Van Persie, Falcao help Manchester United exact revenge on Leicester City

Manchester United strikers Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao scored a goal each as they helped their side cruise to a 3-1 win over Leicester City at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Five months ago, the Reds had led by a similar scoreline at the King Power Stadium before sensationally allowing the Foxes back into the game and lost 5-3.

After labouring to a 0-0 draw away to League Two side Cambridge United in the FA Cup last Friday, the prospect of Nigel Pearson’s Leicester recording a historic double over the 20-time league champions wasn’t all that unimaginable.

However, Louis van Gaal’s team, boosted by the attacking foursome of Wayne Rooney, Van Persie, Falcao and Angel Di Maria, coasted along to 3-0 lead before manoeuvring a minor hiccup late in the second half, but eventually managed to seal the three points this time around.

The victory allowed United to jump over Southampton to take third place in the points table, if only until Sunday evening when the Saints take on Swansea.

After facing much criticism over his 3-5-2 system which hadn’t quite produced the desired results, United manager Louis van Gaal seemed to have bowed down to the fans’ demand of switching back to the club’s traditional and much effective 4-4-2 formation.

The Dutchman deployed a back four with Daley Blind patrolling the bottom corner of a midfield diamond. Nineteen-year-old Belgian midfielder Adnan Januzaj was also handed his first start since November, while Juan Mata, who had started the last 10 United games, was relegated to the bench.

Leicester, who had conceded only one goal in open play in their last six games, did well to keep United at bay for the better part of the first half hour of play.

In the 24th minute, Van Persie botched a shot off his preferred left foot after receiving a good cross from left-back Luke Shaw. Three minutes later, the Dutchman made no mistake as he slammed home a difficult half volley from his supposedly weaker right foot after a great lobbing cross up the field by countryman Blind.

Replays suggested Van Persie was half a yard offside, but the flag had stayed down and United were in the lead.

Leicester City fans tried buoying their team by singing, “We’re going to win 5-3”, but were hushed by United within minutes.

The home side doubled their lead in the 32nd minute as Van Persie and Di Maria combined brilliantly to provide Falcao the ball in the six-yard box, which the Columbian managed to slide into the back of the net after a scramble with two defenders.

A couple of minutes from the half-time whistle, the Red Devils all but sealed the three points after pressurising the Leicester defence into heading the ball into their own goal, the unlucky head belonging to boyhood United fan Wes Morgan.

United continued to bombard Leicester’s goal in the second half and could have stretched their lead by five goals in the first 12 minutes, but for their now archetypal inefficiency on the final ball.

Pearson refused to sit back and made a couple of attacking substitutions to his team. With 10 minutes to play, Leicester pulled one back via defender Marcin Wasilewski to ruin United keeper David De Gea’s hopes of keeping a clean sheet.

The goal paved the way for a nervous end to the game, but United managed to preserve their two-goal cushion until the final whistle.

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