Man United V Leicester 15/08/16
After the disappointment of losing in last week’s cup semi final it was at last time to kick off the season with our first Premier League 2 game. United were the hosts versus an experienced Leicester team that included ex reds Matty James, Tom Lawrence and Ritchie De Laet in their team.
Yet again United lined up without a recognised striker in the team and you have to wonder why if players like Borthwick-Jackson are afforded a run out why others such as Wilson, Pereira and Fosu-Mensah are left kicking their heels in the stands.
Surely a game like this would have helped them gain more match experience and help increase fitness as well as highlighting their abilities to potential suitors. You could also argue that senior players who have not had much pre season action such as Schneiderlin, Darmian and Rashford could have been afforded a short cameo as they challenge for a place in the first team eleven.
Perhaps this year Joyce will be afforded a settled team without having to contend with the disruption of loosing players out on loan. This can only benefit the team although the lack of a quality striker may prove to be telling as the season unfolds.
The first half was dominated by a hungry Leicester team who clearly hadn’t travelled just to make up the numbers. We had to wait until Borthwick-Jackson had a tame shot saved in the 34th minute before United registered a shot on target.
Midfielder and Captain James Weir toiled upfront as a makeshift striker as United struggled to create any clear cut opportunities. Weir did manage to get the ball in the net but the goal was denied when the linesmen judged Borthwick-Jackson to be in an offside position.
The impressive Axel Tuanzebe again held the defence together with another assured performance and with Sam Johnston pulling of a number of saves United were lucky to head into half time with a clean sheet.
Things didn’t improve after the break for the young reds and it was nearly on the hour mark before they managed to force their first corner of the game. This was nearly as bad as watching an LVG game!!!
Warren Joyce turned to his bench for inspiration and with twenty minutes left threw on Demi Mitchell for the American Olosunde in the hope of injecting some creativity. Mitchell made an immediate impact when within two minutes of coming on he danced down the left and fizzed in a dangerous cross into the middle.
It was going to take a moment of genius to swing this game United’s way as Leicester continued knocking on the door of United’s goal.
As the game drifted into its final 5 minutes it looked like a draw was on the cards until a long punt downfield from keeper Johnston fell at the feet of substitute Demi Mitchell. Mitchell instantly controlled the ball with his left foot and spotting the opposing keeper of his line expertly lobbed the ball into the empty net.
It was redemption for the young forward who had been the fall guy after last week’s penalty shoot out defeat to Oldham, when his ridiculous penalty attempt/miss had cost United a place in the final.
Yes it wasn’t a pretty game, yes the team needs work but United had won the match in a smash and grab with a long ball goal in the dying minutes. 3 points is 3 points and the team move on to their next game away to Southampton on the 22nd of August. Hopefully before then Joyce will figure out the dilemma as to who fills the striker’s role.
United Line Up:
Johnston, Riley, Tuanzebe, Poole, Borthwick-Jackson, Olosunde, Redmond, Harrop, Willock, Weir, Kehinde
Subs: Mitchell 68 for Olosunde
Goals: Mitchell – 88
Stay tuned for more reserve match reports and news from Premier League 2.
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