United thrash champions Leicester at Old Trafford

Manchester United bounced back from successive Premier League defeats in emphatic fashion with a 4-1 thrashing of defending champions Leicester City at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.

  • Manchester United 4 Leicester City 1
  • Smalling header opens the scoring
  • Mata doubles the scoring
  • Rashford taps in the third
  • Pogba heads in fourth before HT
  • Substitute Gray scores consolation

Match summary

Four first-half goals from Chris Smalling, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba put United firmly on course for an easy victory.

After three successive defeats United reacted well as the Foxes conceded from three corners late in the first half to leave manager Claudio Ranieri with the tough task of lifting his players at half-time.

Demarai Gray scored a stunner of a goal in the second half to reduce the deficit, but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation as United eased to a deserved victory.

Full report

In the opening twenty minutes of the game Leicester looked the more likely to score with their direct style of football against an out-of-form Manchester United side that looked to find some early fluency.

The biggest talking point prior to the start of the game was England and Red Devils captain Wayne Rooney being dropped to the substitutes bench.

However, the attacking stalwart looked unfazed by the attention from the media as 18-year-old Marcus Rashford started ahead of him, with Juan Mata occupying the number 10 role.

The decision to field Jesse Lingard and Rashford on the wings proved to be the difference on the day after Chris Smalling's headed opener from a Daley Blind corner.

The opening goal released the shackles on the United wingers as they started getting in and behind the Foxes high backline.

Paul Pogba started to find his feet in midfield and went close, before Juan Mata's sumptuous goal doubled the scoring – Mata played it to Paul Pogba, who unlocked the packed Leicester defence with a flighted chip over the top. Lingard flicked it back with a slight touch into the path of Mata, who made no mistake with a powerful finish. 

Three minutes later Rashford got in on the action, rewarding Mourinho for his faith as Blind's low cross found the England striker in the six-yard box for a simple tap-in.

And three minutes before the break they made it four, with Blind's third assist of the day coming from yet another corner – Pogba completely unmarked in the area getting on the end of the pin-point delivery to powerfully head past Ron-Robert Zieler in the Foxes goal.

Ranieri clearly admitted defeat when he hauled off Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez at half-time as he looked to protect them from injury in a game that was over in the first 45 minutes.

However, substitute Demarai Gray scored a absolute stunner of a consolation for the Champions in what was his first-ever Premier League goal.

After picking up the ball on the left wing, he rolled inside his man to open his body up and smash a curling effort into the top right-hand corner beyond David de Gea.

However, the goal did not spark a revival for the Foxes as United quickly recovered their composure and eased to what would turn out to be a comfortable win.

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