On Sunday, Manchester United edged out Leicester 2-1 in the Community Shield, courtesy of a late header by new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Jose Mourinho won his first piece of silverware as Manchester United boss as his side beat Leicester 2-1 in the Community Shield on Sunday. After a tense first half hour of football, the game burst into life as Jesse Lingard’s wonderful solo goal gave the Reds the upper hand going into the break.
However, Claudio Ranieri’s men found their way back in the second half as Jamie Vardy managed to score an equaliser. United midfielder Marouane Fellaini made a mess of a pass which saw Vardy capitalize and score past David de Gea.
United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored an 83rd minute goal to win his side the game and the charity shield.
Here are The Hard Tackle’s three takeaways from the game
Eric Bailly looks like he has been a United player for a number of seasons
Jose Mourinho signed Ivorian defender Eric Bailly from Villarreal for £30 million. A relatively unknown player, Bailly looked a tad overpriced to the neutral. But his performances through pre-season and the game against Leicester especially suggested that he was worth every penny.
The Ivorian seemed to be the most effective player on the day for the Red Devils. Partnering with Daley Blind at the heart of United’s defence, Bailly did not put a foot wrong and dominated the Leicester forwards with his strength and aerial prowess. In fact, in his first professional game for the club, he ended up receiving the Man of the Match award.
On one occasion, mid way through the first half, Jamie Vardy looked set to score when he was one-on-one with David de Gea. After nutmegging Valencia, the English striker was in perfect position to score before Bailly dove in with a last ditch challenge to force the ball away for a corner. He also beat the Leicester forward to a number of aerial balls and intercepted numerous passes made by the opposition midfielders.
His performances on Sunday showcased exactly why Mourinho paid top dollar for him, and he will only get better as the season progresses.
Rooney’s age catching up to him
Wayne Rooney was terrible on Sunday against Leicester City. Starting as a number 10, the England captain failed to take charge of the game. The 31-year-old was dispossessed a number of times and did not create any opportunities for Ibrahimovic up front. In fact, the Swede had to drop deep himself on a number of occasions to control things, with Rooney playing a rather peripheral role.
Despite Mourinho’s backing, such performances would not guarantee Rooney a place in the Portuguese’s starting eleven. Probably a deeper role could suit Rooney, but the manager expects him to deliver playing further up the field. It’s time for introspection for the United captain now as the Premier League season is looming around the corner.
Leicester’s new signings changed the complexion of the game
To the surprise of many, Claudio Ranieri opted to pick Andy King over Nampalys Mendy and started with Shinji Okazaki instead of Ahmed Musa who was on the back of a good performance against Barcelona. Seeing things working against the favour of his team, Ranieri brought in the two, and immediately Leicester looked like the better team.
Musa proved to be a more than able partner to Vardy as he constantly kept chasing the ball tirelessly. He even had an exceptional solo run, but was stopped in his tracks by Daley Blind. However, he did everything to justify why he should be picked as a second striker for the Foxes.
Mendy slotted in at the middle of the park alongside Danny Drinkwater. The two worked in tandem and dominated the rather sluggish Manchester United midfield comprising of Carrick and Fellaini. Ever since he came on, Mendy showed an aggression and need to win the ball. He often contested for fifty-fifty balls and used his pace and physicial superiority to overpower the frail-looking Carrick.
It has been a good transfer window for Leicester as they go into the 2016/17 as defending champions.