After defeats yesterday for both Arsenal and Liverpool, it was imperative Manchester United collect all three points at the home of the champions.
Leicester made a decent start and United struggled to break down Claudio Ranieri’s side but two quickfire goals shortly before half-time from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent the Reds on their way.
Juan Mata added a third after the break and the away side cruised to a 3-0 win.
Mourinho’s Decisiveness Pays Dividends
A 4-4-2 formation is becoming increasingly popular again across continental Europe and Jose Mourinho opted to adopt United’s style after a couple of stagnant performances. It didn’t work. Their play was even more disjointed while Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford looked isolated up front.
But the Special One recognised it and his switch to a 4-2-3-1 changed the game. Under Louis van Gaal, we’d be months down the line before the Iron Tulip had seen the error of his ways. Jose saw it after 20 minutes.
United’s Best Had A Much-Needed Good Day
When Manchester United were on their winning run, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata and Paul Pogba were all at the peak of their powers. With the slight exception of Pogba (the Frenchman was relatively quiet), they thrived today.
The trio all notched important goals after some risible performances in midweek.
Leicester Are In Serious Trouble
We didn’t only discover this today but the champions’ struggles were made even clearer as they produced one of the worst defensive performances from any home side this year. Devoid of any energy, intensity or creativity, only Crystal Palace look worse at the moment.
Their clash with Swansea next weekend is as important as any of last season’s scalps. Lose there and they’ll have a massive struggle on their hands.
The Visitors Didn’t Miss Michael Carrick
Michael Carrick, along with Pogba and Ibrahimovic, was imperative during his side’s great Christmas form but has been poor recently. He was omitted on Sunday and rightfully so. With Ander Herrera’s ever-improving defensive capabilities, it wasn’t the defence that missed him but the world’s most expensive player.
Pogba missed his stability at times but ahead of him, the attackers prospered with the extra body going forward. It would have been unthinkable a month ago that the former Spurs man be left out and his side still get a win. Today, United proved they can survive without him.
Mourinho’s Men Will Tear Someone Apart Someday
The Reds put three past Leicester but it easily could have been more. They eased off in the second half but still managed to cut the hosts open, almost at will but their finishing let them down at times when they found themselves in advanced positions. Some team will arrive at Old Trafford this season and get an absolute mauling when United take every chance they look at.
Rory Murphy, Pundit Arena