Man United Make The Most of Moscow’s Mediocrity

Manchester United travelled to Russia’s capital to face CSKA Moscow. The Reds would be playing in a city that holds many memories for the club and would no doubt be hoping to create more happy memories, securing another three points in the process.

United’s European campaign started with a comfortable 3-0 win over Swiss champions, FC Basel at Old Trafford a fortnight ago and Mourinho’s men will want to continue their excellent start to the season.

Mourinho’s Modifications

The Boss opted to change up the starting eleven, as well as the formation compared to the usual 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3. Blind, Lindelof and Smalling all returned to the side in defence, alongside Eric Bailly and Ashley Young who retained their place from the weekend’s game at Southampton. Mourinho’s choice of defensive personnel made it clear, he was going for a more versatile 3-4-3, with players that can evolve and move into other positions if need be.

The midfield was also mildly dissimilar to the one we seen at the beginning of the season with Nemanja Matic starting, who has became a mainstay in the United team so far this season, partnered with Ander Herrera. Young and Blind were the duo selected to operate as wing backs on either flank.

We also seen a refreshed front three with Anthony Martial coming into the forward line to play with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Belgian talisman, Romelu Lukaku. All three have had a fine start to the season and will inevitably be aiming to continue their form against CSKA.

Goals Come Early

Four minutes into the game and United took the lead, through none other than Romelu Lukaku, who has recently been the subject of much debate over a song about him that is rightly deemed offensive and racially stereotypical. The man has done himself no harm, deflecting the attention away from the drama and back to his unbelievable goal-scoring ability.

The former Everton striker’s goal came from an exemplary floated ball in from Martial, which allowed the on-form number nine to get up and put the ball past Russian national team captain, Igor Akinfeev. Manchester United doubled their lead shortly after when Mkhitaryan was brought down by a rather poor tackle from CSKA wing back, Georgi Shchennikov and won United a penalty. Martial stepped up and put the keeper the wrong way, in his usual ‘cool as you like’ manner.

The sensational start continued with a third goal for United and a second for Lukaku. The Lukaku-Martial combination was prominent again, as the 21 year-old whipped in another dangerous cross, which Berezutski failed to clear when he completely missed the ball, allowing United’s most expensive player of the summer to score his tenth goal in nine games.

However, despite all the goals going in at one end, David De Gea was also forced into action a few times. The best of the lot came from an effort from Vitinho, who hit a shot from the edge of the box which looked certain to be going in, until the Spaniard leapt up and got a hand to the ball to tip it over the bar.  

This was probably the perfect opening half for Manchester United away in Russia which was expected to be a tough fixture, nonetheless United made it look easy and rolled over CSKA Moscow. The Russian side may have been shocking at times defensively but caused their fair share of problems for the Red Devils’s defense, yet it was the latter who troubled more and took their chances.

The Second Coming

The fourth goal came in the 57th minute after yet another astonishing run which resulted in his shot being saved, only Mkhitaryan to follow up and strike the ball home. This Jose Mourinho’s side 4-0 up and sailing, allowing the Gaffer to make his changes. Lingard came on for Mkhitaryan, Darmian replaced Young and Rashford entered the fray in place of a hobbling, Martial.

CSKA Moscow grabbed a late consolation through 19 year-old, Konstantin Kuchaev who finished well, after a ball over the top fell to the youngster who slotted the ball through the legs of David De Gea, who was great across the course of the ninety minutes overall.

United’s Star Men Step Up!

Manchester United were near-perfect, with more or less all of the game’s best moments seeming to feature Anthony Martial. The boy from the suburbs of Southern France was spectacular from the first minute to the last, involved in almost every attack his side has in the 72 minutes he played.

Martial was key to all the goals United scored; assisting two, scoring one and going on a jinking run through the Moscow defence before firing shot that was saved and fell to Mkhitaryan to fire in. He completed six dribbles, created five chances, in addition to the contributions mentioned above.

The midfield duo was also crucial to the result United earned. Herrera and Matic controlled the game and simply dominated the midfield. The pair retained the ball efficiently whenever United lost it and kept it effectively whenever they were in possession.

