Leicester City came from 3-1 down to beat Manchester United 5-3 in an engrossing Premier League encounter at the King Power stadium. United’s defensive frailties were exposed in a calamitous second half capitulation. Goals from Leonardo Ulloa (2), David Nugent, Esteban Cambiasso and Jamie Vardy gave the Foxes a famous victory over Louis Van Gaal’s side.
Van Gaal made one change from the side that swept aside QPR seven days ago, with Juan Mata making way for Radamel Falcao and Wayne Rooney dropping to the top of the diamond in midfield. Leicester enjoyed a bright start but it was the away side who opened the scoring. Falcao beat former red Richie DeLaet down the left and floated a beautiful cross toward the back post, which Van Persie headed beyond Kasper Schmeichel with the aid of a deflection. Three minutes later it was two, DiMaria broke forward from midfield and after exchanging passes with Rooney, lifted the ball over Schmeichel with a delicate touch of effortless genius. It took only 14 seconds for a Leicester response, the excellent Jamie Vardy beat Rojo to the ball on the Leicester right and crossed for Ulloa to climb above Rafael and head home. In thirty seconds this United side was perfectly surmised, a wonderful attacking move outdone by frail and static defending. Johnny Evans limped off soon after and was replaced by Chris Smalling.
United controlled the possession and tempo of the game for the first 15 minutes of the second half and were denied a third when Falcao hit the bar with an improvised effort. Their two goal advantage was soon restored however by Ander Herrera. The Spaniard’s flick from DiMaria’s attempted shot diverted the ball past Schmeichel into the goal. To their credit, Leicester, and Vardy in particular, continued to look dangerous on the counter attack and the turning point in the game arrived when the striker won a penalty in contentious circumstances. Vardy appeared to foul Rafael off the ball in the build up, but when referee Mark Clattenberg waved play on, Rafael brought the striker down inside the area. David Nugent made no mistake and sent his penalty straight down the middle of DeGea’s goal. Leicester upped the intensity and were beating United to every ball. After some disastrous defending the ball fell to Esteban Cambiasso who powered his shot into the bottom corner to pull the sides level. Things went from bad to worse for the visitors when DeLaet dispossessed substitute Juan Mata and sent Vardy in on goal, the man of the match coolly dispatching his effort past DeGea. Vardy continued to terrorise the United defence and won a second penalty after out muscling Tyler Blackett, the youngster shown a straight red for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity. Ulloa converted the spot kick for his second a sealed a sensational comeback for Nigel Pearson’s side.
Leicester were worthy of all three points, outfighting United in a hungry display. For all of the promise United showed going forward, there was some great interplay between DiMaria and the front three at times, their soft core was uncovered by a ruthless counter attacking performance from the newly promoted side. United were stagnant in defence and lacked aggression, positional awareness and anticipation. For all the millions spent during the summer, they failed to address the issues in central defence and there are big problems at the back for Van Gaal.