Marcus Rashford’s early goal gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a ninth win from 10 games as Manchester United boss with a 1-0 victory at Leicester
Rashford, on his 100th United appearance, rifled Paul Pogba’s inviting pass over the top past Kasper Schmeichel with nine minutes gone as United took full advantage of Leicester’s run of slow starts this season.
But their intensity did not match that of recent games and they created little else before half-time, although Leicester also looked devoid of ideas.
After half-time the hosts improved and Rachid Ghezzal’s free kick forced a save from David de Gea before Jonny Evans missed a great chance to score against his old club, but United stood firm and move within two points of fourth-placed Chelsea.
Leicester have struggled to get out of the traps all season, shipping 10 goals in the first 15 minutes of games, and another false start would ultimately prove their downfall yet again.
Rashford should have already put United ahead within five minutes, diverting Luke Shaw’s perfect cross wide when it was easier to score. But he soon made amends by bringing down an equally fine lofted pass from Pogba, and firing beyond Schmeichel.
United’s onslaught soon waned but the hosts, despite plenty of territory, could not test De Gea. Harvey Barnes bent a first-time effort beyond the far post from 25 yards and Evans headed wide but, as is becoming a theme, Leicester lacked the ingenuity to even threaten a goal.
After half-time it was a different story. De Gea stuck out an arm to ensure Barnes’ effort from the angle was going wide within a minute of the restart, before Maddison’s deflected free-kick was met acrobatically by Jamie Vardy but clawed off the line by the United goalkeeper.
United responded with Rashford firing wide from the edge of the area, but finally there were two teams competing – and substitute Ghezzal tested De Gea before Evans missed his kick from Harry Maguire’s header back across goal in their best chance of the afternoon.
Nemanja Matic was lucky to avoid a second yellow card late on when he caught Barnes on the thigh but the Leicester winger showed no ill effects moments later to race away down the left and lay the ball back for Vardy – whose shot could not have been closer to De Gea if he tried.
Second-half arrivals Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial threatened to put the game beyond a revitalised Leicester in the dying moments, but two saves from Schmeichel proved immaterial as the visitors earned their 22nd point from eight league games under Solskjaer.