Matic moved the ball with beautiful accuracy and purpose, while Ander Herrera appeared to have regained his sharpness, moving the ball with pace and playing it through to the attackers, allowing them to strut their stuff.

Another obvious pick who impressed many was Romelu Lukaku, who was as mentioned before already in great form and continued it in this game, scoring after four minutes. He then bagged a second after CSKA’s defence faltered and he pounced to tap the ball home.

The Antwerp-born forward bagged his ninth and tenth goal in nine games. This statistic is simply astounding considering United legend, Sir Bobby Charlton bagged nine goals in his first nine games.

Lukaku looks to be in the form of his life, whilst not only being amongst the goals but also appears to be pivotal in link up play. He has also surprised a few with his work rate and his tireless running upfront when closing down, which is a nice change for United fans after a season of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

David De Gea was also in tip-top form, making some eye-brow raising saves which most would not expect him to make. Despite conceding the late goal, the Spaniard should be void of criticism after the saves he has made in recent games. It is clear he wants the title of best goalkeeper in the world and will certainly want to be in with a shout for the golden glove at the end of the Premier League season.

What Does This Mean For United Now?

Manchester United can celebrate another great performance despite leaking in the dying moments. They now have six out of six points, scoring seven in the process and conceding only one. Mourinho will be subtly satisfied despite putting on a dim facade to the public. However, he will have spotted United’s late defensive vulnerability and will want to patch that up as soon as possible.

Reds around the world will be delighted with the form shown by their side, scoring 29 goals in 10 games overall this season which compared to last season is breathtaking progress. It took MUFC 19 games last season to score the same amount. The progress is there for all to see, but will it be enough to earn United a place in the latter stages of the Champions League? The upcoming games will tell us more…

Follow @UnitedScotsman on Twitter for more news, views and opinions on all things United related.

 

Advertisements

Valencia Screamer Sets United On Way To Rout

Manchester United 4-0 Everton

By Harry Ogilvie

  • Valencia, Mkhitaryan, Lukaku and Martial all net in 4-0 win
  • Three points see United level on points with City

Manchester United set up to play their third game in eight days. Against against a seasoned yet unsteady Everton side managed by former Southampton manager, Ronald Koeman.

Jose Mourinho would be sure to want to beat his Dutch counterpart after failing to win against a side managed by him since he came to England.

The United boss opted for a rather attacking side with Valencia and Young at full-back and Fellaini over a more defensive option in Ander Herrera.

The front four consisted of Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata on the wings with Mkhitaryan operating in the number ten role and former-Evertonian, Romelu Lukaku. Everton’s team also featured former United player and legend, Wayne Rooney.

This would be the Englishman’s first appearance back at Old Trafford since rejoining his boyhood club.

As Mourinho said prior to the game. Rooney would get the reception he deserves and rightly so after all he done during his time at Manchester United.

However, as the game kicked off and the minutes ticked by, it became evident as to why United had let their club record goalscorer go. He appeared way off the pace physically and could not move the ball at the pace required.

Valencia Screamer Sets United On Way

The whole Everton side did not start particularly well as United dominated possession and in the third minute they took the lead through a devastating hit from Antonio Valencia.

Nemanja Matic swung the ball across the field. It sat up nicely for the Ecuadorian who rocketed the ball past Jordan Pickford through sheer power.

This put Manchester United 1-0 up with a very long period of the game still to go.

Valencia’s goal would make Everton come out and attack United. Leaving space and areas further forward for United’s attacking players to take advantage of.

After the goal Mourinho’s side maintained the pressure.

Wave after wave of attack with Lukaku coming very close to making it 2-0. The Red Devil’s dangermen continued to look threatening with Mkhitaryan and Rashford constantly finding themselves in promising positions with little end product.

The blue Merseyside men came close once in the the first half, with Cuco Martina finding space out wide and cutting the ball back for Rooney. Who placed his shot inches wide of the post.

Apart from this well worked opportunity, Everton created very little.

United went in the more happy of the two sides with a 1-0 advantage despite missing chances and wasting opportunities in promising positions.

The Blue side of Liverpool may also have felt fortunate to only be 1-0 down.

