After Manchester United’s resurgent display against QPR last week, the Red Devil’s looked to continue their revival against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. But United suffered a shocking 5-3 loss away at Leicester City after some poor defending by the Red Devils. Radamel Falcao made his first start for the Reds while Juan Mata was sacrificed on the bench by Louis van Gaal.
The Foxes made an encouraging start buoyed by their home support, but it was United who stunned the crowd with two quick fire goals. Van Persie opened his account for the season by nodding home from close range after Radamel Falcao found him at the far post with a beautiful cross. Moments later Di Maria performed a sensational chip to lob Schmeichel and made it 2-0 in United’s favor after Wayne Rooney played the ball forward for the Argentinian inside the box.
It looked like United were going to run away with the game, but Leicester hit back immediately. Straight after the kick-off the Foxes attacked down the right hand side. Marcos Rojo allowed Jamie Vardy to run past him and put in a cross in the box. Vardy’s cross found Leonardo Ulloa, who powered his header into the back of the net to pull one back for Leicester City.
Both teams continued to create chances in a frantic first-half. Manchester United had to make an early change as Johnny Evans limped off and was replaced by Chris Smalling. Few minutes later Ritchie de Laet was booked for leaving his foot in while sliding for the ball with Tyler Blackett. De Laet was also lucky to escape another yellow card for a second challenge on Di Maria that left the United winger writhing in pain on the sideline.
The Reds finished the half controlling the possession and maintaining their 2-1 lead. They looked captivating going forward while fallible at times at the back. In a positive note, Tyler Blackett played an excellent half and looked matured beyond his years in the center of the defence.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first. Falcao nearly scored his first Manchester United goal with a stunning volley as his 18-yard strike from a Wayne Rooney pass deflected off the crossbar. Vardy continued to test United’s centre halves with his pace.
But United continued wow with their possession style of football. In a threatening attack, Ander Herrera showed his magic to restore United’s two goal cushion. Di Maria’s low strike was diverted by Herrera into Schmeichel’s goal with a cheeky deft back heel.
Leicester remained alive in the game after some shocking referring from Mark Clattenburg. His decision allowed David Nugent to blast home from the penalty spot. Rafael was fouled initially on the left hand side by Vardy but the referee failed to give anything; and following that incident, Clattenburg pointed to the spot after Vardy clearly dived inside the box.
The momentum shifted swiftly from there on. Leicester scored two goals within minutes to bring the home side level at 3-3. This time it was another Argentinian, Esteban Cambiasso who scored on his home debut after United failed to clear from inside the box.
With less than twenty minutes left, Van Gaal introduced Januzaj in place of Falcao. United continued to look shell-shocked and the game was still there to be won by both teams. Van Gaal took Di Maria off moments later as well to bring Juan Mata on.
It was pandemonium at the King Power Stadium in the second half as United allowed four goals within twenty minutes. De Laet robbed Mata off the ball and found Vardy through on goal. Vardy slotted home to give the Foxes a 4-3 lead as United’s defensive struggles continued. Manchester United’s day became even worse after Blackett was sent off for bundling Vardy over inside the box. Ulloa passed his spot kick into the corner to make it 5-3 as the Reds dramatic collapse continued. The game ended 5-3 as the home side took away a historic win against Manchester United.
It was all going so well for Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United but its back to square one after an embarrassing defeat for the Red Devils. Once the momentum shifted after Leicester’s second goal, United’s defence crumbled like a house of cards.
Mark Clattenburg had a poor day at the office today. He failed to send De Laet off for three bookable offences and awarded Leicester a game changing silly penalty. While the referring was Sunday League, United’s defending was equally shambolic. In Clattenburg’s last six games referring United, he has now sent off three United players and given five penalties against them.
United’s lack of planning in the transfer market has left them without a leader at the back and that was exposed by Leicester City today. The injury to Evans and Blackett’s suspension will compound further problems for The Red Devils. Wayne Rooney again had a forgettable outing. Van Gaal’s decision to leave him on the pitch, while taking off Falcao and Di Maria is sure to raise some questions.
In a game where United needed three points, they have now come away with a defeat. United must get their house in order for the next game if they are to keep their hopes alive for a top four finish. United face West Ham next in six days, who beat Liverpool 3-1 this weekend.