Jose Mourinho took the most significant decision of his time at Old Trafford so far, dropping Wayne Rooney to the substitutes’ bench, and Manchester United responded with by far their most impressive performance of the season, scoring four goals without reply in the first half against Leicester for an eventual 4-1 win.
Their swift passing, sharp movement and set-piece expertise overwhelmed the visitors, who have now lost as many games so far this season — three — as they lost in the whole of last year’s title-winning campaign.
Several of United’s players had fine games, but the two-man midfield axis of Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera was superb. Marcus Rashford was again very good and Daley Blind was an outstanding playmaker from the left-back position.
Very, very few. If anything, United can be criticised for losing some intensity in the second half.
Manager rating out of 10
8 — Mourinho did everything right, giving Herrera a defensive brief and allowing Pogba to play with as much freedom as he has so far this season. His tactics allowed his team to get forward and dominate possession in advanced areas, and after a slow start United were rampant.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK David De Gea, 7 — Beaten from distance by a superb Demarai Gray strike but also made a terrific save from the same player. Distribution generally good, apart from one misplaced pass in the second half once the game was safe.
DF Antonio Valencia, 7 — A solid performance, though his delivery from wide areas could have been better. Worked very hard as ever and covered diligently.
DF Eric Bailly, 8 — A fine performance, where he was so assured that by half time Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez were withdrawn. Even when he was out-thought, he recovered swiftly.
DF Chris Smalling, 8 — Set the tone with the game’s opening goal, got forward well and dealt with Leicester’s limited incursions into his half.
DF Daley Blind, 9 — Outstanding. Directly involved in three of United’s goals with clever delivery from corners, acquitted himself smartly against far quicker forwards and played several excellent long passes to prompt attacks.
MF Ander Herrera, 9 — As great a range of passing as he has shown in a United shirt, and perhaps as much running. Defended with uncommon diligence and joined the attack promptly whenever needed. An understated but essential performance.
MF Paul Pogba, 9 — A superb display of long and short passing, diligent pressing and subtle movement. Never overcomplicated his play, always made clever decisions and linked up the play beautifully. His best performance for United so far.
MF Jesse Lingard, 8 — Put in his usual hard shift and showed a rare elegance with his pass to play in Juan Mata for his goal. Impressive movement throughout.
No. 10 Juan Mata, 9 — Scored a wonderful goal, United’s second, and created United’s third with a very clever short corner move. Was thoroughly elusive throughout, linking up with ease.
MF Marcus Rashford, 8 — Now has seven goals in seven games for club and country this season, his latest a tap-in after intelligent movement at a corner and was again full of clever running. Stretched Leicester’s defence out of shape the entire game.
FW Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 7 — The team’s attacking pivot, he frequently got himself into excellent positions and on a better day would have scored at least once, possibly twice. Held the ball up well and combined brilliantly with Pogba, with whom he already has a terrific understanding.
MF Michael Carrick, N/A (for Lingard, 78) — Came on late when the game was of low intensity, and retained the ball comfortably until the end.
MF Wayne Rooney, N/R (for Rashford, 83) — Arrived to a sizeable cheer at the end of a difficult week and was typically busy in the short time he was on.
MF Ashley Young, N/R (for Mata, 87) — Made a couple of late dribbles down the flank, and helped his team to see out the game.