Everton Start Second-Half The Better

Koeman’s men came flying out the blocks in the second half and looked to be playing with far more purpose compared to their first half performance.

They appeared to be closing the ball down much faster and came close a second time, through Rooney again.

Everton’s confidence was clearly improving as they came into the game, keeping possession more effectively and moving the ball with more speed.

Despite not doing much with possession, they were clearly keeping the ball better than United.

This provoked Mourinho to make some changes with Lingard coming on for Rashford to help Young out defensively down the left and Herrera on for Mata to regain possession and dominate the midfield again.

Lingard was right into the action, winning fouls, getting into good positions as well as getting into strong shooting positions.

The United youth product also had penalty appeal waved away after a risky challenge from Ashley Williams.

Mkhitaryan, Lukaku and Martial Put Gloss On Win

In the 83rd minute, United doubled their lead, as the Lukaku received the ball on the edge of the box and neatly slipped in Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who finished expertly.

This was a typical Jose Mourinho side performance. Winning despite not playing particularly well.

Romelu Lukaku went from creator to goalscorer, after his free kick hit the wall and fell to Matic. Who crossed the ball in. Lingard then flicked the ball on to the back post where Lukaku finished comfortably to put his new side 3-0 up. Before pedalling away to celebrate.

Two minutes later, United broke away on a counter attack after an Everton corner.

Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial were the pair leading the charge. Martial cut inside, causing former red, Schneiderlin to slide in and in doing so, the Frenchman’s hand stroked the ball. Causing Marriner to point to the spot.

Manchester United had gone from struggling to hold on to their 1-0 lead to winning 4-0 with a minute left of added time. This game was similar to the Swansea game this season. Where there was another late flurry of goals.

Matic Impresses Once Again

The best performance of the game came from Nemanja Matic.

The Serbian international covered every blade of grass. He bagged an assist, completed 72 passes and was the one player who was brilliant throughout the whole game.

His positioning, defensive contribution and work rate was flawless from the first minute to the last.

The holding midfielder was seen in both boxes repeatedly throughout the game, creating chances in and around Everton’s box and breaking up attacks on the edge our box.

The Manager’s View

Jose Mourinho said his side were “ultra dominant” and if we were two or three up inside the first half an hour, it would have been a clear reflection of the “fantastic football” played.

When asked about Paul Pogba, the boss said “I don’t know if it is twelve weeks or twelve days honestly, so any rumours are clearly wrong.”

He was also asked about why Martial took the penalty: “The penalty taker today was Juan Mata, but he was out so I let the players take the decision. It is nice for Anthony Martial, fine for me, no problem.”

Match Reflection

Ultimately, the scoreline flattered a largely underwhelming displayed from Manchester United despite a breath taking early strike from Antonio Valencia.

Having said that, the side deserve credit for their mentality. They refused to give up and kept applying pressure when in good positions.

Eventually this paid off and after the Mkhitaryan goal, the pressure and worry of conceding an equaliser was lift. This allowed them to go out and take advantage of the spaces Everton were leaving when going forward.

Another game. Another 4-0 win from Mourinho’s men and of course, another quietly excellent game from Nemanja Matic.

Follow @UnitedScotsman on Twitter for more news, views and opinions on all things United related

Another Three Goals, Another Three Points

Manchester United 3-0 FC Basel

By Harry Ogilvie

  • United open Champions League campaign with three goals and three points
  • Fellaini, Lukaku and Rashford on the scoresheet
  • United loose Pogba to suspected hamstring injury

Manchester United were back in the Champions League for the first time in what feels like forever. As the Champions League song rang around the ground, the camera panned along the United starting team.

Jose Mourinho opted for a completely new back four to the Stoke game on Saturday. The defence consisted of David De Gea, Daley Blind, Chris Smalling, Ashley Young and of course, Victor Lindelof.

This was the Swede’s first appearance of the season since the Super Cup final against Real Madrid. Lindelof was partnered by Smalling against a Basel side United fans knew little about.

The two holding midfielders remained the same as the weekend: Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic. The front four featured Mata, Mkhitaryan, Martial and an on-form, Romelu Lukaku.

