Manchester United has closed the gap on the top four to just two points courtesy of a comfortable 3-0 win over troubled champions Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.
Quickfire goals either side of half time from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Juan Mata ensured that the visitors ended a run of three consecutive draws in the Premier League, leaving Leicester just one point clear of the relegation zone.
United were able to make the most of defeats for Arsenal and Liverpool yesterday, but the game got off to a slow start and Marcos Rojo’s half-volley which drew a routine stop from Kasper Schmeichel was the closest either side came in the opening 20 minutes.
Having held their own for the majority of the first half, though, Leicester saw the game slip away from them courtesy of two goals in the space of just 88 seconds shortly before the break as United suddenly sparked into life.
It was Mkhitaryan who provided the piece of quality the game had been lacking up to that point in order to break the deadlock, beating Robert Huth to the ball just inside the Leicester half before racing through on goal and firing past Schmeichel.
One quickly became two as United took control of the game from nowhere, with Ibrahimovic scoring his 20th of the season when he swept a low Antonio Valencia cross through the legs of Wes Morgan and past a helpless Schmeichel – a goal which saw the Swede become the oldest player to score 15 times in a single Premier League campaign.
United scored three times in the space of seven minutes on their way to a 4-1 win over Leicester in the reverse fixture, and they repeated that feat either side of half time as they picked up where they left off upon the restart.
It took just four minutes for the visitors to add their third of the afternoon as Mata played a one-two with Mkhitaryan before sweeping the ball past the keeper at his near post having been left by Christian Fuchs and played onside by Morgan.
United could have had a fourth just three minutes later as Leicester continued to collapse, with Rashford racing on to a through-ball before seeing his low drive across goal turned behind by Schmeichel.
United, meanwhile, extend their unbeaten run to 15 matches – the best current streak of any team in Europe’s top five leagues – to move within two points of the Champions League places and only one behind fifth-placed Liverpool.