Manchester United took full advantage of some favorable Premier League results to close the gap on the teams at the top thanks to a convincing 3-0 victory over champions Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s excellent solo goal and a composed finish from top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the space of two minutes towards the end of the first half gave the Reds a comfortable cushion at the break.
The impressive Juan Mata added a third early in the second period as Jose Mourinho’s men ended a run of three successive draws with a deserved third win of the season over the goal-shy Foxes.
Mourinho made three changes to the side frustrated by Hull on Wednesday night as Chris Smalling came in for the injured Phil Jones and was captain in the absence of the ill Wayne Rooney. He played alongside Eric Bailly, who appeared for the first time for the senior side in 2017, while Mata came into midfield, with Daley Blind and Michael Carrick dropping to the bench.
Amid a vibrant atmosphere in the East Midlands, United were first to threaten when Marcos Rojo, who switched to left-back following Bailly’s return, latched onto Ibrahimovic’s flick and lashed a fierce shot straight at Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel in the fifth minute.
With Marcus Rashford operating from a central position, the Reds enjoyed plenty of early possession but Leicester worked their way into the game and came close when Riyad Mahrez’s free-kick was helped on by Jamie Vardy and captain Wes Morgan’s header deflected behind off Paul Pogba.
Moments later, the Foxes launched an attack down the left flank with Vardy releasing Ahmed Musa but the Nigerian was thwarted in his tracks by brilliant last-ditch defending from Bailly, whose well-timed tackle diverted the ball for a corner.
At the other end, United went close again when Mata linked up well with Mkhitaryan and delivered a low cross for Rashford, who couldn’t keep his effort down although the ball took an awkward bounce in front of him.
The England frontman did manage to bring Schmeichel into action soon after with an intelligent low shot, which would have crept into the bottom corner without the keeper’s smart reactions.