This was as predicted a strong, attacking side which is no less than what United fans were expecting. Manchester United from the first minute looked comfortable, confident and purposeful.

The best opportunity of the opening exchanges came from Mkhitaryan who hit the post from close range then had his rebound saved.

It was a beautiful move from United, with Lindelof starting it with an elegant floated ball into the chest of Lukaku who knocked the ball inside for Mkhitaryan.

Pogba Departs, Enter Fellaini

The chances continued to flow until the game stopped when Pogba appeared to go down holding his hamstring. This was a sight all United fans would undoubtedly feared to see before the game. However, this was very much a reality.

The lanky Frenchman ended up hobbling off the pitch and straight down the tunnel. He was replaced by another tall, French speaking baller, Marouane Fellaini.

Pogba’s replacement quickly made a nuisance of himself by getting on the end of an inch perfect cross from Ashley Young to make it 1-0 United.

One of the few players remaining from the Fergie era. This was Young’s first start since Swansea last April and was an impressive one.

The sides went in 1-0 at the break with Manchester United very much the dominant side.

The play appeared to be quite comfortably controlled by the United midfield and chances being made regularly by the front four despite the loss of Pogba.

Lukaku Makes It Two

United began the second half, just as they finished the second, with clear attacking intent. Romelu Lukaku quickly doubled their lead less than 10 minutes into the second half.

Blind, who has recently been criticised for his poor delivery, whipped in a sublime cross which left Lukaku to power the ball home from close range.

The clinical Belgian nearly grabbed his second goal of the night in the 63rd minute when he had another header saved by Basel keeper’, Vaclík.

Basel created very little themselves, however United’s sloppiness, gave them their first good opportunity to shoot at De Gea’s goal. Fortunately for Mourinho, De Gea came to the rescue to parry the ball over the bar.

United appeared to take their foot off the gas as the clock hit the 70 minute mark.

Mourinho’s men continued to dominate the ball and both sides began to make their changes with Rashford and Lingard coming on for United, to replace Mata and Martial.

Rashford Wraps Up The Three Points

Substitute, Marcus Rashford quickly made it 3-0 five minutes after coming on. The youngster scuffed the ball into the roof of the net after a incisive ball from Lukaku, through to Fellaini who knocked the ball inside for Rashford to finish.

“Our Kid” has now scored on his Europa League debut, Premier League debut, FA Cup debut, League Cup debut, England under 21 debut, England senior squad debut and now his Champions League debut.

This is an exceptional feat that few players can boast.

Impressive Performers

After Paul Pogba went off, United required a big performance from Marouane Fellaini when he replaced him. Mourinho needed him to go on and dominate the midfield, the way Pogba has done this season.

Thankfully, Fellaini played a blinder and proved anyone who doubted him wrong.

The 31 year old was brilliant once he got on, causing havoc in the box, controlling the midfield with Matic as well as winning the ball in the air and making 2 successful interceptions.

Fellaini scored arguably the most important goal of the game, breaking the deadlock and forcing Basel to come out and attack United, allowing his side to find more space in promising positions.

Romelu Lukaku was another who had a fantastic game. Fellaini’s fellow Belgian did everything that was asked of him: scored, held the ball up, brought others into play and considering it was his Champions League debut, he had an all round great game.

It is obvious Lukaku has worked on his game to ensure he can play at the level of previous world class number nines. The striker has evidently improved his close control and passing, in addition to keeping his clinical finishing sharp and accurate.

Victor Lindelof was another making his Manchester United, Champions League debut. Lindelof’s distribution is what impressed me most, attempting 75 passes, completing 93% of them.

The centre back also played one key pass, in addition to the several aerial battles he won and clearances he made.

Ashley Young also deserves a mention after a solid performance in his first appearance of the season after picking up an injury late last season. The Englishman swung in a sublime cross for the opening goal.

Did everything required of him defensively and put in several dangerous crosses after the Fellaini goal.

The Manager’s View

Jose Mourinho appeared pleased with his side’s victory saying “three points are important when you start the group phase at home. Until 2-0 we were very stable and played with confidence.”

