After a shaky start, the men in blue actually looked the better team for a short spell, which was then unfortunately punctuated in the 22nd minute with a headed goal for Chris Smalling, from a corner.
The goal seemed to change the flow of the game, and the Red Devils took control again. Their passing was crisp and precise, where Leicester’s touch consistently let them down.
United’s pressure eventually told with a second goal, from a great finish by Juan Mata, in the side for the dropped Wayne Rooney.
What was to follow was an embarrassment for Leicester City and their fans. Heads dropped and their opposition completely dominated the game. This spell of control lead to two more corners and, in turn, two more goals, after woeful defending.
The 3rd goal, scored by Marcus Rashford, was particularly awful, as Leicester were caught napping by a short corner and didn’t seem to react until the ball was in the net. £100m Paul Pogba added the 4th.
4-0 down at half time, Ranieri rung the changes, bringing on Andy King and Demarai Gray for Vardy and Mahrez. It was pretty gutting to see the manager making changes that suggest he’d be happy if it stayed 4-0. Any hope of recovery, even to a closer loss, surely relied upon Leicester’s best attacking players.
While no more goals were conceded, it’s hard to say whether the switch to a 3-man midfield worked, because Man Utd had switched off by that point and coasted through the second half.
There was one bright spot, however, as young winger Gray cut in off the left and powered a fantastic long range shot into the top corner. He really does look like he’ll become a great player.
The celebrations were fairly muted, and rightly so, as Leicester were soundly thrashed in the run up to a Champions League fixture for the second time in a row. Are the Foxes taking their eyes off the league?
Ranieri’s post match comments will only have added fire to that speculation, as he admitted that he did replace Vardy and Mahrez to save their legs in a game that was already over.
At half time, the match was gone. I took off Vardy and Mahrez to preserve them for Tuesday. I want them to be strong vs. Porto
Overall, this was a difficult one to watch. The whole game was undone by terrible set piece defending but, if we’re honest, they were also comfortably outplayed for most of the first half.
We can only hope that, just like last time, the Champions League will wake the side up and stir them into some better performances. We’ll need one against Porto for certain.