Manchester United twice got the rub of VAR green but still saw their top-four hopes dissipate with a 1-1 draw with Leicester City at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Review of a Scott McTominay sliding cleats-up challenge kept the card yellow and James Maddison’s goal was taken off the board for a foul in the build-up as United’s 51 points are now four points behind Arsenal. The fourth-place Gunners have played two fewer matches than Man Utd.
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Leicester’s point pull it into ninth with 37 points, one more than Aston Villa with two matches-In-hand. But they won’t be celebrated as those matches-in-hand give them an outside chance at the top seven, a goal that got further away when Maddison’s was taken off the board.
Kelechi Iheanacho scored Leicester’s goal and Fred supplied the hosts’ equalizer.
Manchester United vs Leicester final score, stats
Manchester United 1, Leicester City 1
Scorers: Iheanacho (63′), Rashford (66′)
Shots: Manchester United 11, Leicester 11
Shots on target: Manchester United 5, Leicester 3
Possession: Manchester United 54, Leicester 46
Three things we learned from Manchester United vs Leicester
1. Iheanacho makes good, makes good: Ex-Man City prospect Kelechi Iheanacho flashed wide of the upper 90 in the first half after a brilliant team move got stuck in his feet, but he made no mistake in the second. James Maddison’s service for superb for much of the day as Leicester’s midfield was very strong, and it’s no surprise that he picked up an assist on the play. Iheanacho’s industry off a Jadon Sancho error in the 71st minute ended with a sailed chip just wide of the far post, and the Nigerian definitely had his chances on the day to win it. And there’s some added Shakespearing comedy in Maddison’s overturned goal coming off the hard work of Iheanacho before VAR spotted a foul on Varane but not Iheanacho. More on that after the numeral 2.
2. Insane VARane moment saves Man Utd: It was 1-1 when Kelechi Iheanacho and Raphael Varane were allowed to let play despite fouls on each other after the Nigerian striker got the ball stuck in his feet late in the game. Varane got a piece of Iheanacho’s leg and the striker stayed up, kicking at the ball but catching Varane. He decidedly did not stay up, and stayed down long enough to ensure the situation was reviewed by VAR. Some angles looked weak, others strong, and it’s really surprising that the goal came back if only because of Varane’s contact with Iheanacho prior to the reverse (though Iheanacho’s contact was stronger). And when you throw-in a non-red card review of Scott McTominay’s full-blooded slide into Maddison’s ankle, well, United fans might want to underline this one the next time they think the refs are out to get them.
3. Tielemans question looms over Leicester’s middle: James Maddison, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, and Youri Tielemans make for an inspiring midfield, even without an injured Wilfred Ndidi. And while Maddison’s wizardry is well-documented and so now has Dewsbury-Hall’s late-blooming emergence as a relentless tackler, the biggest question for the Foxes is whether terrific Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans is going to see-out his contract in a view to Champions League football or if he’s open to sticking around in the hopes a healthier Leicester can get there next season. If he isn’t, the Foxes may have to make the unpopular decision to cash-in on a man who may not be long for the King Power Stadium regardless.
Man of the Match: James Maddison — Four key passes including his assist and United had to be constantly aware of where the English playmaker was on the Old Trafford pitch.
Maddison makes magic
Busy all days and well-deserving a mention on the score sheet, James Maddison’s very good day rightfully got its due when he set up Iheanacho’s opener.
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Fred follows the bouncing ball
Fred’s terrific touch out of the air didn’t give him any illusions about making a majestic play, and the Brazilian laid off for Bruno Fernandes.
But Fred also knew enough to follow the ball, and Kasper Schmeichel’s fine save on Bruno Fernandes’ slightly-underhit low drive was blasted into the top of the goal for 1-1.
David De Gea makes save for the ages
They don’t get much better than the Spaniard’s reach back to spin a powerful headed free kick toward the inside of the far post.
De Gea comes up with a magnificent fingertip save.
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) April 2, 2022