Manchester United romped to a comfortable 3-0 win over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium moving to within 2 point off the top four.

It was a must-win game for both the sides as Jose Mourinho took his Manchester United to the King Power Stadium to face Claudio Ranieri and his struggling Leicester City side. And the fixture produced a result quite similar to the one at Old Trafford earlier in the season.

Manchester United managed a comfortable 3-0 win, thanks to goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Juan Mata. The result meant United are now within two points off the top four while Leicester City are living dangerously with just a point more than 18th placed Hull City.

We at The Hard Tackle take a look at some of the significant talking points to emerge from the game.

Ibracadabra

Zlatan – the man knows no limits. The Swede has conquered many a milestones and as he scored United’s second goal at the King Power Stadium on Sunday, he achieved yet another astonishing yet unsurprising feat. Zlatan is now the oldest player to score 15 or more goals in a single season of the Premier League – amazing.

The guy has a total of 20 goals this season, including the Community Shield winner, and with so many games left, he looks set to have a 30+ season, something which will reaffirm Zlatan’s status as one of the most natural predators in front of goal in the history of football.

Many have achieved similar numbers in the Premier League. But, to do that at the age of 35 takes some doing. Well, like Zlatan pointed out earlier, he seems like a wine – the Swede just keeps getting better as he ages. Here’s to many more goals, you gladiator!

All is not well with Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw

This may not be an on-pitch talking point but this definitely was a major point to emerge from the game. Anthony Martial was an unused substitute on the bench again and is right to grow frustrated at the lack of opportunities. Luke Shaw on the other hand, did not even make it to the travelling squad.

Martial’s situation, though, is a lot worse. Being on the bench and after a scoreline of 3-0, Mourinho could very well have given Martial a run in. Instead, he chose to bring Marouane Fellaini on, whose squad status is never in doubt and who, definitely, does not have much to prove as compared to the Frenchman.

Manchester United fans would hope Mourinho is trying the same technique with Martial as he did with Mkhitaryan. But, the situation is different. The Armenian was getting to grips with English football while Martial championed it in his rookie season, earning praise left, right and centre.

We could very well be seeing two of the most promising youngsters in Premier League depart Manchester United in the summer unless things change for the better. If United do manage Champions League qualification and a trophy, Mourinho is unlikely to be questioned on his stance with respect to the duo.

But, anything other than the aforementioned by the end of the season, and United fans and the hierarchy may take a long and hard look at the unjustifiably harsh treatment of two of our most prized assets by the Portuguese.

A rare league win without Michael Carrick – is Mourinho out to prove a point?

United’s win percentage with and without Carrick is well documented this season. There have been murmurs of Mourinho unwilling to hand the 35-year-old a new deal, owing mostly to his age. And on Sunday, he named Carrick on the bench in what proved a comfortable night for the Reds.

Herrera acts as the perfect cushion to the defence while Pogba can take care of the attacking aspect from the midfield. In fact, Ander Herrera has emerged as perhaps one of the perfect enablers for the French superstar.

United may have been a bit too dependable on the calming presence of Carrick and Mourinho seems intent on removing the over-reliance on a single individual, especially in the middle of the pitch. It may be too early to say United can be consistent without Carrick but this sure was a step towards that direction.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan lights up an otherwise dull Manchester United performance

From a benchwarmer to the star attraction – boy have things changed for the Armenian. Mkhitaryan has now become a regular under Mourinho and his performances prove that he deserves it. On Sunday, as United got off to another slow start, it was Mkhitaryan who lit up the pitch with his runs and moves, which Leicester could hardly pick up.

A goal and an assist aside, the Armenian kept the whole game ticking in the last third of the game. United fans would hope the Red Devils are able to produce more scorelines like these and Mkhitaryan could hold the key, especially with United struggling to find the back of the net as much with consistency.

The Italian and the Silenced Foxes

Well, what does the Fox say? Not much right now. We all know the saying – What the Lions cannot manage to do, the Fox can. They did exactly that last season and this season, they seem to be doing exactly the same – something that no one else can. The defending champions, a fairytale story has quickly become a nightmare.

Let alone the defence of their crown, they are now legitimate relegation contenders. A point off the relegation places and everyone below them apart from Crystal Palace, seem to be on an upward trajectory – with Swansea, Hull and Sunderland all progressing nicely.

The Foxes are yet to score in the new calendar year – the only team in the top five European leagues to achieve such an unsavoury feat.

But perhaps, the most damning fact is that the Foxes are yet to convince themselves that they in fact are in the relegation scrap, which could prove to be their undoing, especially with the run of fixtures to come. The Fox condemns the trap, not himself and we may be seeing the proverb turn into reality with Leicester City.

Let’s just hope the Foxes are able to avoid a fall for it will be one greater than that of Humpty Dumpty.

Leave A Comment...

*