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Takeaways from Manchester United’s opening day win against Leicester City

Manchester United's Paul Pogba. (Nick Potts/ PA via AP)
Roar Pro
11th August, 2018
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Goals from captain Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw helped Manchester United to a 2-1 victory over Leicester City to kick start the 2018-19 Premier League season.

Shaw popped up in the 83rd minute to score his first ever goal and cap off a great showing down United’s left flank.

Substitute Jamie Vardy reduced the deficit in stoppage time, but United held on to seal the campaigns first three points.

It was the right kind of result United needed following a lacklustre preseason and disappointing transfer window.

Shaw backed up a positive preseason by conjuring up a complete display down the left flank against the Foxes.

The 23-year-old was defensively solid, keeping wingers Ricardo Pereira and substitute Rachid Ghezzal largely at bay.

The fullback kept thing relatively simple in possession, but on several occasions he looked a relentless threat on the overlap and had an impact going forward.

His eagerness to be in the final third first occurred when he had a right-footed effort saved by Kasper Schmeichel in the first half.

Shaw’s outing was topped off when he ran off the back of Ghezzal and made up for a poor first touch to sneak around Pereira and finish across Schmeichel to double his outfits lead.

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This could be the start of Shaw finally fulfilling his opportunity at the left back spot and with Ashley Young still out recovering from the World Cup, this is a great chance for him to tie down a spot under Mourinho.

Though it’s only one game, United fans know Shaw has all the attributes to be the first choice left back for years to come, which is why the club signed him four years ago from Southampton.

Despite criticisms of the Red Devils’ “boring” style of play already resurfacing, the last of Jose Mourinho’s concerns would have been how his side got the victory against Claude Puel’s men.

The encounter started at a high intensity, which resulted in United leading after just three minutes courtesy of Paul Pogba’s penalty.

Leicester then took the sting out of the match by enjoying the majority of possession for the remainder of the clash, which left United looking for opportunities on the counter-attack.

In the end, the Manchester outfit held on in spite of Vardy’s late scare.

Considering Mourinho’s preparations were far from ideal given issues surrounding injuries and players struggling with match fitness, the win was a massive bonus heading into their clash with Brighton and Hove Albion next weekend.

People still complain about Mourinho’s methodology even though he came out victorious on this occasion.

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They raise that his style isn’t the Manchester United way, but Mourinho won’t change. He never has and never will.

Jose Mourinho manager of Manchester United

(Supplied)

That could be a bad thing, but his record at United speaks for itself. The 55-year-old has won three trophies in his two years at the helm and guided the club to second place last season behind a Manchester City team that broke all sorts of records.

It was the club’s highest finish since Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season in 2012-13.

However, Mourinho is under pressure to deliver in his third season after a trophyless 2017-18 and lack of investment in the summer.

Leicester may have impressed at Old Trafford, but it was clear striker Jamie Vardy could have made the difference if he was on from the first whistle.

The English striker started on the bench as Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho led the line against the red devils.

Though Puel’s team commanded most of the ball with slick and efficient possession, they missed that presence up front that would get in the face of the home teams defence and stretch them with runs in-behind.

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New boy James Maddison showed glimpses of his talent finding spaces in-between the lines, but the movement ahead of him was limited.

As soon as Vardy entered the field in the 63rd minute, his energy and work rate made a big difference.

The Englishman dispossessed Shaw in the left corner before finding a surging Demarai Gray to bring a save out of David De Gea.

He nodded in his first goal of the season after not giving up on Pereira’s inviting cross that came back off the post.

Though the Foxes begin the campaign with a loss, Claude Puel’s exciting possession-based approach and new additions to the squad showed they have the tools to surpass their ninth-place finish from last season.

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