There was an air of excitement for football fans across the world on Friday, given the new season of Premier League was about to start. But at the same time, there was tension for Manchester United fans, given their team were to play in the opening fixture. The Red Devils were to take 2015/16 champions Leicester City.
Mood amongst the United fans was low, following their abysmal performance in the pre-season, and average transfer window. While the arrival of Fred, and to some extent Lee Grant and Diogo Dalot brought smile on their faces, the lack of further signings was a bitter pill to swallow.
The Red Devils had a shocker of a US tour, where they were all over the place. Much of it was down to the fact that most of the senior players were missing post World Cup 2018. So, in all earnesty, the fixture against Leicester would have been the clear indicator regarding where the team was heading.
Jose Mourinho's team won 2-1 at Old Trafford thanks to goals from Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw. It was a positive display by them, given they were not starting their best playing XI.
United made the best possible start by taking the lead in the third minute. Daniel Amartey was adjourned to have intentionally parried the ball by his arm, and the referee pointed to the spot. Up stepped Pogba, and after an over the top run-up, dispatched it over an acrobatic dive by Kasper Schemichel.
The goal not only gave United the lead, but personally also meant a lot for Pogba. He was challenged by Mourinho to replicate his international form, where he led France to World Cup 2018 success, with the club.
After the goal, United dominated and were barely pressurized by Claude Puel's Leicester. The home team passed the ball around with confidence, and looked sure of getting a second.
They eventually did, though, in the 83rd minute. Shaw, one of the most criticized players by Mourinho, was played in the box with a chipped ball by Juan Mata. The full back took one touch, and then guided the ball past the goalkeeper.
It seemed the Red Devils will have a perfect start with clean-sheet, but that was thwarted in the stoppage time. Leicester's new signing Ricardo Pereira swung in a cross from the right side. The ball went in the box, and hit the post, where Jamie Vardy was left unmarked to score.
While the goal brought gloom amongst United fans for a brief period, in the end, their team held on to a win and proved they are over their poor pre-season.