Manchester United 3 Leicester City 0
Manchester United easily defeated Leicester City 3-0 at Old Trafford to move within five points of the top of the Premier League.
Marcus Rashford crashed in the Reds’ first shot of the match in the first half, before the Englishman added to his tally with another strike following the interval.
His countryman Jadon Sancho, who was introduced as a half-time substitute, completed the scoring shortly after the hour mark.
For Rashford, the brace increased his goals tally this season to 24 in all competitions – the most he has ever managed for the club in a single campaign.
FIRST HALF – RUTHLESS RASHFORD
The Reds started brightly, putting the away side under pressure in the opening exchanges but it was Leicester who managed to fashion a couple of early chances. The first of these saw Harvey Barnes denied by David De Gea’s typically excellent one-on-one save, after the Englishman broke through following a give-and-go with Kelechi Iheanacho.
Minutes later it was Iheanacho who found himself with an opportunity in the United box, but his dragged effort was blocked by Victor Lindelof. Then De Gea was again called into action on 20 minutes, pawing the ball off the line when Iheanacho shot from a similar position on the left side of the area.
The balance of possession enjoyed by Erik ten Hag’s side to this point was not being reflected in efforts on goal, but in the 25th minute, Rashford dispatched United’s first strike of the afternoon with assassin-like precision. Picked out by an outside-of-the-foot pass from Bruno Fernandes, the no.10 showed Leicester stopper Danny Ward no mercy as he finished into the bottom left corner for 1-0.
Diogo Dalot might have doubled the lead on 36 minutes, but he agonisingly poked his attempt wide from close range. The right-back had forged the opportunity by bringing the ball from deep, before offloading to Fernandes who was looking to assist again from the right.
SECOND HALF – FOXES SNARED
Coincidently, United’s first opportunity after the interval involved a Shaw free-kick too. This one was floated into the area and met by the head of Lisandro Martinez, but the Argentinian nodded the ball onto the crossbar and over.
But 11 minutes after the restart, the Reds had a second goal as Rashford scored again. The ball was slid through to him on the left by Fred and the forward fired it through the legs of Ward for 2-0. The goal was initially disallowed after the assistant referee raised a flag for offside, but a VAR check ensured it was duly awarded, prompting a second round of celebrations.
Just after the hour mark, substitute Jadon Sancho added his name to the scoresheet, as he did in the reverse fixture against Brendan Rodgers’ side earlier the season. After playing a one-two with Fernandes, he was able to side-foot the ball into a mostly empty net after Ward had been drawn to his near post.
Following the third goal, the Reds were looking to put the visitors to the sword as Sancho and Wout Weghorst had chances, after Rashford left the field to a huge ovation following another superb goal-scoring performance.
Ten minutes from time, Kobbie Mainoo was introduced for his Premier League debut in place of Marcel Sabitzer, adding to the Academy graduate’s cup appearances for the first team.
United: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelof, Martinez, Shaw (Wan-Bissaka 69); Sabitzer (Mainoo 80), Fred (McTominay 59); Rashford (Elanga 69), Fernandes (c), Garnacho (Sancho 46); Weghorst.
Subs not used: Heaton, Malacia, Varane, Pellistri.
Goal: Rashford 25, 58; Sancho 62.
Leicester City: Ward: Castagne, Souttar, Faes, Kristiansen; Dewsbury-Hall (Tielemans 59), Mendy (Soumare 59); Tete (Praet 75), Maddison (c), Barnes; Iheanacho (Vardy 75).
Subs not used: Iversen, Amartey, Daka, Pereira, Ndidi.
Booked: Faes, Mendy.
Match highlights will be published below later today.
+3 Points ⚽ pic.twitter.com/RpOJdlBf58— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) February 19, 2023
Eres el mejor 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽— Casemiro (@Casemiro) February 19, 2023
A very good afternoon at Old Trafford and we just have to continue in this way. 💪🏻 pic.twitter.com/mUsIdT7bpl— Bruno Fernandes (@B_Fernandes8) February 19, 2023