Marcus Rashford may have scored the winner but it was Paul Pogba who impressed again as Manchester United earned a narrow win over Leicester City.
Manchester United started the game with an intent to erase the disappointment from the 2-2 draw against Burnley. Marcus Rashford almost instantaneously gave United the lead, but soon redeemed himself in the 9th minute as he got on the end of a Paul Pogba pass. The control was immaculate and the finishing, good enough to beat Kasper Schmeichel and give United the lead.
The first half was all about Manchester United, even though they did drop off a bit after the goal. Leicester City came in from half-time with renewed vigour and it showed on the pitch, with the Foxes dominating the away side. But, just as Leicester seemed to solve the first puzzle, David de Gea stood in front of the Manchester United goal presented an even tougher proposition.
The Spaniard showed just why he is considered one of the, if not the, best keeper in the world. Manchester United did get a couple of chances to bury the game. But, Kasper Schmeichel came to the rescue. The Foxes put on additional pressure on United’s goal. But, the away side held on to earn a 1-0 win and all three points, points which see them topple Arsenal and move to fifth on the Premier League table.
We now take a look at how the players fared individually. All statistics mentioned and more can be found here.
David De Gea – 8
While the Leicester game could have been chalked down as one of the best performances for any goalkeeper, it was only a normal day of work for David de Gea. The Spaniard made 6 saves, majority of which came in the second half as Leicester kept mounting on the pressure in search of the equaliser.
Keeps on rescuing United time and again. The definition of a clutch player. Gets a bit higher rating solely due to the 1-0 scoreline, which makes his saves all the more important.
Ashley Young – 7.5
Honestly, Ashley Young might just be playing himself into the talk for being among the top five right-backs on current form and performance levels. Despite not having nearly the same pace he had in his yesteryears, the player diffused the threat posed by Demarai Gray to a large extent while also limiting James Maddison whenever he tried to run into the channels.
Could have done better after a brilliant run in the first half but otherwise a great outing.
Eric Bailly – 6.5
Returning to the lineup to replace Phil Jones, Bailly showed just why he was one of the first names on the team sheet during his debut Premier League season at Manchester United. Obviously, the entire defence could have done better in the second half. But, that could be chalked down to some brilliant attacking football by Leicester City.
Victor Lindelof – 6.5
Lindelof did not impress but wasn’t erratic either. It was basically a performance you have now come to expect of Lindelof as a minimum, which just goes to show how much the Swede has grown in terms of stature under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Given the freedom to act as a ball-playing defender, Lindelof had 45 accurate passes with an accuracy of 98%.
One of the main reasons behind United’s ability to play a smoother brand of football.
Luke Shaw – 7.5
Keeps on proving himself with each passing game. Shaw could have easily had an assist in the opening minutes of the game, had Marcus Rashford not whiffed his header from close range. The Englishman was a man possessed when on ball, completing 3 dribbles during the entirety of the game.
When not on the ball, he was driven towards reclaiming possession, which reflects in the 3 successful tackles he managed. Young Luke is finally starting to come of age.
Ander Herrera – 7.5
The Spaniard reinvented his game under Jose Mourinho itself and is now showing why he needs to be in the starting eleven day-in day-out. Herrera had 4 successful tackles to his name, the most of any player in the match while also recording 3 successful dribbles.
His sweeping presence alongside Nemanja Matic is what is enabling Paul Pogba to become the box-to-box midfielder he so desires to be.
Nemanja Matic – 6.5
A quiet but solid outing from the Serb. His presence itself is enough to bring some calmness to the midfield and defence. Matic’s form has picked up as well after Jose Mourinho’s departure and he is truly looking like a player United desperately need to be a part of their midfield, at least for now.
Paul Pogba – 8
Pogba is a player who wants to be involved with each and everything that happens on the pitch. With Matic and Herrera’s help, he is now able to do just that and it is Manchester United who are reaping the rewards. Provided the assist for Rashford’s winner and could have ideally had a couple more in the second half, had Lukaku and Martial applied the necessary finish.
Jesse Lingard – 7
It is tough to imagine a Manchester United starting eleven without Jesse Lingard in it. While he has all the ability to be a threat when on the ball, but his off-ball movement is what drives fear and creates confusion in opposition defences. Lingard and Rashford terrorised Leicester in the first half with their movement and his pressure was crucial to the mistake that allowed Pogba to set up Rashford.
Marcus Rashford – 7
There has never been an issue with his work ethic, both on and off the field. But, the Englishman is now starting to add composure and finishing to his repertoire. While he did scuff the early chance from Luke Shaw’s cross, he did not let it get to his head when Paul Pogba presented him with an opportunity.
His control has always been talked about as an underrated trait and it seems Rashford is truly becoming a quintessential Manchester United number 9. He does need to work a bit on his decisions still. All in good time though.
Alexis Sanchez – 6
The Chilean had a quiet outing as he failed to fire even a single shot before coming off for Anthony Martial. Was mainly in the eleven due to Anthony Martial recovering from his injury. Might lose his spot soon.
Anthony Martial – 6.5
Was sprightly after coming on, with Manchester United getting a few chances to break. Could have had a goal if he had placed his shot better or on either side of Kasper Schmeichel. Looks set to be included in the starting eleven in the coming gameweek.
Romelu Lukaku – 6
Came in for Rashford as Solskjaer replaced the goalscorer with a fresh pair of legs to take advantage of any counter-attacking opportunity that Leicester City afforded United. Tested Schmeichel but looked to be out of sync with his teammates on a couple of occasions, which does not bode well for his chances to return to the starting eleven.
Phil Jones – N/A
Came on for Herrera and did help in absorbing Leicester’s pressure towards the final whistle.