However, he was not entirely pleased by any means. “After 2-0 we stopped playing, we stopped thinking on the pitch and could have put ourselves in trouble.”

“We made bad decisions and played fantasy football, playstation football. I don’t like that, it is a gamble.” Reflecting on the game he said “Overall the performance was solid.”

The boss admired the performance of Fellaini saying: “He is a player with special qualities, he gives me multiple areas of cover and philosophy on the pitch.” “He is one of my most important players, even if he doesn’t start every week.”

He followed this up with praise for Young: “Ashley gave us what Antonio would give us. I felt he could do the job perfectly and he did it.”

When asked about the Pogba injury, he said: “I haven’t spoken with the medical department, this is why we have a squad, we won’t cry about injuries.” There will be “No Paul on Sunday.”

Match Reflection

Another game for Mourinho’s men, another win and another clean sheet. This would have been the perfect start to Manchester United’s Champions League campaign, had star player, Paul Pogba avoided injury.

This will definitely make this victory less satisfying for most United fans especially considering the amount of fixtures United have coming up. Despite this, Mourinho will expect his side to pick up wins in all their upcoming games with or without Pogba.

Everton on Sunday without Paul Pogba will be Manchester United’s next test of the 2017/18 campaign. Reds should still be confident with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku and Henrikh Mkhitaryan available for selection.

Follow @UnitedScotsman on Twitter for more news, views and opinions on all things United related.

Perfect Beginning

Perfect Beginning

By Harry Ogilvie

  • Manchester United start the season with a perfect record
  • three wins, ten goals scored and none conceded

As we endure the dreaded International break. I will take a look back on United’s opening three fixtures and analyse their start to the 2017/18 Premier League season.

The side appear rejuvenated compared to last season and fans seem to sense something special happening at Old Trafford.

The signings of Lindelof, Lukaku and Matic. Manchester United seem to have recaptured what was lost when Sir Alex Ferguson left.

Jose Mourinho’s men have had the perfect start to the season. His side has played three, won three, scored ten and kept three clean sheets.

Pace Is Key!

They finally seem to have found the pace, power and penetration United’s attacks used to be renowned.

The speed and ability in the side is quite simply remarkable. Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku and even Jesse Lingard can all be superb assets to the side. Especially for counter attacks.

Mourinho is also blessed with some brilliant creativity to compliment our forward players with Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Nemanja Matic.

All the players mentioned can thread a pass through the eye of a needle and will be crucial to Manchester United’s attacks and have been so far.

The two additions that have been given their chance in the league so far have done nothing but impress.

Matic and Lukaku have been fantastic. Lukaku exploded on to the scene scoring two on his debut against West Ham and then another against Swansea. Putting him top of the goalscoring charts.

Matic Proving An Important Addition Already

Matic is the other signing who’s made a massive impact since signing for the club. Many reds were underwhelmed when Matic was announced. With United were previously linked with the likes of Fabinho and Eric Dier.

However, all fears and doubts were vanished after his performance against Real Madrid. Where he kept possession and moved the ball with ease and composure.

The Serbian has also proved to be a vital part of United’s perfect league start. He has been the player that has allowed Pogba to roam forward and offer his creativity and goal scoring ability when United are attacking.

This has already been made evident. As the Frenchman has bagged two goals and one assist in the three games we have played.

Last season, Paul Pogba was required to sit back a lot more and was unable to take up his free role, where he can roam forward as he pleases as United did not have a Matic-esque player (when Carrick was not playing).

Mkhitaryan Proving His Worth To Mourinho

Mkhitaryan is another player who has had an excellent start to the season, bagging 5 assists in 3 games. The Armenian has came to life in the final third with his vision and weight of pass.

He is one player who looks fresh and more threatening than ever. This is a refreshing sight for all United fans considering his lack of goal contributions in the league last season.

Manchester United have a number of serious attacking assets and now are looking like a real threat.

After four years of failed title challenges and dropping as low as 7th in the league, Mourinho finally has a United side looking capable of winning the league.

Jones And Bailly Looking Solid In Defence

In addition to striking the right balance in the attacking side of the team, it also appears the gaffer has found the perfect centre back partnership.

