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Match Report: Leicester City 0 - 1 Manchester United

If you missed this match, no you didn’t.

Leicester City v Manchester United - Premier League
That sign in the background may not be accurate for much longer...
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Leicester City limped to a 1-0 defeat at home against Manchester United on Thursday evening. Jadon Sancho’s first-half strike was the only goal, and almost the only goalmouth action, in a match that might not feature on Match of the Day in spite of being the only match of the day.

I’ve heard eulogies that sounded less final.

Manager Brendan Rodgers raised some eyebrows with his lineup selection, offering no clue as to who might or might not be leaving before the close of the transfer window. New signing Wout Faes was not available for selection, so Wesley Fofana’s place was occupied by...Wilfred Ndidi. The starting XI: Danny Ward, James Justin, Ndidi, Jonny Evans (C), Luke Thomas, Boubakary Soumare, Youri Tielemans, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, and Jamie Vardy.

The first twenty minutes were contentious in tone but utterly devoid of quality. The KDH/Scott McTominay matchup was the headliner, but there were several undercards worth watching as well. Neither side conjured anything like a chance unless you count a Christian Erickson effort that was dragged wide and would have been chalked off as offside anyway.

United took the lead on 23’ in the simplest of fashions. Ward’s long clearance was nodded to Bruno Fernandes. The midfielder found Anthony Rashford in space and, with the Foxes struggling to get back and cover, he slipped a ball to Jadon Sancho. The England man rounded Ward and tapped the ball into the empty net. There was plenty of blame to go around: Ndidi was chasing the ball, Soumare was absent, and Ward sold himself way too easily.

Leicester City v Manchester United - Premier League
You might notice the lack of anyone between Sancho and the goal. That, as they say, “bodes ill.”
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

United were on the front foot for the rest of the half, more by default than any great display of quality on their part. City looked tentative, giving the ball away cheaply, out of shape defensively, and no two players on the same page. The xG total for the Foxes was 0.03, and to be honest, a tally which struck this observer as a bit generous given the run of play.

The Foxes started the second half the better side, pinning United deep in their own half for long periods of time. Unfortunately, this failed to translate into chances, or half-chances, or any fractional variety thereof.

The only plan seemed to be to try to win fouls in the United half and hope that Madders could score from a free kick. He tried mightily and came close once, but if that’s plan A, B, and C, you’re going to struggle. You’d have to go considerably deeper into the alphabet to find any other plan the Foxes had tonight.

The saving grace was that United were almost as dire as we were, so they seldom looked like extending their lead. However, as the match bore on, Leicester looked increasingly frustrated and ineffective and the Red Devils looked like they might get their second goal when Ronaldo came on. Depressingly, the Foxes looked very much like they were expecting that second goal.

Iheanacho came on for Tielemans with a quarter of the match to play, but if Leicester couldn’t get the ball to one striker, they were going to struggle to get it to two. Long balls from Ward were the order of the day, and those were meat and potatoes for the Maguire-less visitors.

Vardy’s last action of the night was to get clattered into by Tyrell Malacia, whose heavy touch allowed the former England man to win the ball. The referee blew for a foul against Vardy and, being Vardy, he reacted appropriately and got a yellow for his efforts. Patson Daka came on in his stead to chase the equaliser.

Leicester City v Manchester United - Premier League
When your coach tells you to get your body over the ball, this is precisely what they’re trying to teach you not to do.
Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

The Foxes finally carved out a real chance at the death with Daka laying the ball off for the onrushing Justin. Justin might have tried to return the ball to the former Salzburg man, but instead tried his luck and skied it well over. That was the last chance of the match, and, to be perfectly honest, pretty much the only chance we had all night.

If you hadn’t already figured it out, this was as dire a performance as I’ve seen from a Leicester side since...I honestly can’t remember. There were no ideas, no spark, no belief that anything good was going to happen. The individual performances weren’t terrible (Evans was quite good, in fact), but the team as a whole were poor. Everyone looked frustrated and angry.

Something is very, very wrong here.

I think this speaks for itself.

I’ll just come out and say it: I don’t think Brendan Rodgers will be in charge much longer. I have no opinion as to whether or not he’ll walk or get the sack, or whether or not he should stay. I just can’t believe that he’ll be at the helm next month given how the club looked tonight.

The defeat leaves us with a single point from the first five matches, which leaves us bottom of the table. I would say “nowhere to go but up,” but I’ve seen four separate occasions where that was not the case. We take on Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday at the Amex. On the 10th, we square off against Tottenham Hotspur at the King Power.