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

Vaibhav Joshi
ANALYST
Modified 22 Mar 2021
Feature

#3 Manchester United’s defensive frailties come to the fore

Manchester United
Manchester United's defence was far too shaky in the game

Manchester United have so often been the architects of their own downfall, with a number of high-profile defensive errors leading to goals during the course of the season.

Against Leicester City, it was Fred who was at fault for the first goal, as his weak back-pass was pounced by Iheanacho, who rounded the Manchester United goalkeeper and slotted the ball into an empty net.

The Manchester United defence was questionable for Iheanacho’s second goal as well, as the in-form striker was allowed to ghost in unmarked at the back post to extend his side’s lead.

In fact, questions might even be asked of Manchester United’s defending for the second goal, as a number of red-shirted players seemed reluctant to close down Tielemans, who duly took advantage of the time and space afforded to him to fire home.

Apart from the three eminently avoidable goals, Manchester United were extremely sloppy in possession, regularly giving the ball away in dangerous areas through poor passing. They might consider themselves lucky not to have lost by a bigger margin.

As such, while some of Manchester United’s defensive failings can be put down to fatigue, their defending has certainly let them down at crucial points during the season. That is something Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must address if they are to realistically challenge for trophies going forward.

#4 Both managers in search of their first silverware for their respective clubs

Both Solskjaer and Rodgers are still looking to lift their first trophies at their respective clubs.
Both Solskjaer and Rodgers are still looking to lift their first trophies at their respective clubs.

After taking charge of their respective clubs at around the same time, both Brendan Rodgers and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have been reasonably successful with their respective projects.

Although Solskjaer took over Manchester United on a temporary basis in December 2018, it wasn’t until March 2019 that he was appointed permanently, around a month after the Foxes brought Brendan Rodgers over from Celtic.

With both Rodgers and Solskjaer having overseen a period of marked improvement at their respective clubs, the focus has now shifted towards consolidating this success with a trophy.

As such, the FA Cup seems to be a good starting point for any manager looking to lay the foundations for a long and successful stint at a top Premier League side. Both Rodgers and Solskjaer would have been itching to get their hands on the famous trophy come the end of the season.

On this occasion, it was Rodgers’ Leicester City who came out on top. Their reward is a semi-final against Southampton at Wembley, while Solskjaer and Manchester United are left to focus on the Europa League in their pursuit of silverware.


#5 Manchester United’s remarkable undefeated run away from home comes to an end

Manchester United lost a domestic fixture away from home for the first time since January 2020.
Manchester United lost a domestic fixture away from home for the first time since January 2020.

Manchester United last tasted defeat in a domestic fixture away from home over a year ago when they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Anfield against eventual Premier League champions Liverpool.

Since then, the Red Devils have managed to string together 29 games undefeated on the road, with their away form proving to be the cornerstone of their improved recent domestic form.

However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were well beaten by Leicester City on this occasion, with the Foxes besting their opponents in all areas across the pitch.

As a result, while Leicester march on towards Wembley Stadium with a well-deserved win, United only have their undefeated away record in the Premier League left to preserve.

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Published 22 Mar 2021
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