Rampant Rashford bags a brace against Foxes

Leicester travelled to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, having scored ten goals in their last three Premier League games. The fine run of form meant Brendan Rodgers fielded an unchanged lineup from their 4-1 win against Spurs last time out.

With this game sandwiched between two Europa League games against Barcelona, Erik Ten Hag’s side featured five changes from their 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp on Thursday. Sabitzer, Dalot, Lindelof, Martinez and Garnacho replaced Casemiro, Varane, Wan-Bissaka, Malacia and Sancho in the starting eleven.

MUN: De Gea (GK); Shaw, Martinez, Lindelof, Dalot; Fred, Sabitzer; Garnacho, Weghorst, Fernandes (C); Rashford

LEI: Ward (GK); Kristiansen, Faes, Souttar, Castagne; Mendy, Dewsbury-Hall; Barnes, Maddison (C), Tete; Iheanacho

It was the visitors that started strongest in the first half, with Barnes the first to react when Fred lost possession – and the English winger surged forwards, playing a one-two with Iheanacho before continuing goalwards, but De Gea produced a fine save to deny Leicester an early opener. The resulting corner was taken by Kristiansen, who found Harry Souttar – but the Australian’s header was directed just over the crossbar.

Maddison won the ball back in the middle of the pitch, unleashing Iheanacho through on goal – but the forward’s poor first touch sent him away from the goal and his strike was straight at Lindelof, sending the ball out for a corner. Leicester had another fantastic opportunity to open the scoring as Tete’s cross from the right flank appeared to be finding Maddison at the far post – though a fine recovery from Fred cleared the danger for the hosts.

De Gea was forced into action once again after Castagne floated a cross into the box from the right wing, with Kelechi Iheanacho the intended target. The Nigerian striker reacted well and directed his header low into the bottom-left corner, but somehow De Gea was able to make the save and parry the ball away!

Completely against the run of play, United found the opener in the 25th minute through Marcus Rashford – who had been enjoying a sensational run of form. A poor pass from Wout Faes conceded possession, and Bruno Fernandes was quick to react – finding Rashford who was kept onside by a helpless Harry Souttar. The Englishman planted his strike into the bottom-left corner, and Danny Ward was rooted to the spot as he watched the ball into the net – with United taking the lead!

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Diogo Dalot should have doubled his side’s lead in the 37th minute, as Bruno Fernandes sent a beautiful ball into the box that only required a tap in from the Portuguese right-back – but his effort was sent wide as he failed to strike the ball well.

Marcel Sabitzer was lucky not to be sent off after catching Wout Faes with a high boot – as the Austrian’s studs made contact with the Belgian’s knee. Stuart Attwell had a great view of the incident, but decided that it did not warrant even a yellow card, much to the dismay of the travelling Leicester fans. Faes himself was booked a few minutes alter, after bringing down Bruno Fernandes on the edge of the box.

Perhaps undeservedly, the hosts held a 1-0 lead over the Foxes at the interval, thanks to a great pass from Bruno Fernandes that sent Marcus Rashford through on goal. Leicester’s early chances had certainly shown what they’re capable of – but a combination of De Gea’s saves and poor finishing meant they found themselves behind at the break.

Nampalys Mendy received a booking shortly after play resumed, with the midfielder judged to have caught a charging Marcus Rashford.

Lisandro Martinez was presented with a great opportunity to add to his side’s advantage, as Shaw found the Argentinian with a cross from the left flank – but the centre-back’s header found the crossbar before going out for a goal-kick.

Marcel Sabitzer brought down James Maddison on the edge of the box, giving the Foxes a free-kick in a dangerous position – and one that Maddison certainly knows how to score from. However, the England international drove his shot straight into the wall, though Souttar was able to find Maddison again – but this time his effort was fired well wide of the goal.

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Marcus Rashford found the back of the net once again after running on to the end of Fred’s pass from midfield, before slotting a deft finish past Danny Ward between the sticks. The linesman raised his flag for offside, but a quick VAR check shows that the forward was in fact onside as the ball was played – and United had doubled their lead in the 56th minute!

Five minutes later, they had a third – this time through Jadon Sancho, who fired home from close range. Iheanacho had lost possession in his own half, and Rashford found Sancho – who played a quick one-two with Bruno Fernandes before sending the ball into the net with a first-time finish.

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Sancho had chance to bag a brace less than ten minutes later, as he was sent through on goal by Wout Weghorst – playing a deeper role than we’d usually expect to see. Despite being one-on-one with Danny Ward, Sancho couldn’t get his shot off before Wout Faes raced back to block the strike – and the rebound was sent over the bar.

The full-time whistle sees United close the gap to local rivals Manchester City, who were held to a draw by Nottingham Forest on Saturday. The Red Devils sit in third, just three points off City – but comfortably clear of fourth-placed Newcastle United, who have seen a drop in form recently. Leicester sit in 14th, one point Steve Cooper’s Forest side.


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