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Published: 14:24 | 24/9/16

Man United crush Leicester City at Old Trafford

Premier League champions Leicester City slumped to a humbling 4-1 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Jose Mourinho's side raced to a 4-0 lead at the break as goals from Chris Smalling, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba had the Foxes floundering.

Demarai Gray pulled one back for Leicester on the hour mark as they looked to pull off mission impossible.

But that was as good as it got as United’s rearguard held firm to see them collect the three points that move them up to third place in the Premier League table.

Leicester sat deep from early on at Old Trafford, with two banks of four protecting their area, and venturing little going forward as Antonio Valencia and Juan Mata probed from midfield for United.

As the game settled on the quarter of an hour mark, Leicester began to gain a foothold with Robert Huth getting in a great position right of goal only to fire over.

Zlatan Ibhrahimovic was in and out of play as United tried to feed the big Swede down the centre of the park.

But for the rest of that first period it was all United. They claimed first blood when Smalling got on the end of a corner in the from the left, and with downward pressure on the header, forced the opener past :Leicester goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler.

It should have been two just minutes later as Pogba chipped over the Leicester defence for Ibrahimovic to chest to control, before turning to volley an effort just over the bar.

United were purring at this stage and when Mata received the ball on the edge of the area after some intricate passing from the home side, the Spain international finished with a superb effort into the left-hand side of the Leicester net.

Five minutes later it was 3-0 as Rashford finished off some simple and direct passing from Blind and Mata from the left and Leicester were reeling, totally outplayed for the first 40 minutes and struggling badly.

Any slim hope of a Foxes fightback was extinguished three minutes before the break as Pogba beat Christian Fuchs to a corner at the near post and directed his header across goal.

With their ball possession at 34%, and four goals down at the interval, Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri decided to withdraw star men Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, possibly with an eye on Tuesday’s Champions League match against Porto, with Demarai Gray and Andy King entering the fray.

And Gray’s impact had the desired effect as he smashed a ferocious right-footed shot to the top right-hand corner on the hour mark to give Leicester a sniff of an improbable comeback.

Michael Carrick was brought on by Jose Mourinho in place of Jesse Lingard with just over ten minutes to play as the Portuguese manager looked to shore up the centre of the field. And four minutes later captain Wayne Rooney - dropped by his manager - was introduced to see if he could add a finishing flourish to a match that was essentially over by the break.

Rooney’s first touch was indeed an effort on goal, but a tame one that did little to trouble keeper Zieler. Ashley Young also got a run out for the last few minutes in place of Mata, but a final flourish came from neither side, as Man U coasted home for the three points.

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