I can’t quite remember the last time a newly-promoted side has humiliated Manchester United the way Leicester City done so. Twice a two-goal lead was let slip, albeit the first two-goal lead didn’t last very long, yet it’s the manner of the defeat and in particular the way the team defended that is of real concern. It is stating the obvious, but how we miss the presence of a real leader at the back such as Vidic or Bruce, someone who can communicate effectively as well as put his body on the line for the team, and can you imagine how much of a positive influence they would be for Tyler Blackett’s development ?
By the time Di Maria had executed an exquisite chip over Kasper Schmeichel to make it 2-0, van Persie opening the scoring, it seemed that some of the United players felt it was game over so early on and switched off. It wasn’t to be the only time in the game that Rojo, Evans and Rafael (Smalling joined in on the act after replacing the injured Evans) switched off, allowing Leicester’s new boy Ulloa to fire past De Gea with a bullet of a header.
Ander Herrera made it 3-1 flicking neatly from inside the box, but that was to remain the final high point in the game for United on 57mins. Five minutes later, referee Mark Clattenburg made a decision that only he can explain and justify, as Rafael was clearly fouled by Jamie Vardy, but as the Leicester striker went into the box, a rush of blood and a sense of retaliation by Rafael meant that at only the slightest of touches, Vardy fell to the floor winning his side a penalty. David Nugent duly dispatched the penalty, and from there on, Leicester City took the game by the scruff of the neck, by scoring two minutes later by Esteban Cambiasso to level at 3-3.
It was at the point of Cambiasso drawing Leicester level that Wayne Rooney gave his team-mates a piece of his mind, although he may want to look at his mistake leading up to the equaliser, and I hope he learns that his reaction in that way is not always the answer. Vardy then made it 4-3 with a neat finish, whilst United’s defence looked non-existent and the attack lacklustre at this stage. Four minutes later, Vardy was fouled by Blackett inside the box, leaving Clattenburg with no other choice than to send the youngster off, and Ulloa converted Leicester’s second penalty of the game, to down United 5-3.
I mentioned a leader at the back is desperately needed, in all honesty, I couldn’t see any leaders on the pitch for United. To think that the captains of England and Netherlands were on the pitch, along with other established internationals, who is going to stand up, act and behave as a leader on the pitch ?
The defence will also be rightly criticised, with the exception of David De Gea, and with West Ham buoyed by the victory against Liverpool, next for the Reds, van Gaal and the coaching staff have plenty of work to do on the training ground.
It might be timely reminder to even van Gaal that dropping one of the better outfield players this season in Juan Mata, especially as others have not been firing on all cylinders, wasn’t the best decision he made against Leicester, and the game at Old Trafford should now see Luke Shaw be given his debut in the league, as Rojo struggled in his positional play and lacked concentration.