Premier League In-Depth: Manchester United cling to victory in 2-1 win over Leicester City in Premier League opener
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José Mourinho’s Manchester United squeaked a 2-1 victory over Leicester City in the first match of the new Premier League season. The Red Devils avoided stirring up any more disquiet in the red ends of Manchester following a relatively underwhelming end to the summer transfer window. After only 75 seconds of the game, the referee (fairly) pointed to the Leicester penalty spot after the ball made clear contact with Amartey’s arm. Oozing confidence following his victory at the World Cup and as Manchester United’s new captain, Pogba attempted to lead from the front by taking the shot. Cool as you like it, the United skipper toyed with Schmeichel in his run-up before placing the ball in the Leicester keeper’s left side corner. For a moment it looked like Schmeichel would just get his hand behind the ball to deny the French national, but there was no stopping Pogba’s stunning shot. With the Reds up by 1, the scoreline for the remainder of the half did not reflect the performance. Leicester forced attack after attack, but each one failed to bring the foxes equal. In his debut in the Premier League, youngster James Maddison, who signed this summer from Norwich city, looked very impressive. With Gareth Southgate watching from amongst the crowds, it looks as though it has become a matter of when, not if, Maddison will be called up to represent England. Maddison made his presence on the pitch known from the start of the game, especially after firing a shot at the Manchester keeper that forced De Gea into making a stunning save. Following the break, it was clear Mourinho was unhappy with just a one-goal lead. With Leicester still relentlessly chasing the equaliser, United looked to step up their attacking play to double their lead. With the 60th minute passing and Manchester United still only one ahead, Leicester brought Ghezzal on for his debut in the place of Amartey as well as replacing Maddison with Vardy. Mourinho followed suit by replacing the new number 10, Marcus Rashford, for the Belgian striker, Romelu Lukaku. Late into the game, it looked like it was all over for the foxes after Lukaku’s was provided with a clear-cut chance on goal, with only Schmeichel standing in his way of the net. His initial shot was stunningly stopped by the Leicester keeper, but the deflection flew into the air and all of Old Trafford held their breaths as they waited to see if it would fall into the back of the net. It didn’t. With only minutes left in the game Manchester United defender, Luke Shaw, earned his first Premier League goal following a superb cross from Alexis Sanchez, that he fired into the back of the foxes’ net. The goal looked like it had ended the contest, but Leicester kept fighting, looking to bring at least one back. Doing what he does best, Vardy snuck one back in the 92nd minute after an expertly placed cross from Ricardo deflected off the Manchester United post, with Vardy on hard to poach the goal. And just like that, fears of an upset started to descend into Old Trafford, with Mourinho visibly unsettled. Given a new birth of life, Leicester gave everything to find another goal in the dying minutes of the game. The foxes relentlessly attacked United, with none of their final attempts really challenging De Gea.
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