Manchester United are looking to make it 7 away wins in a row in the Premier League as they face a menacing Leicester City side on Boxing Day. But they saw their winning streak rudely broken, with Leicester fighting their way towards earning a 2-2 draw. After a strong start to the game, the Red Devils took the lead in the 23rd minute when Marcus Rashford slotted in coolly from open range.
But Leicester bit back quickly, with Harvey Barnes scoring an absolute thunderbolt in the 31st minute make it 1-1. But after looking really good in the second half, United took back their lead int he 79th minute when Bruno Fernandes slotted home from close range to get his 10th goal of the Premier League season.
Leicester weren’t going down on the day and equalized again in the 85th minute, with Jamie Vardy’s flicked attempt from close deflecting off Axel Tuanzebe into the net for Tuanzebe’s own-goal. It was a pretty entertaining game but after which United will be frustrated for not taking all their chances well or protecting their lead effectively. The real winners from this are Liverpool, who can create a gap at the top of the table after their game.
Manchester United Player Ratings vs Leicester
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (6.5) –
Solskjaer did well to set up a strong enough team despite having no natural right-back with Wan-Bissaka injured. Did well to make his side hurt Leicester on the counter-attack and take advantage of their high line. His substitutions worked well too, with Cavani getting an assist for the second.
But he really needs to solve the defensive issues and make his side mentally strong enough to grind out wins after taking a lead. Will be frustrated with this result but needs to take important lessons to make necessary improvements going forward.
David de Gea (5.5) –
Almost shot himself in the foot with a horrible pass to almost Leicester a goal early on but bailed out by his defenders. Couldn’t really do anything to stop Barnes’ excellent strike. Vardy’s goal was too quick for him to react. Will go home a very frustrated man.
Eric Bailly (6.0) –
Bailly’s first start in the league since that 1-6 loss to Tottenham. Should really have done better to close down Barnes to try and deny his strike. Lost the mark on Vardy for his strike as well. Bailly didn’t make any grave error and actually did well to isolate Vardy for most of the game, but wasn’t at sharp as needed to be.
Harry Maguire (5.5) –
The former Leicester man looks pretty comfortable at his former home but did have a bit of a blooper moment before Barnes’ goal. Did have a chance to score in the 70th, but his header went over. Wasn’t really involved much in the game, making a few nice clearances but failing to shape his backline strongly enough to get the win.
Victor Lindelof (6.5) –
Lindelof’s having to slot in as a makeshift right-back with the absence of Wan-Bissaka today. He actually did a very good job, making key challenges and covering a lot of ground to keep Leicester from threatening down that wing. But all that running caused an injury, forcing him to be subbed out after the hour-mark.
Luke Shaw (7.0) –
Shaw’s doing a great job to nullify Leicester’s threat through his side and winning all the key duels today. Put in a great cross to create Fernandes’ chance in the 36th. Did well to create another one with an impressive cross in the 70th for Maguire’s attempt.
Defensively, Shaw absolutely shut down Albrighton’s threat and made some clutch tackles, dominating his side throughout the game. Seems to be getting better with every game.
Fred (7.0) –
The Brazilian is doing pretty well sitting ahead of his backline, winning back the ball and stopping Leicester form breaking through the middle. Played a great through ball to create Rashford’s attempt around the hour-mark. Fred supported his backline superbly and worked his socks off through the 90 minutes. Made some crunching tackles, kick-started counter-attacks and looked a reliable clog in midfield again.
Scott McTominay (6.0) –
Last week’s hero doesn’t have a similarly blistering start but is holding up well in midfield with his punchy challenges. But he could’ve done much better to deny Barnes’ strike and allowed him to take the shot too easily.
Kept up the energy levels in midfield and used his physicality well to win back possession in promising areas at times. While his defensive work was solid, he couldn’t add that attacking spark from the last game.
Bruno Fernandes (8.0) –
Bruno deserved an assist right in the second minute, but saw his perfect cross wasted by Rashford. But he got it anyway later on with a cheeky clutch pass to tee up Rashford’s opener. Got a decent scoring chance in the 37th, but his skimmed header went wide.
But he gets his goal in the 79th, scoring well from close range to help United retake their lead. While maybe a bit lucky not to get sent off (for his persistent fouls), Fernandes was still the best player on the pitch and his positive influence made United kept going forward all game long.
Anthony Martial (5.0) –
Martial looks promising with his hold-up play and movement early on. But his indecisiveness in the final third caused for a few frustrating moments in the first half. Was able to score in the 61st but saw his goal ruled out for offside. He looked slow on occasions and just couldn’t snatch any definitive chances for himself in a frustrating game.
Dan James (4.5) –
James gets to keep his place in the lineup after scoring against Leeds. Moved the ball well into the central areas to allow Bruno to assist Rashford’s strike. But he offered no real threat in the attack, wasting counter-attacks and being bullied by the Leicester defenders.
Marcus Rashford (7.0) –
Had a huge chance to score in the second minute but horribly put a simple header over the bar from close. But Rashford didn’t miss his second big chance in the 23rd, finishing well from close range to redeem himself.
He got a chance to score around the hour-mark after going one-v-one with Schmeichel, but saw his thunderous shot saved brilliantly. Rashford could’ve had a hattrick if more clinical on the day, but he did get one goal and his impressive off-the-ball movement created some good chances too.
Paul Pogba (6.0) –
Pogba added a bit more energy and fluency to United’s attack after coming on and helped them dominate more of the possession. Despite making a few fancy passes, he couldn’t really create anything definitive.
Axel Tuanzebe (5.0) –
The youngster had to fill in at the right-back role for the injured Lindelof and was unlucky to see Vardy’s attempt deflect off him into the net for an own-goal. Otherwise, he did well to nullify Barnes’ threat and kept things quiet on his side.
Edinson Cavani (7.0) –
Makes instant impact after coming on, dropping down well before picking out a perfect through ball for Fernandes to score. His energy was palpable and his movement created Leicester quite a few problems towards the end. An impressive super-sub performance.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Bruno Fernandes was again at the thick of things in attack for United, creating all the definitive chances and pumping in positivity in the final third. Could’ve gotten sent off on another day, but he didn’t and got a goal+assist today, so he definitely deserves the MOTM today.