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Marcus Rashford Penalty Gives Manchester United Crucial Win vs. Leicester City

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Marcus Rashford of Manchester United celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-0 during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford on September 14, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester United won for just the second time this season after beating Leicester City 1-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday.

Marcus Rashford won and converted a penalty after a reckless challenge from Leicester centre-back Caglar Soyuncu in the seventh minute. The spot-kick proved enough for the Red Devils to overcome the visitors. The result moves United on to eight points and above the Foxes into fourth place.

Leicester arrived brimming with confidence, and it showed when James Maddison—a United target, according to James Robson of the London Evening Standard—forced David De Gea into a fine save with a fierce shot from distance.

The early sighter was merely an anomaly, though, as the Foxes soon became guilty of pedestrian and ponderous passing. Their slow approach play allowed United to pose a considerable threat on the break whenever the hosts pinched possession.

So it proved when Rashford raced to meet a loose ball and was felled by Soyuncu. Rashford made no mistake for a United team getting plenty of practice from the spot during the early part of the season:

BT Sport Score @btsportscore

Man Utd have been awarded 40% of all penalties in the Premier League. Marcus Rashford makes no mistake. 👊 https://t.co/7DDW7maNxa

Rashford continued to give Soyuncu a torrid time. The Turkey international was wary of the United No. 10's pace and was choosing the wrong moments to get tight, allowing Rashford to spin in behind at will.

Simon Stone @sistoney67

Rashford fouled three times so far trying to spin off defenders.

Soyuncu and the rest of the Leicester defence were being left exposed by the Foxes' ongoing failure to establish their own rhythm in possession. United were getting physical with the away side's danger men, with a crunching tackle from Scott McTominay on raiding left-back Ben Chilwell serving as the perfect example.

Chilwell recovered to force De Gea into another smart stop, with the Spaniard palming a volley over the bar. Maddison's waste of the subsequent corner summed up Leicester's struggle to conjure some magic in attacking areas.

The visitors needed to get prolific No. 9 Jamie Vardy more involved, something demanding more progressive passing from midfield maestros Maddison and Youri Tielemans.

Leicester continued to be profligate after the break, with Maddison curling a free-kick wide from what was an enticing position for a player usually deadly from set pieces.

Leicester's efforts going forward were also being stymied by a familiar face: centre-back Harry Maguire, who became the world's most expensive defender when he joined United this summer. Maguire was booed by the travelling support, but fans of the hosts were grateful for his proactive brand of defending:

Manchester United @ManUtd

A successful challenge for @HarryMaguire93 against his former club ✔️ #MUFC continue to withstand the pressure, with just over an hour played in #MUNLEI. https://t.co/T232aDvkCV

Having seen enough of his side's lacklustre attempts to create chances, Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers finally took action when he introduced striker Ayoze Perez for midfield enforcer Hamza Choudhury.

The change did little to boost the visitors, though, who continued to labour in the final third. United did enough to see out the result, despite looking far from convincing.

Leicester, though tipped by many to break the top-six monopoly, are failing to live up to Rodgers' enterprising tactics and the ample amount of attacking talent in the squad.

   

What's Next?

United begin their UEFA Europa League campaign at home to Astana on Thursday before returning to domestic action away against West Ham United on Sunday. Leicester will next play Tottenham Hotspur at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, September 21.