Leicester’s Vardy and Daka end Manchester United’s away record

Marcus Rashford looked to have rescued a point for Manchester United on his return from injury before Jamie Vardy and Patson Daka gave Leicester a 4-2 home win

The most damning aspect for Manchester United is that they had no way of repelling opponents with slicker tactics, a smarter manager and a clearer identity. Ole Gunnar Solskjær had nowhere to hide after being shown up by Brendan Rodgers.

United were an utter mess from start to finish and as Solskjær stared into the distance once Patson Daka had sealed a riotous victory for Leicester it was impossible not to conclude they had lost because they employ a manager who is incapable of constructing a cohesive unit.

The harsh reality is that United, whose English league record of 29 away games unbeaten is over, do not have a way of playing. They have brilliant forwards, such as Mason Greenwood, who gave them the lead with a stunning goal, but there is no discernible philosophy under Solskjær. The approach in possession is still too basic and the worry for United, who drop to fifth after taking one point from their past three games, is there was more to this defeat than the dreadful defending that led to all four of Leicester’s goals.

They could not rely on individual quality to bail them out this time. United had Cristiano Ronaldo, but Rodgers had a plan. There was so much to admire about Leicester’s slick, intelligent display. They overwhelmed United with the aggression of their pressing, the quality of their passing and their swift combinations in attack. It was also hugely satisfying for Rodgers to see his side regain their poise after Marcus Rashford had briefly silenced the King Power Stadium by dragging the visitors level in the 82nd minute.

Leicester, who deserved their first win in the league since 28 August, did not wilt. They simply roared up the other end, broke down the left and made it 3-2 thanks to a venomous drive from Jamie Vardy, who was granted too much space to beat United’s exasperated goalkeeper, David de Gea.

United’s weaknesses had caught up with them. The tone was set by Harry Maguire allowing the ball to run out of play inside the first minute and they were fortunate not to fall behind during the early stages. There was too much space in front of the back four, which was to be expected with Paul Pogba alongside Nemanja Matic in midfield, while there were times when it was hard to see how United hoped to penetrate Leicester, who looked far more secure in a 3-4‑2-1 system.

It certainly helped that Leicester had Jonny Evans back in central defence. Evans, who has been struggling with a persistent foot problem, was a calming presence and the hosts were also boosted by some encouraging flashes from the impressive James Maddison in the No 10 role.

Caglar Soyuncu celebrates scoring the second goal for Leicester City.
Caglar Soyuncu celebrates scoring the second goal for Leicester City. Photograph: Plumb Images/Leicester City FC/Getty Images

Leicester were superior during the opening period. Boubakary Soumaré and the magnificent Youri Tielemans established control of midfield, the wing-backs, Timothy Castagne and Ricardo Pereira, were adventurous, and Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho were full of mischief up front.

The frustration for Leicester was that they had done little wrong before a moment of genius from Greenwood in the 19th minute. The striker took a pass from Bruno Fernandes on the right and, seeing that Castagne had slightly backed off, cut inside before spanking a vicious left-foot drive past Kasper Schmeichel from 25 yards.

Leicester did not deserve to be behind, although they were indebted to their goalkeeper when he stopped Ronaldo making it 2-0, and they kept pushing.

Vardy tested Victor Lindelöf, who did not convince in place of the injured Raphaël Varane, and the sense that Solskjær had rushed Maguire back from a calf injury too soon increased when United’s captain made the error that led to Tielemans dragging Leicester level.

Patson Daka wrapped it up for Leicester with the fourth goal.
Patson Daka wrapped it up for Leicester with the fourth goal. Photograph: Plumb Images/Leicester City FC/Getty Images

It was an inexcusable goal for a top side to concede. United had a free‑kick just outside their own box and they should have played their way out of trouble. Instead, Iheanacho robbed Maguire and De Gea was caught out by a glorious chip from Tielemans.

There was no sign of United improving after the break. Rashford came on for his first appearance of the season, replacing the ineffective Jadon Sancho, but Leicester were stronger. Tielemans and Iheanacho were denied by De Gea but Leicester finally took the lead when a corner reached Daka. The substitute’s shot was saved and Soyuncu scored the rebound.

The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email.

United, who had spent most of the second half botching counterattacks and conceding free-kicks, had to respond. They did so out of nothing, Lindelöf releasing Rashford to lift his shot over Schmeichel.

Was a comeback on the cards? Not this time. Aaron Wan-Bissaka sold himself with a ludicrous challenge and Ayoze Pérez teed up Vardy, whose rising shot shattered the notion of United as credible title challengers.

United soon fell apart again. Tielemans sent in a free-kick from the left and the cross somehow reached Daka, who was free to complete United’s humiliation.

Contributor

Jacob Steinberg at the King Power Stadium

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Jamie Vardy breaks record as Leicester draw with Manchester United
Leicester striker Jamie Vardy broke the Premier League record by scoring for the 11th successive game in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United

Paul Wilson at King Power Stadium

28, Nov, 2015 @7:40 PM

Article image
Leicester’s James Maddison makes sure before Vardy sees red against Wolves
James Maddison scored shortly before the break to earn Leicester City 2-0 home win against Wolves but Jamie Vardy was sent off for poor second-half tackle

Stuart James at the King Power Stadium

18, Aug, 2018 @4:17 PM

Article image
Jamie Vardy goal keeps Leicester’s resurgence going with win at West Brom
A Jamie Vardy goal just before half-time took Leicester to a 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns, maintaining their resurgence under Craig Shakespeare

Stuart James at The Hawthorns

29, Apr, 2017 @4:08 PM

Article image
Reliance on Bruno Fernandes causes problems for Manchester United | Jonathan Wilson
When Leicester cut down on Bruno Fernandes’s freedom it was clear once more that Manchester United rely on two or three key players

Jonathan Wilson

26, Dec, 2020 @4:09 PM

Article image
Marcus Rashford makes instant impact as Manchester United defeat Leicester
Second-half goals from Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini were enough to secure Manchester United a comfortable 2-0 win over Leicester City at Old Trafford

Jamie Jackson at Old Trafford

26, Aug, 2017 @6:47 PM

Article image
Axel Tuanzebe own goal earns Leicester draw with Manchester United
Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes scored for Manchester United but Leicester levelled twice to end the visitors’ away winning run

Paul Doyle at the King Power Stadium

26, Dec, 2020 @2:49 PM

Article image
Marcus Rashford’s early penalty edges blunt Manchester United past Leicester
Marcus Rashford scored the only goal after eight minutes from the penalty spot as an uninspired Manchester United beat Leicester 1-0 at Old Trafford

Daniel Taylor at Old Trafford

14, Sep, 2019 @4:08 PM

Article image
Manchester United thump Leicester after Chris Smalling sparks goal rush
Four goals in 20 first-half minutes, the first from Chris Smalling, set up a 4-1 win against Leicester City, with Wayne Rooney out of the starting lineup for Manchester United

Daniel Taylor at Old Trafford

24, Sep, 2016 @1:40 PM

Article image
Premier League 2015-16 fans’ verdicts part one: Arsenal to Manchester United
Featuring: The invasion of the body-snatchers at Chelsea; a decent effort by Leicester; and why it’s time to say goodbye in London N5

Observer fans' network

15, May, 2016 @8:30 AM

Article image
Jamie Vardy hat-trick leads Leicester demolition of Manchester City
Jamie Vardy broke a 16-match goalless run in style with a hat-trick as Leicester City defeated Manchester City 4-2 for their first league win since October

Paul Doyle at the King Power Stadium

10, Dec, 2016 @7:31 PM