Manchester United were beaten 3-1 by Leicester City in the quarter-final of the Emirates FA Cup ending Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s hope of lifting the FA Cup this season. Kelechi Iheanacho scored a brace in the match, opening the scoring and scoring the third goal of the game. Mason Greenwood equalised for United in the 38th minute of the match, giving United a chance of getting something from the match. Youri Tielemans put Leicester back in the lead and it was something that United could not cope with. They now have two weeks with no club football to get over this and the fatigue of the past few weeks with United playing two matches a week the majority of the time. The agendas will be out during that time but the snooze button will be pressed.
United started the match positively after their Italian adventure on Thursday evening which saw them reach the quarter-final of the UEFA Europa League. However, Leicester soon got into the game with Jamie Vardy seeking to find an early goal, darting in behind Harry Maguire, looking for Kelechi Iheanacho in the middle but Alex Telles got inn there to clear the danger. The flag was then raised for offside. Leicester then started to gain some traction in the match with United making many sloppy mistakes. Fred was passing poorly and generally playing badly along with a few of his teammates. Leicester opened the scoring in the 24th minute with Iheanacho beating Dean Henderson after Maguire fed Fred the ball and he played it back into the box
United started to go forward to get an equaliser, playing a better brand of football with Mason Greenwood seeing Kasper Schmeichel made a save to deny him, palming the ball away. Minutes later, Maguire was booked for a challenge, which seemed a bit of a tough card, but not my decision to call. Leicester then tried to get forward again with Marc Albrighton playing the ball to the edge of the box which was eventually blocked. United got their equaliser, though Greenwood in the 38th minute of the match after Pogba beat his man, played the ball into Donny van de Beek, who stepped over the ball with Greenwood beating Schmeichel to put United level in the match. It was a good goal for the forward, his first for the club since January.
There was a few chances towards the end of the half and two minutes of added time were played. At the start of the second half, there were no changes made by either manager with the winner of this match facing Southampton in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, which will be played on either Saturday 17 April or Sunday 18 April 2021. United conceded a second goal to Leicester in the 52nd minute of the match with Youri Tielemans beating Henderson with the United goalkeeper unable to get a glove on the ball. Iheanacho got the assist for Leicester’s goal, which meant United would need to do a lot more to get level again, then seek the winner in this match. Solskjaer will not be all that impressed in what he has seen from his players.
United seemed determined to get back in the game, getting forward but not finding many chances. United won a corner, which was taken by Alex Telles, and came to nothing with Solskjaer readying four substitutions. They were made in the 64th minute with Luke Shaw replacing Telles, Scott McTominay replacing Pogba, Bruno Fernandes replacing Nemanja Matic and Edinson Cavani replacing Van de Beek. Albrighton became the first Leicester player to be booked in the 69th minute of the match for time wasting. Three minutes later, McTominay was booked for a challenge on Ayoze Perez, which seemed a harsh booking for the United player. United would need to dig deep and get something from this match, otherwise their FA Cup pursuit would be over.
Leicester scored a third goal which Iheanacho headed in, beating Henderson at the far post from Albrighton’s free-kick, which was misjudged by McTominay. It was such a poor goal for United to give away, they seem unable to deal with set pieces, which asks many questions of the players on the pitch and the coaches. This United side have been unlocked by Leicester too many times, which leaves the home side on top and cruising to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, giving United a free weekend in April, which might not be all that bad. Solskjaer made his final change in the 84th minute of the match with Amad Diallo replacing Fred, who did not have the best of appearances and will raise many questions about United’s midfield.
Goals: Kelechi Iheanacho 24′, 78′, Youri Tielemans 52′; Mason Greenwood 38′
Assists: Kelechi Iheanacho 52′, Marc Albrighton 78′
Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles (Shaw 64′); Matic (Fernandes 64′), Fred (Diallo 84′); Greenwood, Van de Beek (Cavani 64′), Pogba (McTominay 64′); Martial
Substitutes Not Used: De Gea; Williams, Tuanzebe; James
Bookings: Marc Albrighton 69′, Jonny Evans 76′; Harry Maguire 30′, Scott McTominay 72′
Written by John Walker