Manchester United 2-1 Leicester City: 5 Talking Points from the game
Manchester United welcomed Leicester City at Old Trafford to mark the start of the 2018/19 season of the Premier League. United started in a 4-3-3 formation, but the surprise inclusion in the team was Paul Pogba, who did not just return but captained the team in the first game of the season. It was a contrast to all the news that was coming in the preseason and during the transfer window, where there were reports of dissent, differences with the manager, the handing in of a transfer request and even reports of him already accepting a deal with Barcelona.
So for the World Cup winner to come in from the start, without playing a minute in the preseason, because the team needs him, said a lot about Pogba and it showed him in an image that would please United fans.
Manchester United XI: De Gea; Darmian, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; Fred, Pereira, Pogba; Mata, Rashford, Sanchez.
The preseason was poor, the transfer window performance was even poorer, but this one game could change everything. United were also facing Maguire and it was to be seen whether the failed transfer attempt would come back to haunt them. Interestingly for United, Martial started from the bench, as did Lukaku.
Leicester City started in the 4-2-3-1 formation that Puel had gone for in preseason and which has worked for them so far. New Signing and United old boy Johny Evans started from the bench, along with Vardy and another new signing R. Ghezzal, signed to replace the phenomenal Mahrez, who had shifted to the other half of Manchester over the summer.
Leicester City XI: Schmeichel; Chilwell, Maguire, Morgan, Amartey; Silva, Ndidi; Gray, Maddison, Pereira; Iheanacho
United started the game strong and were rewarded when Amartey handled the ball in the penalty box to concede a corner, after some fine exchange of passes between Pogba, Shaw and Sanchez. Pogba stepped up and scored the first premier league goal of the 2018/19 season. Leicester did try their best to score but were met with a resolute defence marshalled well by Bailly and Lindelof.
The first half ended 1-0. United kept trying to extend the lead in the second half, and Lukaku, coming on as a substitute for Rashford, should have scored. On the other side of the field, De Gea fabulously stopped Gray from equalizing. But finally, it was Mata who set up Luke Shaw to score United's second of the game. Leicester set up a frantic final 2 minutes when Vardy capitalized on a defensive lapse to deny De Gea a clean sheet. Ultimately, United won a hard fought season opener and we take a look at 5 points to talk about from the game.
#5 Lindelof has brought his World Cup form to United
Lindelof showed from the very start that he would not let the absence of Alderweireld or even Maguire be felt in this United team. He was fast, composed on the ball and regularly joined in the midfield to take the ball forward from defence. He was also very strong, surviving a shoulder to shoulder wrestling competition with Iheanacho in the first half. The Leicester City striker seemed clear on goal, only for Lindelof to just do enough.
He was almost always composed and did not show any signs of indecision or rash moves. It did help to have Bailly, who was fabulous himself, alongside him and those two look to have a partnership blossoming between them.
United registered 25 tackles and 38 clearances in the game and while the team defended as a unit, Lindelof definitely deserves special praise. He read the game very well, making clever decisions and even though United conceded due to a lapse in defence, he was in no way responsible. Lindelof was stellar in defence as United got the better of Leicester and Mourinho might finally have found the perfect partner for Eric Bailly.