1-0, MIN. 22, SMALLING. 2-0, MIN. 37, MATA. 3-0, MIN. 40, RASHFORD. 4-0, MIN. 42, POGBA. 4-1, MIN. 60, GRAY.
Manchester United 4-1 Leicester City: Rampant Red Devils respond brilliantly to topple the Foxes

Manchester United 4-1 Leicester City: Rampant Red Devils respond brilliantly to topple the Foxes

Jose Mourinho's men sealed the win in the first half, and got the job done in the second as last season's champions fell at Old Trafford to a brilliant performance from Manchester United

Ninad Barbadikar

A simply stunning first half from Manchester United saw them demolish Leicester City with four goals before the break as they answered their critics in the right way, beating the defending champions with an emphatic 4-1 scoreline.

Captain Chris Smalling opened the scoring for United and then Juan Mata added a second after brilliant link up play between him, Jesse Lingard and Paul PogbaMarcus Rashford took advantage of some sloppy defending by the away side from a corner kick and smashed home the third from a Mata assist, and the fourth goal belonged to the orchestrator of United's gameplay in the final third as Pogba thumped a header past Ron Robert Zieler from a brilliant Daley Blind corner.

Set pieces well executed

Leicester's defence, which was so often exemplary last season, failed miserably time and again and the fact that three of the goals conceded were from corners, speaks volumes of how well United did to take advantage of any errors from the Leicester defence.

For weeks now, Wayne Rooney has been taking set pieces to very little end product, but today it was different, the captain dropped to the bench and so former manager Louis Van Gaal's preferred set piece taker took centre stage and Blind showed exactly why he was trusted. His deliveries registered two assists at corner time and enabled Mata to assist Rashford's goal thanks to some quick-thinking. A simply superb performance from the Dutchman, who delivered at both ends of the pitch, dealing well with the threat posed by the Leicester attackers, Islam Slimani, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy.

Paul Pogba scored his first goal for the club and put in a man of the match display against the foxes
(Source: Getty | Laurence Griffiths)

Mata bossing the number 10 role

If there's anything that can be said of Mata's performance, it was nothing short of that is was just what was needed. He perfectly executed the number 10 role as he has in the past, making sure that Mourinho didn't regret dropping his captain, Wayne Rooney. 

Mata combined very well with Lingard and Rashford and was running all over the park, picking up the ball in deep positions and playing neat football with his teammates and showing great positioning skills and a great example of his impact in the number 10 role was the goal he scored himself.

Juan Mata let fly and dispatched a brilliant strike past Zieler after good build up play from United
(Source: Getty | Clive Brunskill)

Mata worked very hard not just while attacking but also off the ball, he made good runs, had very good linkup play with the rest of his teammates and more importantly, he looked at home in the number 10 role. Jose for sure will be very encouraged by the Spaniard's display in the victory and certainly now, Mata can look forward to playing more and more in that role.

Zlatan's influence without the goals

It might not have been a game where the big Swede got his goal, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic's involvement in the teams goals was of extreme importance. Everybody knows he likes to have the ball at his feet and in dropping deep into midfield, he did just that, starting off subtle build up play from the back and also helping out his midfield when they needed it.

Most importantly, Lingard and Rashford were the two who benefitted most from the former PSG striker's style of play. His link-up play with Pogba was also exquisite, with the pair providing some great exchanges during the first half in particular, and United fans will be hoping that becomes a weekly occurence. 

Zlatan was a constant menace to Liverpool's defence today.| Photo: Getty | Clive Brunskill)
Zlatan was a constant menace to Leicester's defence today.| ( Photo: Getty | Clive Brunskill)      

Ibrahimovic did not find the back of the net, but nonetheless, it was a great display from the big Swede, who's playmaking instincts took over and let him control the game from a deeper role.

There were a few things that Mourinho got right in this emphatic victory, and for such dominance to continue, Manchester United will have to keep working very hard to give the fans what they need and what winning the title needs, a match-winning attitude.