out of the FA Cup with a 3-1 win.
Vaibhav Joshi
ANALYST
Modified 22 Mar 2021
Feature

Leicester City booked their place in the semi-finals of the 2020-21 FA Cup for the first time since 1982 with a well-deserved 3-1 win over Manchester United at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.

Although Manchester United made the more encouraging start to the game, it was the home side that took the lead in the 24th minute when Kelechi Iheanacho pounced on an error by Fred to give his side the lead.

However, as Leicester City looked to drive home their advantage, Manchester United got back on level terms via a smart finish in the 38th minute from Mason Greenwood, albeit arguably against the run of play.

Youri Tielemans then restored the home side’s advantage seven minutes into the second half, sprinting into the final third and taking advantage of some indecisive defending from Manchester United to drill the ball into the bottom corner.

With Manchester United pushing for the equaliser, Leicester City doubled their advantage in the 78th minute through Iheanacho, who ghosted in at the back post to head home Marc Albrighton’s inviting free-kick.

The two-goal deficit proved to be too much for Manchester United to come back from. Leicester City comfortably saw out the game to move into the semi-final, where they will face Southampton at Wembley Stadium.

On that note, let's have a look at five major talking points from the game.


#1 Manchester United and Leicester name contrasting lineups

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Donny van de Beek and Paul Pogba were handed starts in a much-changed Manchester United United lineup.
Donny van de Beek and Paul Pogba were handed starts in a much-changed Manchester United United lineup.

Despite there being very little difference in their respective league positions, there was a lot of difference in Leicester City and Manchester United’s preparation leading up to this FA Cup tie, which was evident in their respective team selections.

The home side, who had had a whole week to prepare for this fixture, made just one change from their previous game; that one was forced on them due to an unfortunate injury.

In the other camp, Manchester United made five changes from their midweek tie in the Europa League as the manager handed starts to Donny van de Beek and Paul Pogba, among others, keeping workload management in mind.

Although Leicester City named virtually their strongest available playing XI, a spate of injuries to key players meant they were left weakened in terms of reinforcements on the bench.

Meanwhile, a much-changed Manchester United had much more firepower in reserve, with the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani, to name a few, waiting in the wings.

#2 Kelechi Iheanacho is Leicester City’s man in form

Kelechi Iheanacho continued his red-hot form with a brace against Manchester United.
Kelechi Iheanacho continued his red-hot form with a brace against Manchester United.
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A number of recent injuries to key first-team players have forced Leicester City to deviate from their usual formation and adopt a more innovative approach, shifting to a three-at-the-back formation.

One of the many forced changes to the Foxes’ lineup has resulted in Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho playing alongside each other instead of their usual system of playing instead of each other.

While long-term frontman Vardy has not been at his usual free-scoring best in recent games, Iheanacho has emerged as a welcome, if unexpected, source of goals for Leicester City.

The Nigerian international was on target for the fourth straight game in this fixture, also claiming the assist for Tielemans’ well-taken goal in the second half to add to his brace.

With seven goals in his last four matches, including a hat-trick in the Premier League, Iheanacho has benefited from the space afforded to him by opposition defenders, whom Vardy adeptly draws away with his clever runs.

As such, Rodgers and Leicester City will hope that the Iheanacho and Vardy strike partnership is able to propel the Foxes to a strong finish to the season.

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Published 22 Mar 2021, 01:40 IST
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