Manchester United kicked off the new Premier League season with a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw in Friday night’s clash with Leicester City. World Cup winner Pogba, who was handed the captain’s armband, got the hosts off to a flying start with a confident and composed penalty after Daniel Amartey’s inexplicable handball, placing the ball in the top corner after an audaciously slow run-up. The visitors mustered a decent response, though United always looked in control and the game appeared to be put beyond doubt late on by the rampaging Shaw – though Leicester netted an even later consolation.
Pogba started despite only returning to training on Monday, and his cool penalty after just three minutes broke the deadlock – though it would be United’s only shot on target until shortly before half-time, with Leicester taking control of proceedings while the hosts played on the break. Kelechi Iheanacho twice got in behind the Red Devils’ back-line, but was thwarted by some excellent last-ditch defending, while David de Gea put his shaky World Cup behind him with a superb stop to deny James Maddison.
But United begun to reassert control, and for all Leicester’s promising play they struggled to fashion any clear chances; it was Claude Puel who blinked first, making a double change on the hour-mark that saw Jamie Vardy enter the fray. The England international, fresh from a new deal, created one of the best chances of the latter stages, robbing Shaw and firing in a cross to Demarai Gray that produced another brilliant save from De Gea.
That miss should have been punished when Sanchez set up substitute Romelu Lukaku for an easy one-on-one, but Kasper Schmeichel pulled off an incredible stop with his feet to keep Leicester hopes alive. But United did find a second goal as time run out, with Shaw bursting down the left and, after recovering from a heavy touch, guiding an excellent finish past Schmeichel to net his first ever goal for the Red Devils on his 67th appearance.