Manchester United headed to the King Power Stadium this afternoon, putting the reigning Premier League champions to the sword, walking away with a comfortable 3-0 victory and three crucial points.
1. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is now a guaranteed starter
At the start of the season there was so much excitement at the fact Manchester United had signed last season’s Bundesliga player of the season. That excitement soon fizzled out after a poor performance in the Manchester derby resulting in a banishment from Jose Mourinho.
It got to a point where you wondered if Mkhitaryan had a future at the club. But rather than sulking, the Armenian worked hard in training and won over Mourinho. It is no coincidence that United’s much improved form has coincided with Mkhitaryan’s return to the side.
A truly wonderful player with fantastic pace and acceleration that creates chances and scores plenty of goals. Excactly the type of player United have needed for some time. Now the Armenian is almost un-droppable and has given Manchester United a new dynamic resulting in the best form since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
2. Antonio Valencia is one of United’s most important players
Like Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Antonio Valencia is a player that gives Manchester United a different dynamic. From right back Valencia gives United a real attacking threat and is always an outlet with his runs and constantly providing service for his teammates. As we saw for United’s second goal, the surging run from Valencia and the service gave Zlatan Ibrahimovic the ball at his feet to tuck the ball into the net. Defensively Antonio Valenica is rock solid and its very rarely that you see the Ecuadorian given a tough time at the back.
3. Paul Pogba has his confidence back
After his poor display against Liverpool, Paul Pogba suffered a loss of confidence in the following games. His passing was very square and he was not having an effect on the games. However, against Leicester he was once again spraying those cross field passes to the wide players, stretching the play.
The Frenchman dominated the midfield throughout the game and Leicester couldn’t get near him. It was good to see a performance that we would expect from Pogba and for sure he has recovered his confidence following the Liverpool game.
4. Anthony Martial’s future is in serious doubt
A player that didn’t even get on the pitch against Leicester but a story that will rumble on and on. Once again omitted by Jose Mourinho and left on the bench despite his performance in the FA Cup. You can’t help but think that Martial’s future at the club is in doubt.
The most telling moment came when Jose Mourinho chose to send on Ashley Young ahead of Martial. A player who was seemingly out of the door in the transfer window. Anthony Martial is in a serious predicament and you have to doubt the player’s future at the club as it truly seems that Jose Mourinho does not fancy him at all.
5. They may be the Champions, but Leicester are in serious trouble
Leicester City may have provided one of the biggest footballing fairy tails in most of our lifetimes, they may be the Premier League champions, but they are in serious trouble.
They were comfortably in the game for 25 minutes until Mourinho changed his system. After that, it was one way traffic. United’s 3 goals in 7 minutes either side of the break saw Leicester off, leaving them a single point clear of the relegation zone.
Kasper Schmeichel openly admitted that his club need to improve or they will be going down, and with the likes of Swansea and Hull below them starting to pick up points under their new managers, relegation is a real and distinct possiblity.