Man Utd And Leicester Draw in Boxing Day Clash: Both teams will be looking for a victory to keep the pace with current champions Liverool.
Leicester City welcomed the red devils to the King Power stadium in this boxing day game. United come into this game in blistering form off the back of a six-two win over Leeds at the weekend.
Leicester City are in second place, just one point off United, a win here could be crucial. A victory at the King Power could see Rogers boys just one point behind Klopp’s side. The foxes too are in good form after beating title contenders Tottenham two-nil in their last game.
Solskjaer’s men sit in third place on twenty-six points with a game at hand. A win here could put them in second, just two points off Liverpool. Ole will be looking for his side to start quickly and be on the foxes from the word go.
After a more assertive Utd against Leeds, a more dominant energetic ninety minutes is needed against Rogers well organised side.
Team’s Starting Eleven
Leicester City: Schmeichel, Justin, Fofana, Evans, Castagne, Ndidi, Tielemans, Albrighton, Maddison, Barnes, Vardy
Manchester United: DeGea, Bailly, Lindelöf, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, Fernandes, James, Rashford, Martial
The first half began with United, straight away on the front foot. Just one minute into the game they had their first chance. A chipped cross from Fernandes on the wing left a free header for Rashford.
He met the ball with a bullet-like header just flashing over the crossbar, an early Leicester let off. Eight minutes later the foxes responded with their first chance of the half. Vardy on the break, weaved in and out leaving Baily for dead as he went one v one with DeGea.
However, an uncanny swipe at the ball saw his shot scuttle just wide of the post. A very uncharacteristic Vardy who usually would thump home from close range. The twenty-third minute saw United break the deadlock.
Welshman Dan James cut inside from the wing with a lay off for Fernandes. The midfielder stretching for the ball, toe-poked through Leicester’s backline to an unmarked Rashford who coolly slotted home.
However, less than ten minutes later saw Rogers men with a response of their own as equalised on thirty-one minutes. A Maddison pass to Ashley Barnes outside the box allows him to set up a long-range effort.
The United players were far too slow to close the midfielder down who has tons of space to shoot. Barnes’s thumping effort sailed past DeGea, bulging the net. The rest of the half was really scrappy as both teams gave were breaking up counters with constant fouls.
This really slowed down the momentum of the game. Despite this Leicester looked the stronger of the sides after their equaliser gave them more confidence to play.
The beginning of the second half saw both sides having moments of brilliance, getting into good attacking areas. Although, their final ball was lacking as each attack seemed to go nowhere. Scuffed shots or overhit cross’s all that went harmlessly out of play.
The sixty-minute mark was the first notable chance for either side with United on the attack. Fred on the break splits the Leicester backline leaving Rashford through on goal. The strikers blasted shot fizzed low along the ground but was saved, by Schmeichel’s outstretched leg.
Solskjaer’s team were in the ascendency as they kept penetrating Leicester’s defence with through balls. Numerous chances were stopped by last-minute challenges or offsides. However, in the seventy-eighth minute, this pressure eventually told.
Substitute Cavani was on the pitch a matter of minutes and was already amongst the action. His intricate pass popped through a congested Leicester box for Fernandes, drilling low first time into the bottom corner.
With minutes to go it appeared United would emerge two one victors. However, this was not to be the case as striker Jamie Vardy denied Manchester United going second. In the eighty-fifth minute, a pacey whipped in cross met Vardy unmarked.
His first-time shot beat both Baily, Maguire, and a wrongfooted DeGea who was left flatfooted. The game finished two all as both sides were content with a draw to stay in the hunt for Liverpool.
The Managers Verdict
Ole was by far the more disappointed of the managers, having taken the lead twice with chances to finish Leicester off. Overall a frustrating match for Manchester United who remain in third place, one point from Brendan Rogers’s side. Speaking to the press after the match the United manager voiced his opinion:
“Disappointed that we don’t win – loads of big chances and we could have finished it off, but they’re a very dangerous side,”.
“One point is not the worst result, but we’re disappointed we didn’t get three.”
“Both goals should’ve been closed down quicker”.
Leicester remains in second place, three points off reigning champions Liverpool on twenty-eight points. However, this gap is likely to increase with Leicester playing one game more than most teams.
After praising his own side in the difficult game, Rogers gave his own opinion on United, praising Solskjaer. Roger’s had previously managed Liverpool and Celtic and understands the level of scrutiny and criticism one comes under.
“I’m pretty sure whatever noise there is Ole seems very focused. You know with him there he wants the best for Manchester United.
“You have a genuine Manchester United man and he wants to get the club returned to its values and the level of winning they are used to.”
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