In the first three games, we have started with Eric Bailly and Phil Jones at centre back and they have more than repaid Jose’s faith in them.

The pairing have had a flawless start to the season, getting a clean sheet in every game so far.

The only question marks that may come up with regards to the centre back duo is injuries.

Phil Jones is known for picking up long term injuries especially when he hits a bit of form. Bailly is another who was slightly troubled by injuries last year. The Ivorian hobbled off in the 4-0 drubbing at Stamford Bridge and was out for six weeks.

However, that being said, if these two can remain fit Manchester United will have a terrific centre back partnership with the likes of Victor Lindelof, Axel Tuanzebe, Chris Smalling and even Marcos Rojo (when he returns from injury) available to come into the side if injury, suspension or loss of form does occur.

Strength Of Squad Will Be Needed

The depth in this squad is simply extraordinary. The centre back position is one with a clear amount of depth (shown in the above paragraph).

Centre midfield is another position where there are options aplenty with the likes of Pogba, Matic, Herrera, A. Pereira, Fellaini and of course, Michael Carrick.

There is also a vast array of attacking options especially after the addition of Romelu Lukaku and the extension of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s contract.

Manchester United have options in almost every position, which will be very important in an inevitably long season.

Left-Back May Be A Worry

Despite all the positives of the current United squad, there is still a clink in United’s armour.

This clink being the full back position. There may be a fair few options in each full back position but there are questions over the quality of these options considering how important these positions are in the modern game.

Antonio Valencia is a solid, reliable option at right back but in the game against Leicester, it was clear his crossing needs major work.

The Ecuadorian is perfectly capable at almost every other part of his game and if his crossing can improve, he could be a real threat. Darmian and Ashley Young are the other two options at right back.

As for the left back position, this is definitely United’s weakest area.

Daley Blind has been the player that has started there so far this season.

But he appears to lack the athleticism and crossing to be really effective at full back.The options for left back consists of Luke Shaw, Rojo (when fit), Demetri Mitchell and both Darmian & Young are also capable of playing left back.

Luke Shaw is an intriguing case. The player is only 22 years old and is clearly a talented full back but seems to be riddled by injuries.

Shaw appears to have had fitness problems for years, even when he was back at Southampton. But if he can get fit and firing, he would be a massive coup for United considering the lack of pace and attacking ability Blind possesses.

Title Challenge Is On But It’s Only A Start

Ultimately, it is clear Manchester United are very much in contention for the Premier League title after an excellent start.

There is still 35 games to be played but United have started as they mean to go on, scoring goals galore, keeping clean sheets and back to playing the frightening attacking football that they were once known for.

The fear factor is back at Old Trafford. And with Mourinho at the helm, United fans believe anything is possible.

Follow @UnitedScotsman on Twitter for more news, views and opinions on all things United related

Super Subs Rashford And Fellaini Seal Three Points

Manchester United 2-0 Leicester City

By Harry Ogilvie

  • Lukaku misses chance to open scoring from penalty spot
  • Rashford, Fellaini and Lingard all make impact from the bench

On the back of another 4-0 win against Swansea City after a late flourish of goals. Manchester United faced a tough Leicester City side.

Leicester came close to getting a result against Arsenal on the opening day of the season but just missed out. Losing 4-3, before beating Brighton 2-0 last weekend.

Jose Mourinho opted largely for the same side that earned him two big wins in the first two games of the season.

The one change he made was Rashford out for Anthony Martial. The Frenchman had been very dangerous and effective when coming off the bench, scoring against both Swansea and West Ham.

However, Marcus Rashford may feel hard done by as in a rather lacklustre first half against Swansea. He looked to be the only threat despite not having the cutting edge to finish his one-on-one chance against Fabianski.

But many reds still believe Martial was getting the start he deserved as he looked terrific in the minutes he played.

The rest of the side remained the same. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku all retaining their places after strong starts to the season.

The back four also remained the same. Made up of Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Daley Blind with Matic and Pogba in the holding midfield role.

