Leicester 3-1 Man Utd: 5 talking points as Kelechi Iheanacho ensures Red Devils’ FA Cup exit

Leicester City knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup with a 3-1 victory to set up a semi-final with Southampton.

Youri Tielemans fired the decisive goal into the bottom corner in the 52nd minute, after Mason Greenwood cancelled out Kelechi Iheanacho’s opener in the first half.

Iheanacho secured the victory late on with his second of the match, heading in Mark Albrighton’s free kick while unmarked at the back post.

The Foxes were fully deserving of their victory, showing more attacking intent on the ball and forcing United into numerous errors with their pressing when out of possession.

While Brendan Rodgers’ side have a trip to Wembley to look forward to, Manchester United’s hopes of lifting silverware this season now rest on success in the Europa League.

Here are five talking points from the King Power.

1. In-form Iheanacho punishes Fred

Iheanacho cooly netted in the first half before adding his second late on
Iheanacho cooly netted in the first half before adding his second late on(Image: Leicester City FC via Getty Imag)

If there was one player Manchester United didn’t want to gift a golden opportunity to, it was Leicester’s red-hot striker Kelechi Iheanacho, who had scored five times in his previous three games.

So when Fred’s wayward back-pass was picked up by the Nigerian in the six-yard box, he was never going to miss and cooly rounded Dean Henderson to put the Foxes ahead.

Playing out from the back comes with a risk and with Leicester pressing perilously high, Dean Henderson would have been much better off hoofing the ball long than playing the ball to the under-pressure Fred.

The passing error was one of many United committed in the first half which only spurred on Leicester’s dynamic attacking trio of Iheanacho, Jamie Vardy and Ayoze Perez.

Harry Maguire had a particularly gruelling evening up against Iheanacho and was shown a yellow card for body-checking the on-rushing striker on the edge of the area.

And Iheanacho capped another impressive display to head in his second of the match, securing Leicester’s victory in the 78th minute.

2. Second-string shows glimpses of promise

Van de Beek played a key role in the equaliser
Van de Beek played a key role in the equaliser(Image: Getty Images)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continued his policy of heavy rotation in the FA Cup for the tie with Leicester.

Into the line-up came Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek and Nemanja Matic, with Luke Shaw, Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay – usually three of the first names on the team sheet – dropping to the bench.

The likes of Telles and Van de Beek have had to settle for minor roles throughout the season and their rustiness clearly showed in the first half-hour at the King Power.

Telles’ defensive positioning was questionable and Van de Beek hardly saw the ball early on, but both played a vital role in Mason Greenwood’s equaliser.

Telles combined with Paul Pogba on the left flank – proving Shaw isn’t the only creative left-back in the squad – before the Frenchman delivered a cross.

And while Pogba will pick up the assist for Greenwood’s low strike from close range, it was Van de Beek’s clever dummy over the ball which created the space for the Englishman to score.

The well-worked equaliser was a promising glimpse of the potential of United’s second-string players, and a confidence-boosting fifth goal of the season for Greenwood.

3. Henderson’s faltering No.1 bid

Henderson may not have done enough to hold on to first-choice status
Henderson may not have done enough to hold on to first-choice status(Image: Manchester United via Getty Imag)

Dean Henderson or David de Gea?

It’s a debate which has raged throughout the season – and it is showing no signs of resolution any time soon.

Henderson has had the ideal opportunity to stake his claim for No.1 status since De Gea travelled back to Spain for the birth of his child at the start of the month.

But the Englishman’s performances have been as mixed as they come, keeping clean sheets in Premier League clashes with Manchester City and West Ham either side of a poor error in the first leg with AC Milan.

While Henderson made amends for his mistake against the Italian giants by keeping a clean sheet in the second leg, it feels as though he is back to square one after his role in Leicester’s opener.

The 24-year-old should have recognised Fred – as well as the other nearby red shirts – were under pressure and looked to go long.

Solskjaer is sure to reflect on Henderson’s recent run between the sticks over the international break, and it would be no surprise to see De Gea named in the starting XI to face Brighton in two weekends’ time.

4. Solskjaer sends on the cavalry

Solskajer made a quadruple substitution in the 64th minute
Solskajer made a quadruple substitution in the 64th minute(Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

With his side 2-1 down and just as sloppy as they were in the first half, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had seen enough and made the seldom-seen quadruple substitution in the 64th minute.

Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba made way for Luke Shaw, Bruno Fernandes, Scott McTominay and Edinson Cavani.

Managers are often called out for leaving it too late to make changes or for not giving a losing side enough of a shake-up, and Solskjaer certainly cannot be criticised for that.

But the United boss arguably went too far in his drastic changes and they failed to have the desired effect.

While Fernandes went close with a free kick in the closing stages, McTominay was at fault for Kelechi Iheanacho’s header as he should have been much closer to the striker while defending the free kick.

Elsewhere, Cavani did not get on the ball enough and Shaw was not able to be an outlet on the left as he instead found himself pegged back in his own half.

Solskjaer’s final roll of the dice saw winger Amad thrown on for Fred in the 84th minute, but Iheanacho’s second of the match had already done the damage by that point.

5. The Saints await

The good news keeps coming for Leicester and they will have been boosted by the sight of the FA Cup draw, which was conducted at half-time at the King Power.

The Foxes have managed to avoid Manchester City and Chelsea and instead will face Southampton at Wembley.

Brendan Rodgers led his side to a 2-0 victory over the Saints in the Premier League in January and will be hopeful of another positive result against the south coast club next month.

Meanwhile, Manchester United’s hopes of winning a trophy this season now rest on success in the Europa League – barring a hugely unlikely collapse by Manchester City in the Premier League.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is desparate to win his first trophy as United boss but his side have regularly fallen short in the latter knockout stages.

With a favourable Europa League draw against Granada in the quarter-finals, Solskjaer knows he must soon convert a promising cup run into silverware.


Leave a Comment