The unbeaten Premier League away record that Manchester United had is now over as the Red Devils succumbed to a 4-2 defeat to Leicester City. It was a very open game from the start as both sides look to attack each other. United took the early advantage when Mason Greenwood’s thunderbolt of a strike went past goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel into the corner of the net. We were the architects of our downfall when Youri Tielemans equalised for the Foxes after Harry Maguire lost the ball from the De Gea’s pass.
The second half saw a frenetic period as Tielemans nearly had a second but was denied by a superb save by De Gea. The United keeper was called into action again when he denied Patson Daka from the corner but Caglar Soyuncu put the Foxes in front from the rebound. Marcus Rashford made his return to the side to pull the Red Devils leveled. However, we were then behind again within 15 seconds of the kick-off as Jamie Vardy restored Leicester’s lead. Patson Daka then added the fourth for the Foxes in injury time.
Here we looked at five things we learned from the game.
1. Maguire’s return backfires
To everyone’s surprise, Harry Maguire was including in the starting eleven when the teams were announced before the game. He had only been back in training the day before and it was evident from the first half, his match fitness was not there. It came at a cost for our captain as he struggled to deal with the Leicester press. Maguire had thought he had more time on the ball, which led to Tielmanns’s equaliser after he lost the ball when trying to play out from the back from De Gea’s pass.
It got even worse for Maguire as he was the one playing Soyuncu onside for Leicester’s second goal. He was absent in the remaining goals scored by the Foxes. It was a terrible afternoon for Maguire and is worth considering the message that Solskjær sent to Eric Bailly, who probably should have started instead by playing Maguire who was short of fitness.
2. United was left wide open at times
United began the game well as they look to get on the front foot but were not retaining much control. We look more effective when we countered Leicester. To concede after 15 seconds after we had leveled the game is just not good enough. If we want to be considered as title contenders this season, then these mistakes should not be happening. When we went behind for the second time, only then did Solskjær make further substitutions.
3. Our unbeaten away record is now at an end
We had been unbeaten in our last 29 Premier League away matches, which was the longest in English football history. We hadn’t suffered defeat away from Old Trafford since January 2020. The record was always going to come to an end but the timing of the defeat against Leicester City makes it look worse with a run of fixtures we have coming up. The performance of the players will be of concern to Ole Gunnar Solskjær as United could not control the game and fell away after getting the scores level.
4. Greenwood was the only bright spark
Mason Greenwood’s opening goal signified his good form illustrating the confidence that the youngster has had since the start of the season. Out of the attacking options we have, Greenwood is the one that has been most consistent. With him now being a regular starter for United, his self-belief has grown which was evident from his sublime strike to open the scoring for us.
The strike had everything from power, swerve, placement, and dip giving Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel no chance of saving it. He will soon be a regular starter for the England side but the decision not to include him in the matches against Andorra and Hungary was a good move. It gave him the chance to work on his game at Carrington, which proved beneficial.
5. Rashford makes his return
Marcus Rashford was in the squad for the first time this season having fully recovered from his shoulder surgery. We all probably thought he would get 10/15 minutes on the pitch but actually got 25 minutes. United was looking for the winner and Rashford was soon on the scoresheet as he leveled the game for us.