Manchester United managed to put the dark clouds and negativity of pre-season behind them on Friday night, as they beat Leicester City 2-1 at Old Trafford in the curtain-raiser for the Premier League season.
Paul Pogba’s penalty and a first ever top flight goal from Luke Shaw earned the hosts the points, and put a smile back on the face of their manager. Leicester controlled large parts of the game in the first half after falling behind, but ultimately lacked a cutting edge against a resolute Jose Mourinho side.
They did manage to pull an injury time goal back through Jamie Vardy, but it came too late.
Check out our breakdown of the game below.
Key Talking Point
We could make this one all about Paul Pogba, but look down a little for that. Instead, we’re going to try and put a positive spin on Manchester United’s night, as it seems as though everything about the club in the past few months has been negative.
Mourinho has cut a miserable figure all summer, but he’ll have been pleased by some of the things he saw in this win. Pogba aside, the likes of Eric Bailly and Andreas Pereira particularly impressed, but you could see from Jose’s reaction as Shaw netted the second that it’s something he’s really wanted to see for a long time.
The whole team went to celebrate with him, and showed that the players (and, yes, Jose), might just be unified after all.
Substitutes: Lukaku (6), McTominay (6), Fellaini (N/A).
STAR MAN –
There weren’t many who could touch him in midfield on the night. And while United were starved of the ball for chunks of the first half, Pogba’s calm and control settled everybody down when the hosts were in possession. Oh, and he took the best run up to a penalty we’ve ever seen on a football pitch. Here’s how that went down on social media.
Might not get a title race but we’ll always have that run-up
— Jack Lang (@jacklang) August 10, 2018
WORST PLAYER – Alexis Sanchez was largely wasteful. Lost a lot of the ball – even when he wasn’t under too much pressure – and while he did manage to set up Romelu Lukaku’s late chance, he was expected to do more. Wasn’t extraordinarily bad, but he’ll definitely have better games.
Matteo Darmian runs him close, mind.
Key Talking Point
Ultimately, Leicester might feel like they could have earned something from the game.
It wasn’t to be as United proved just a little too strong, but there were some positive signs for the Foxes – who looked like they could cause some trouble along the way this season despite the recent departure of Riyad Mahrez.
Without him, t
Starting XI: Schmeichel (6);
I do like the look of James Maddison…
— Manish Bhasin (@_manishbhasin) August 10, 2018
James Maddison will be playing for England by the end of the season. Fact.
— the nath man (@N_NCFC) August 10, 2018
WORST PLAYER – Daniel Amartey’s brainfart in the first three minutes of the Premier League season put Leicester on the back foot, as Pogba scored from the spot. It was the Ghanaian’s handball which gave him the opportunity. Had to be more switched on.
United needed that win to bring back some positivity, and they got it. Mourinho will no doubt be happy that maximum points have been taken, and he should have a chunk of his World Cup players in a better condition for next weekend. Brighton await.
Leicester next welcome Wolves, and will take plenty of heart from the performance they put in here. The Premier League is back, baby!