Bruno Fernandes shone brightly once again but Anthony Martial and Daniel James failed to spark as Manchester United were held to a 2-2 draw by Leicester City.
The game was off to a lively start as both Marcus Rashford and Jamie Vardy were presented with opportunities at either end of the pitch, but both ended up sending their efforts over the bar. Halfway through the first half though, Rashford put Manchester United in front with a calm finish from close range.
The lead just eight minutes, however, as Harvey Barnes’ powerful left-footed strike from the edge of the box brought Leicester back on level terms. The Red Devils created the more clear-cut openings in the second half, but Rashford couldn’t beat Kasper Schmeichel while Anthony Martial had a goal chalked off for offside.
Bruno Fernandes managed to put Manchester United in the front in the 79th minute, after being played in by substitute Edinson Cavani, but Jamie Vardy pulled Leicester back on level terms with five minutes left, via a deflection from Axel Tuanzebe, to ensure that the spoils were shared.
The result meant Manchester United wasted a glorious opportunity to move to the second spot in the Premier League table. And here’s how we rated the performances of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s players on the afternoon.
David de Gea: 5/10
A shaky moment with the ball at his feet early in the game caused panic, but Leicester failed to capitalise. One could argue that he could have done better for Barnes’ goal, but his view was obstructed. No chance for the second goal. Needs to do better with his distribution, though.
Victor Lindelof: 5/10
A surprise inclusion at right-back, the Swede did not have the easiest of outings with Barnes giving him plenty to worry about. Did win a couple of aerial duels and made two interceptions, but was largely unconvincing before being taken off with an injury.
Eric Bailly: 5/10
Making his first Premier League start after the 6-1 trouncing at the hands of Tottenham, Bailly was caught out by Vardy in the opening exchanges and was guilty of backing off a little too much leading to Barnes’ goal. Then lost Vardy for the Foxes’ second goal. There were some positive moments in between, but needs to do better if he is to become a regular.
Harry Maguire: 6/10
Made several vital blocks and clearances throughout the game and kept the threat of Vardy under wraps. But it was his poor clearance that put Fernandes under pressure leading to Barnes’ goal. Should have done better with a headed effort in the second period.
Luke Shaw: 7/10
The Englishman has seemingly reacted positively to Alex Telles’ arrival, upping his game in recent weeks. Was enterprising going forward and defended doggedly. Could have had an assist as he delivered some enticing set-pieces which his teammates couldn’t convert. Finished the game with two tackles, two aerial duels won and three key passes.
Scott McTominay: 6/10
Paul Scholes on Harvey Barnes' goal: "I think McTominay is taking social distancing a bit too literally." #mulive [bt]
— utdreport (@utdreport) December 26, 2020
Deemed fit to start, McTominay was nowhere near as good as he was against Leeds United last weekend. Allowed Barnes too much time and space to shoot for Leicester’s first goal on the day. Worked hard off the ball and got stuck in, making six tackles and an interception, but failed to have the kind of impact he did in his last appearance.
A typical display filled with energy and industry from the Brazilian, but he lacked the incisiveness on the ball that was needed to make an impact going forward. Did play a key pass to create an opportunity for Rashford, but most of his good work came off the ball as he completed five tackles and four interceptions.
Daniel James: 5/10
Preferred over Mason Greenwood on the afternoon, the Welshman did well to win the ball in the lead-up to Manchester United’s opener. Apart from that, wasn’t involved a great deal and conceded a few silly free-kicks, while he also wasted a great opportunity to counter just before being taken off.
Bruno Fernandes: 8/10
Bruno Fernandes has been directly involved in 52% of Man Utd’s Premier League goals since his debut in February (31/60).
On another level. ?? ? pic.twitter.com/LIjiElJ3ZE
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 26, 2020
Played a brilliant cross for Rashford’s chances early in the game before getting the assist for the opening goal. However, Fernandes Was guilty of losing possession leading to the equaliser. Should have made it 2-1 with a free header but couldn’t find the target.
However, Fernandes made no mistake when sent through by Cavani to restore Manchester United’s lead. Could have seen a second yellow for a foul on Jonny Evans. Not at his scintillating best, but still the difference-maker for Manchester United.
Anthony Martial: 5/10
Apart from a sensational, slaloming run, the Frenchman did little of note in the first half as his end product was lacking time and again. Did put the ball into the net in the second half, but was ruled out for offside by VAR. Pretty much anonymous for the rest of the game and made way for Cavani.
Marcus Rashford: 6.5/10
Missed a sitter just minutes after kick-off, heading over Fernandes’ cross. But, made amends to put United ahead with a composed finish, in the process scoring his 50th Premier League goal. Should have made it 2-1 at the hour mark, but couldn’t beat Schmeichel. Needs to take such chances if he is to become an elite goalscorer for Manchester United.
Marcus Rashford has been directly involved in 10 Premier League goals this season (6⚽️ & 4?️).
Lovely finish to give Man Utd the lead. ? pic.twitter.com/lzrfX4eDsk
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 26, 2020
Paul Pogba: 6/10
On for James eight minutes into the second half. Looked to make things happen in what was a bright cameo.
Axel Tuanzebe: 5/10
Replaced the injured Lindelof in the 66th minute. Was fairly solid but unfortunate to see Vardy’s shot deflect off of him and into the net.
Edinson Cavani: 6.5/10
On for Martial for the final fifteen minutes. Looked really dangerous after coming on and got the assist for Fernandes’ goal with a deft through pass.