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Manchester United v Leicester City
Old Trafford, 11 August, 2018
|Manchester United||Full Time||Leicester City|
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Manchester United have survived a fright at the end of the EPL opener, coming away with a 2-1 victory over Leicester City at Old Trafford.
United came out of the gates all guns blazing and won a penalty in just the third minute thanks to a handball. With Paul Pogba making no mistake at the spot, they took the early lead.
Leicester then put together a strong half an hour, dominating the game, but were unable to score before the halftime break.
After the break, it was the Red Devils back on top of the game and when Luke Shaw scored in the 83rd minute, the game looked beyond all reasonable doubt.
A cross from Ricardo Pereira in the second minute of injury time which ended in a Jamie Vardy goal gave the visitors a brief flicker of hope, but with a final chance off a corner squandered, United survived to win the season opener.
Manchester United 2
Leicester City 1
The new English Premier League season will open at Old Trafford, with Manchester United set to take on Leicester City. Join The Roar for liver scores and coverage from 5am (AEST).
There has been plenty of doom and gloom surrounding the Red Devils heading into the new Premier League season.
For such a big club, anything less than the championship doesn’t seem to be good enough.
After becoming so accustomed to success under Sir Alex Ferguson, the last few years have been somewhat lean, and a quiet transfer window as well as some up and down pre-season results hasn’t helped the attitude of fans.
While United did finish in second spot last year, they were a distant 19 points behind cross-town rivals Manchester City, and the season was decided with some weeks still to run.
The Red Devils did make the FA Cup final, but that was about it as far as season achievements went for the proud club.
The major problem heading into the opener for United is their World Cup players. The last of them, including Paul Pogba, only began pre-season training earlier this week after the summer break, putting plenty of stress on combinations.
Alongside Ponga, Romelu Lukaku is likely to miss the opener with Alexis Sánchez and Juan Mata likely to join Marcus Rashford in attack.
They will form a dangerous trio up front and put plenty of pressure on Leicester, who struggled defensively during the last Premier League season.
Finishing in 11th spot – mid-table – wasn’t a terrible result for the side, but they will wonder what could have been after letting in 60 goals across the season.
If they can sharpen their defence, they will stand a chance of making the Europa League qualification mark, but then, their attack will be under heavy stress this week.
While they have lost Riyad Mahrez to Manchester City, both Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire are in the same boat as Pogba and Lukaku – only returning to pre-season training in the days leading up to the first game.
It means they could be unavailable, and with David De Gea in goals for the hosts, Leicester would have found it hard to crack them anyway.
While United have their fair share of issues heading into the 2018-19 season, they still should be able to account for Leicester fairly comfortably at home.
Manchester United 2 – Leicester City 0.
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