United Control Possession

United appeared comfortable and confident in possession in the opening 20 minutes. With Pogba going close with a couple of shots and Mata having a goal disallowed after a Schmeichel save from a powerful effort from Lukaku.

Although United were getting plenty chances, the sides went in 0-0 at half-time.

As the game restarted. United continued to dominate possession.

Leading to Martial firing a cross off the hand of Danny Simpson to win a penalty. Lukaku’s penalty was saved well by Kasper Schmeichel, son of United legend, Peter Schmeichel.

The Reds eventually broke the deadlock, thanks to Marcus Rashford who came on for Juan Mata. The goal came in the 70th minute, from a Mkhitaryan corner as the Leicester defence left Rashford unmarked to volley home.

The second goal came 12 minutes later from another substitute, Marouane Fellaini who came on for Mkhitaryan in the 74th minute.

The goal came from a Jesse Lingard cross, which allowed Fellaini to stick his thigh out and send it goal-wards to put United 2-0 up.

Jose Mourinho’s men saw the game out comfortably and continued to create chances after the second goal.

Many fans of the club will no doubt have been worried after the Lukaku penalty miss and painful memories of last season’s game against Bournemouth.

But the Portuguese manager’s substitutions made the desired impact with both Rashford and Fellaini scoring and Lingard supplying the assist. Hence why the boss deserves plenty of credit for today’s result.

Bailly And Jones Impressive Once Again

First mentionable performance came from the centre backs again. Who continued their fine start to the season, earning themselves their third clean sheet in three games.

Eric Bailly was as brilliant as ever. Using his athleticism and strength to deal with Jamie Vardy upfront as well as using his more technical abilities to build attacks from the back by constantly playing intricate passes forward.

Phil Jones partnered the Ivorian and was equally as good. The pair dominated Leicester and countered any of their attacking threats perfectly.

The Englishman made a few marauding runs forward. In addition to all his great defensive work including several interceptions, tackles and headers.

Pogba, Mata And Martial Put In Strong Performances

Paul Pogba also deserves a mention after another strong performance in the middle of midfield with Matic.

The French midfielder was especially good in the first half, Making superb runs that allowed him to be available on the edge of the box to fire shots at the Leicester goal.

Despite no attempts going in, the intelligence to find the space deserves credit.

Juan Mata was also impressive constantly looking dangerous and creative. The playmaker always appeared to be trying to create something and make the forward pass, rather than playing the simple sidewards pass.

Martial is another player who deserves a mention after a great first half which saw him create four chances. More than anyone else.

The winger also kept possession effectively and his decision making ensured he rarely lost the ball. This is an area Mourinho has clearly worked on with the 21 year old.

Substitutes Changed The Outcome

The three substitutions also deserve credit for obvious reasons, predominantly for earning their team the result. Rashford added some much needed pace to the side and eventually bagged a goal after a decent instinctive finish.

Fellaini came on and constantly made forward runs to put the Leicester backline under pressure.

Fellaini’s determination to go forward also paid off after Lingard’s cross found him and allowed him to score.

Lingard added width, movement and energy to the side which is something that was also lacking beforehand.

The Manager’s View

Jose commented on the performance, saying his side “played very well”.

He continued saying “The result was open at 0-0 , the blue wall was very well organised, I give credit for that”, even after the penalty miss he says he “saw a confident team”.

The Portuguese said the “one word I can think to describe my team is solid.”

He continued to praise his substitutes saying “my players are on the bench waiting for the chance and they broke the wall, a very good wall.”

The boss also commented on his side’s progress since end of last season saying “the difference between last year is the quality of our football. We have the ball totally in our control.” He said he now likes his team “very very much”.

Match Reflection

Manchester United should be very pleased with their excellent start to the season. Mourinho clearly has this team fit and firing.

The Reds have won three games out of three, Earning three clean sheets and scoring ten goals in the process. As well as brilliant performances from certain individuals in the side every game.

United fans will be hoping their side can push on after the international break. And increase the gap between them and their rivals.

If all United players come back fit from the break then there is no reason they cannot push on. And really fight for the title with Mourinho at the helm.

Follow @UnitedScotsman on Twitter for more news, views and opinions on everything United related.