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Leicester City 0-3 Manchester United: Red Devils win behind six-minute flurry

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  • A Mkhitaryan breakaway opened the scoring
  • Ibrahimovic hit two minutes later
  • Mata struck three minutes after halftime

Manchester United moved within a point of fifth as they downed a slumping Leicester City at King Power Stadium 3-0 behind three goals within six game minutes across halftime. Henrikh Mkhitaryan hit the first in the 43rd minute, Zlatan Ibrahimovic bagged the second before halftime, and Juan Mata finished it off three minutes out of halftime as United cruised past a Foxes side that appeared to have little fight.

Leicester City had the game’s first half-chance, as Robert Huth nearly got on the end of a cross, but was defended well by Marcus Rojo. Danny Drinkwater was shown a yellow card immediately after, just five minutes in, for fouling Juan Mata on a Manchester United break.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

The game was a scrappy midfield battle early on, with Leicester firing another shot at David De Gea‘s net on 12 minutes but Riyad Mahrez scuffed it wide.

United had its first good chance on 22 minutes as Marcus Rashford poorly blazed over after a good find by Mkhitaryan. This seemed to light up the Red Devils, as they pushed forward with more intent. They would find the opener on the break just before halftime, as Chris Smalling headed a ball forward, and it caught the Leicester back line pressing too high. Mkhitaryan latched onto it and sprung forward through the Foxes’ half, and he finished one-on-one with Kasper Schmeichel who only got a slight touch.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings

They’d get a second just two minutes later through Ibrahimovic as Antonio Valencia delivered a cross low through the box, and and Zlatan was there to one-time it into the net through the legs of Wes Morgan and past Schmeichel. The double strike, coming just one minute before halftime, was the big blow United needed.

There were three total changes after the break, with Claudio Ranieri bringing on Andy King and Demarai Grey for Ahmed Musa and Shinji Okazaki, while Jose Mourinho chose Daley Blind off the bench to replace Marcus Rojo.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The Red Devils struck just three minutes after halftime, piling on the goals as Mata played a one-two with Mkhitaryan and got free behind Christian Fuchs, blasting the ball in for United’s third. Bracketing halftime, the three goals came just six minutes apart.

That wrapped up the scoring, but Manchester United wasn’t done. Mata was clean through just past the hour mark, but he looked to chip Schmeichel and didn’t get enough air under the ball, collected by the Leicester goalkeeper. Mkhitaryan also came close with seven minutes remaining. The win for the Red Devils doesn’t see them gain position, still in sixth, but pulling within a point of Liverpool.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

Leicester City, meanwhile, looked completely devoid of spirit as the game wound down. Ibrahimovic completely undressed Fuchs on the end line before being stopped by another defender, and moments later Morgan tried to pass square to a teammate and was miles off target with a bad giveaway. With the loss, the Foxes now sit just a single point above the relegation zone, with Hull City and Sunderland below them having won this weekend.

Liga MX wrap: Pachuca earns first win, Leon stays unbeaten

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All of Saturday’s action from around Mexico’s top flight…

Pachuca 3-1 Lobos BUAP

A strong first-half push from the hosts was all Pachuca needed on Saturday night to earn their first victory of the 2018 Clausura season. Angel Sagal brought the home side in front after just 10 minutes off of a near-post header, before Pachuca’s lead soon doubled 14 minutes later from the penalty spot when strike Franco Jara converted on the dead-ball attempt.

Just prior to halftime, Pachuca was out to a 3-0 advantage when 20-year-old outside back Erick Aguirre tallied his first goal for the club.

Last-place side Lobos got on the board three minutes into the second stanza via a finish from Heriberto Olvera, however, it wasn’t enough to provide anything more than a consolation for the visiting side.

Necaxa 1-3 Chivas Guadalajara

Mexican international Alan Pulido made it a dream start for the visitors from Guadalajara at the Estadio Victoria, however, that lead was cancelled out in first-half stoppage time after Carlos Gonzalez leveled the match up at 1-1.

The difference proved to be with 25 minutes left to play, when a goalkeeping error by Marcelo Barovero allowed Chivas to regain possession inside the Necaxa penalty area, before Ronaldo Cisneros tapped home the winner.

Then, a third goal came just prior to the end of regulation when Edwin Hernandez killed the game off for Matias Almeyda’s men, who also earned their first victory of the Clausura season.

