Manchester United have their equations set for today – win against Leicester City and finish the Premier League season in the top-3. Or they can draw to guarantee a place in the Champions League next season. They were able to grind out a 2-0 win, finishing a very topsy-turvy Premier League season on 3rd place!
The Red Devils were sloppy again in the first-half, barely being able to get into Leicester’s box and looking nervous defensively. United looked like they would be willing to take a draw, but some clever pressing work helped them get the ball back and send Anthony Martial into the box in the 67th minute before the Frenchman was fouled inside the area. Bruno Fernandes took the penalty, giving United the lead with 20 minutes remaining!
Leicester piled everything forward in look for a goal, but were unable to get it done as Jesse Lingard scored a second at the very end to seal off the win. United’s entire season was perhaps summed up best in this win. A bit fortunate, quite sloppy but brilliant work towards the end helps United gain their best PL finish since 2017/18! Europa League there to play for (as a pre-season tournament) next month now.
Manchester United Player Ratings
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (6.5) –
Solskjaer was (predictably) spot on with his decision making on the lineup but he didn’t send out the players with enough motivation to burst through at a sloppy Leicester defence. Sent the boys out strong after a bad first-half and was clever with keeping Fernandes on to score his penalty. It looked at times he was playing for a draw (which is wrong) but his tactics towards the end was compelling.
He deserves a lot of praise for helping United to finish 3rd after a dismal first-half of the season. Definitely looks capable of competing at the top now!
David de Gea (6.0) –
Nothing dodgy today please! He was a bit nervy at times, but ultimately made no error and was strong with his collecting. He ends the PL season with as many clean-sheets as Alisson in a stat that probably nobody can gulp.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (7.5)-
Wan-Bissaka looks much better defensively today, timing his crunching tackles way better to stop Leicester’s flow through his side. Spider-Wan was back today with his brilliant tackle, winning almost everything on his side and nullifying the Foxes’ movement through that side. Still a bit lacking going forward but proved why United paid so much for him with a stellar defensive display.
Harry Maguire (6.5) –
Returns to his former home ground today. Showed signs of early nerves with an unnecessary booking for a reckless challenge in the 9th. But he strengthened up mentally after that, maintaining a great defensive line for his side. A bit shaky with his movement, but he won nearly every aerial duel and dealt with Vardy’s threat really well.
Victor Lindelof (7.5) –
The Swede looks fired up against Vardy today, nullifying his threat in the first-half with his composed defending. Definitely United’s best defender on the day, looking unfazed at Leicester’s onslaught and forcing the Foxes out. Did a real number to frustrate Vardy, covered a lot of ground to make up for his teammates and made a terrific blocks & clearances during tense scenarios.
Brandon Williams (6.5)–
Williams is energetic as ever with his forward movement but lacking that spark in the final third. Was caught two-footed with his decision making at times and allowed a few Leicester moves to be created through his side much better. Needs to improve his defending to challenge for this position next season.
Nemanja Matic (7.0) –
Displayed his creative side with a few nice passes to Martial early on. But almost caused disaster in the 14th when he gave away the ball inside United’s box but lucky to see Leicester scuff the opportunity. After early nerves, Matic stuck his feet into the ground to help United parry out the onslaught. Made some great interceptions, cleared danger from set-pieces and helped his side maintain a strong defensive line. Put his experience to best use.
Paul Pogba (7.0) –
Has a lot to do to redeem his poor showing against West Ham. Looks much brighter with his movement today. Played a few gorgeous through-balls into the box but wasn’t rewarded for either. Moved around the ball well and didn’t buckle under pressure either. Maintained calm in United’s midfield and helped see off the result pretty well.
Bruno Fernandes (7.0) –
Bruno’s been really good away from home since the restart. Needs to turn up today. Played a nice ball to Martial for his chance late in the first-half. Looked sloppy all game with his frustrating misplaced passes but found Martial perfectly to win the penalty. Scored it superbly as well. Not at his best (or fittest) but his sublime penalty got the job done!
Mason Greenwood (6.5) –
The youngster is displaying plenty of work-rate from the get-go. Scuffed a difficult header over the bar in the 11th. Played a beautiful through-ball to Martial in the 57th but unluckily not rewarded for it. Brilliant pressing to dispossess Hamzah Choudhary to kick-off the move leading up to the penalty. Put in a tenacious shift, showcasing silky first-touch and tormenting young Luke Thomas really well.
Anthony Martial (7.0) –
Bit isolated in the first half but received a big chance towards the end, with his powerful strike deflected wide of the target. Got through on goal a couple of times early in the second-half but just couldn’t convert. But he earned the penalty well by driving through on goal before being fouled by two defenders. Didn’t get involved too much, but clever whenever he got the ball.
Marcus Rashford (6.0) –
Popped up a lovely through-ball into Greenwood in the 11th but couldn’t see it converted. Got a brilliant goal-scoring chance in the 42nd and even tricked a defender, but scraped his wide of the target. Struck a thunderous shot in added time of first-half, but saw his shot saved brilliantly. Not as menacing with his forward runs today and looked a bit sluggish again.
Jesse Lingard (6.5) –
Did absolutely nothing after coming on but lady luck favoured him at the very end, as he capitalized on Schmeichel mistake to score his FIRST LEAGUE GOAL OF THE SEASON at the very end. What a (weird) guy!
Scott McTominay (6.5) –
Added a bit more steel to United’s midfield with his introduction, winning a lot of challenges and getting Jonny Evans sent off towards the end.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah (N/R) –
Brought on towards the end.
Odion Ighalo (N/R) –
Brought on very late to make any impact.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Victor Lindelof was a brick wall in United’s defence and helped them endure the pressure. He pocketed Vardy and helped calm Maguire’s nerves as well. He’s my MOTM for today!