Goals from Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw fired Manchester United to a victory on the opening day of the 2018-19 Premier League season.
Manchester United kicked things off in the new season with a 2-1 win over Leicester City, at the Old Trafford on Friday night.
Having endured a difficult pre-season campaign, there were question marks over United’s ability to hit the ground running in the season. However, it just took three minutes for them to allay those fears, as club record signing Paul Pogba, donning the captain’s armband on the day, dispatched a cool penalty to make it 1-0.
The Foxes did threaten thereafter, with the likes of James Maddison and Demarai Gray posing a threat. Having withstood some amount of pressure, the Red Devils went two up, courtesy of a maiden career goal for left-back Luke Shaw in the 83rd minute.
Substitute Jamie Vardy did pull one back for the visitors in stoppage time, but Jose Mourinho’s men held on to take three points from the game. Here’s how the Manchester United players fared on the night at the Old Trafford;
David De Gea: 7.5/10
Put his disastrous summer with Spain behind to show why he is regarded as the best in the business, pulling off a sensational save to deny Maddison’s goal-bound effort in the first period. Made another important stop to keep Gray out.
A misplaced pass late on almost caused trouble, but was dealt with by the defence. Not a lot he could do about Vardy’s goal.
Matteo Darmian: 5/10
The wantaway Italian international was handed a start in the absence of Antonio Valencia, and judging by the performance, Mourinho will be hoping to have his captain back at the earliest. Left dead in his tracks by Gray on a number of occasions and did not offer much in terms of forward play either.
Eric Bailly: 7/10
The Ivory Coast international played with his usual aggression and tenacity, throwing himself into challenges, winning everything in air. Covered well for his defensive partner, although he could have done slightly better in trying to prevent the goal. Nevertheless, a solid start to the campaign for Bailly.
Victor Lindelof: 7/10
Didn’t have the steadiest of the starts, but improved as the game wore on. Showed the strength and physicality that seemed to be lacking in his game last season, with one duel against Kelechi Iheanacho standing out particularly. Hopefully, his partnership with Bailly will flourish as the season goes on.
Luke Shaw: 7.5/10
After all the criticism and rumours of a move away for so long, Luke Shaw gave a glimpse of why United shelled out the big bucks for him four years ago. Was solid in defence for large phases of the game, although the cross resulting into the goal came from his flank.
Showed good intent going forward as well, forcing a save from the goalkeeper in the first period, before prodding home a late strike – his first career goal, that proved to be the difference on the night. An encouraging performance.
Making his Premier League debut for the 20-time English champions, the Brazilian international looked the part. Showed energy and aggression, never backed down from a fight. His quality was evident, although was a bit careless in possession at times.
Andreas Pereira: 7/10
The academy graduate continued from where he left off in the pre-season, impressing once again with a strong display in the defensive midfield role. Covered for his full-backs, kept the ball moving smartly and did little wrong. Was a bit rash at times going into challenges, but will only learn and grow.
Paul Pogba: 8/10
His heart wasn’t at United anymore, they said. He and Jose don’t see eye to eye anymore, they said. And Pogba put all those rumours to bed in an emphatic way on Friday. Captaining the team on the night, the World Cup winner brought in flair, energy and purpose to his performance.
Scored the opening goal from the spot and was involved in everything positive United conjured up in attack. Did try a little too much at times, but it was a statement performance from the Frenchman.
Juan Mata: 6.5/10
An uneventful outing for the Spaniard. Looked good in bursts, tried to make things happen, but not everything worked for him. Missed a great chance to make it 2-0, but did grab the assist for Shaw’s late goal.
Marcus Rashford: 5/10
Handed the No.10 jersey heading into the new season, the England international had a lot riding on his shoulders. However, Rashford failed to deliver against Leicester. Was caught offside on way too many occasions, while his hold-up play at the top was ineffective as well. Worked hard and put in a shift, but failed to make the most of the chance.
Alexis Sanchez: 6/10
Played a hand in winning the early penalty, but couldn’t translate his pre-season form into the game on Friday. Did manage to create a few chances late on and helped out defensively, but more will be expected from the Chilean talisman.
Romelu Lukaku: 5/10
Replaced Rashford in the 67th minute. Surprisingly, squandered a great opportunity to make it 2-0.
Scott McTominay: N/A
On for Fred with less than 15 minutes to spare. Helped United see off the game.
Marouane Fellaini: N/A
Came on to replace Pogba late in the game. Shored things up in the middle of the park.