Man Utd 1 Leicester 0: Rashford penalty eases pressure as Maguire shuts out old side – The Sun
SO SLABHEAD got the better of Steptoe and Manchester United earned a much needed win.
Harry Maguire simply did not give his former Leicester teammate Jamie Vardy a sniff of goal.
It was an object lesson in how to keep one of the Premier League’s hottest strikers quiet.
With the aid of Victor Lindelof they did an absolute job on the Leicester forward.
When Vardy got the ball one would be on his heels while the other dropped off in case the forward’s superior pace gave him the edge.
It did only once when Vardy got into the box and crossed into an empty six yard box in the first half.
The rest of the time he painted a frustrated figure as the Foxes suffered their first defeat of the season.
The £85million spent on Maguire, nicknamed Slabhead by Vardy for his big bonce, was deemed to be too much for Champions Manchester City who also wanted him.
How they could do with him now with Aymeric Laporte now out for six months with a knee cartilage injury.
United certainly needed him which is why they paid so much.
They have bemoaned the lack of this kind of player since both Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand bid farewell.
A commanding figure at the back who can read the game, win headers and calmly bring the ball out.
He did all that yesterday to the frustration of the travelling faithful who chose to boo his every touch.
He almost got a goal too when he got forward to meet a corner with a downward header.
In the lead up the game manager Solskjaer had marked him out as a future captain here. He certainly lead by example.
For while this was not the most convincing team display it was earned from a fine defensive display with Maguire at the heart of it.
Steptoe meanwhile, nicknamed for his resemblance to the comedy rag and bone man, had no answer.
One fan took it upon himself to scream ‘Harold’ at him for a sustained period during the second half much to the bemusement of a young fan sat next to the chap.
He was of an age to remember Steptoe and Son and the old man’s cry.
Vardy’s were ones of anguish as time and again he got the ball and could do nothing with it.
This was a striker who since Brendan Rodgers took over at Leicester last February had 12 goals from 14 games before this game. That is best scoring run in that period in the Premier League.
Still the watching Gareth Southgate will have left Old Trafford not bemoaning Vardy’s decision to retire from international football as much as before he arrived.
So Marcus Rashford’s eigth minute penalty would split the teams. Yes United scored a penalty.
It is the fourth they have been awarded this season but only the second they have converted.
Andreas Pereira did superbly to help win it, sliding in to dispossess Hamza Choudry and force the ball into the box.
Rashford got ahead of Caglar Soyuncu who caught his heels and the United forward went down.
Having missed his last kick in the 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace the pressure was on, but he stayed cool and slotted the kick away.
He almost had a second goal late in the second-half with a 25 yard free kick that crashed off the angle.
Daniel James had his now customary efforts on goal, but on this occasion their would be no reward to match his work.
Still every time he gets on the ball you can sense the anticipation in the crowd of something special happening such has been his impact.
At the other end Ben Chilwell came closest to scoring for Leicester with a brilliant dipping volley that David De Gea tipped over in the 36th minute.
So a win to lift some of the gloom around Old Trafford.
A win that can’t be underestimated either as Leicester are a very good side, playing well under former Liverpool boss Rodgers.
United won it with an injury hit side side too with Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard all out
Solskjaer wanted players to step up to the plate in their absence and they did.
Pereira had one of his better games in a United shirt.
There were worries about the midfield but Scott McTominay made up what his partner Nemanja Matic lacked.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka looked excellent again.
Blimey, even Fred made an appearance. He might even get a start on Thursday with Astana in town for the Europa League.
That will push their next league game away at West Ham back to the Sunday, something they will have to get used to again as they compete in Europe’s second tier.
The joker behind the controls of Manchester’s digital traffic information boards had billed this as ‘The Battle for Sixth’ as drivers were warned of heavy traffic around the area.
To stop being the butt of such jibes, United need to build on this win.
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