Rest of Saturday’s Liga MX action

Cruz Azul 0-0 Club Leon
Queretaro 0-0 Tigres UANL
Monterrey 0-0 Club Tijuana

Sunday’s matches

UNAM vs. Club America — 1 p.m. ET
Santos Laguna vs. Morelia — 7 p.m. ET

The 2 Robbies: Alexis/Mkhitaryan transfer saga and more

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle recap all the key stories from the latest Premier League Saturday fixtures including Manchester City’s 3-1 win over Newcastle (0:20), Chelsea’s 4-0 victory at Brighton (10:15) and the latest on the Alexis Sanchez/Henrikh Mkhitaryan saga after wins for Arsenal and Manchester United (19:00). Plus, a closer look at the bottom of the table and thoughts go out to James McCarthy after his serious injury against West Brom (29:00).

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Video: Stoke’s Imbula scores stunner on loan at Toulouse

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Stoke City supporters know the name Giannelli Imbula, and perhaps they’ll be clamoring for the Frenchman to return to the bet365 Stadium if he can score more goals like this.

[ MORE: PL Roundup — Top three all victorious; Gunners thrash Palace ]

The holding midfielder is currently on loan with Ligue 1 outfit Toulouse, and for the first time this season, Imbula opened his goalscoring account in some fashion.

Right on half-hour mark, Imbula unleashed a left-footed strike from nearly 40 yards out to give Toulouse the lead over Montpellier (below).

Imbula joined Stoke during the 2015/16 PL season, and has made 26 appearances for the Potters in his time with the club, prior to his loan to France.

Willian proves he’s Chelsea’s x-factor against Brighton

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There’s a considerable difference when watching a Chelsea team that plays with and without one of its Brazilian influences in the attacking part of the field.

Willian — who first debuted for the Blues back in 2013 — hasn’t always managed to be a regular starter for Chelsea, whether it was Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink or current manager Antonio Conte at the helm, though.

[ SOURCES: Jack Harrison expected to join Stoke City this winter ]

The 29-year-old plays with considerable flair, something that certainly isn’t uncommon amongst many players that have grown up in Brazil.

At times Willian’s overconfidence is a significant blessing, and at others it can be considered a curse, however, the former Corinthians player’s presence is something that Chelsea needs now more than ever.

That was on display on Saturday during the side’s 4-0 win at Brighton, a match in which Chelsea dominated from start to finish with Willian on the pitch. While the performance cannot solely be attributed to the attacking midfielder’s showing, it’s easy to argue that the Blues midfielder is becoming the club’s biggest x factor — one that can determine the outcome of a match.

Just look six minutes into the match, when the Blues put together one of the best team goals you’ll see in a match this year (or any year for that matter), which of course, was started and finished by none other than Willian.

What stands out about the play isn’t the brilliant slicing shot into the near post corner by the veteran playmaker, but instead the confidence that Willian exudes and brings to a Chelsea lineup that has plenty of talent to be considered one of the best teams in England and all of Europe.

After all, Conte’s group is just a season removed from winning the Premier League and still sits inside the top three in the world’s top league.

Then, there’s the Blues’ third goal against Brighton, which was set up by a smart, and instinctive, through ball played into the path of Eden Hazard by Willian (below).

Even though Hazard ends up with a ton of time on the ball to make his next decision, which was ultimately to cut inside on his preferred right foot, the run by Willian towards the end line dragged a defender away from the Belgian international — allowing the sequence to progress.

Arguing Willian’s importance isn’t a knock on Hazard — a world-class player in his own right — or Alvaro Morata, who has had the intolerable task of replacing a key player like Diego Costa.

Instead, it simply shows that Chelsea has a plethora of talent, and that some of the club’s attacking struggles throughout the 2017/18 season can be chalked up to Willian being left out of the starting XI on a regular basis.

[ MORE: Sergio Aguero continues to display brilliance for Man City ]

The Brazilian international has scored eight goals and added seven assists this season in all competitions for the Blues, despite only starting 19 matches.

The mind of manager Conte is an ever-changing one, so maybe Willian still doesn’t get the starting nod on an every week basis, but just by watching the team’s performance at the Amex Stadium it’s quite hard to argue against the player being on the field as much as possible.