Manchester United had been hoping to come away with all three points in a very open and attacking Boxing day match against Leicester City. United saw many chances including very earlier on the game when a delightful cross from Bruno Fernandes met the head of Marcus Rashford only for it go on over the bar. United began dominating possession before allowing Leicester back into the game. We took the lead through Rashford after great attacking play from a throw-in and an excellent pass from Fernandes.
Fernandes gave the ball away which led to Leicester’s goal from Harvey Barnes which might have been closed down earlier by Scott McTominay in preventing the shot. In the second half, United struggled initially in the midfield with a lack of creativity. Ole made the call to bring on Paul Pogba, which enables us to become freer on the ball.
The substitution of Cavani shows what his impact can be. His movement to pick up and feed the ball into Fernandes to score our second was a thing of excellence. Unfortunately, we were not able to keep our lead as Leicester struck back to secure a point against us.
Here are five things we learned through our 2-2 draw:
1. Missed chances leave us frustrated
Marcus Rashford could have given us an early lead through a simple header, which just went over the bar. United looked intent from the start as in our previous two games. Thankfully the missed opportunity from Rashford is that we did not fall behind to Leicester. We have done this in our last previous six away Premier League games. United kept on the attack and took the lead. However, it raises the question that we need to convert more of the chances we get.
Rashford also had a one-on-one with Leicester’s goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel in the sixtieth minute. There was nothing wrong with the shot by Rashford and equally Schmeichel produces a great save. Chances also came through headers from Maguire and Fernandes that went over the bar. There were many other counter-attacking opportunities that failed to materialise in a goal.
If we were to mount a title challenge, we do have to beat those around the top of the Premier League table and convert the opportunities in front of goal. It is frustrated that with five minutes to go being 2-1 up that we could not see out the game.
2. Bruno Fernandes is just magnificent
Where would United be if we did not sign Bruno Fernandes back in January? I think we would be in a worse position if he had not arrived at the club. His impact and influence has been plain for everyone to see. Fernandes delivered yet again yesterday. For those rival fans of ours who say he just scores penalties. Well, he is more than that as he can score goals from any part of the pitch and provide assists to his teammates. Fernandes has scored or assisted on 31 occasions in his 28 Premier League appearances.
As I had said in the post-match reaction show yesterday, Bruno Fernandes is one of the best players in the world right now. I cannot wait for when the day comes that Old Trafford is at full capacity and we can get to sing his name and show him the appreciation he deserves.
3. Cavani proving his weight in gold
When Edinson Cavani signed for Manchester United on the last day of the summer transfer window, it was met with some scepticism from the media and some United fans. However, since arriving he is proving the transfer was an astute move from Ole and the club. After only three minutes of coming on against Leicester City, he found space in the midfield to pick up the pass from Eric Bailly, then makes the turn and feeds a pass into the box from which Bruno Fernandes scores.
Cavani’s impact has been better than anyone had expected. Though he could not produce another moment to score in the last minute as he did against Southampton, his quality is evident to see. He will go on to score important goals over the course of this season.
4. United entertaining away from home
In the last seven United away games, we have seen at least three goals or more. Whilst our home form has been inconsistent, our away record has been excellent as we are unbeaten in 11 away games in the league. United has been entertaining to watch over the last few weeks and you have to put this down to Ole, the coaches, and the players.
We currently sit fourth in the table behind Leicester and Everton by one and two points respectively and still with a game in hand on both. The match saw an open game with both teams attacking each other and in the end, a draw was probably a fair result.
5. De Gea a little unsure once again
It seems of late that David De Gea was beginning to return back to the form that had made he made one of the best goalkeepers in the world a few years back. However, there was a little bit of anxiety from the number one goalkeeper. It was early on in the game against Leicester that a mistimed pass from the Spaniard came close to giving the opposition the lead as we had done in the previous six away league games.
It would not give the makeshift defence we had any confidence as Victor Lindelof was filling in at right-back due to the injured Aaron Wan-Bissaka. De Gea appeared to suffer a tweak to his back and resulted in Dean Henderson being sent down to do a warm-up. However, he carried on and might have been able to do much better to prevent Harvey Barnes’s equaliser. It was a brilliant strike from the opposition player that was at a height De Gea could save it. Though the first goal for Leicester cannot be entirely his fault as he was unsighted. Scott McTominay who backed off Harvey Barnes should have closed him down to prevent him the space to shoot.