On a day where they announced that Paul Pogba was undergoing a medical in Manchester ahead of his world record move, it was two of Jose Mourinho’s other summer signings that shined as Manchester United beat Leicester City 2-1 in the Community Shield at Wembley on Saturday.
Center-half Eric Bailly was fantastic, composed, physical, fast and reads the game really well. There will be some rough patches this season for him, but so far Bailly looks like the most imposing United defender since Nemanja Vidić.
The headlines though go to Zlatan Ibrahimovic did what Zlatan does and that is score the winner when he outjumped Wes Morgan to head home from an Antonio Valencia cross with 10 minutes to go,
The goal was everything we failed to see from Louis Van Gaal’s side for two years. First Valencia took on the fullback and crossed the ball instead of endlessly recycling it around the box. And then there was the physical strength of Ibra to beat Morgan to the ball. United have lacked a physical presence in the box for several years now and Ibra gives them that.
Although it was Ibrahimovic who would eventually decide it, Jesse Lingard fired United ahead in the 32nd minute with as good a goal as you will see all season. The 23-year-old dribbled past four or five Leicester players before slipping the ball past Kasper Schmeichel to open the scoring.
The lead carried over into the second half, but it only took the Foxes seven minutes after the restart to level the score when Marouane Fellaini’s disastrous back pass failed to reach David De Gea, opening the door for Jamie Vardy to collect the ball and slot home in the 52nd minute.
From there the match looked destined for extra time as both teams failed to carve out clear chances, but with seven minutes left, Ibrahimovic made his mark on his competitive debut for the Red Devils.
Claudio Ranieri will be happy with his sides performance despite the defeat. While Leicester probably will not win the title again this season, a top six finish is not out of the question. They are still difficult to break down, and explosive on the counter-attack and the Foxes will win a lot more games than they will lose this season.