Premier League: Paul Pogba scores as Manchester United kick off with a win

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WORLD Cup winner Paul Pogba’s third-minute penalty and a late goal from Luke Shaw has given Manchester United a 2-1 win over Leicester City at Old Trafford in the opening game of the Premier League season.

Pogba, fresh from his triumph in Russia with France, was named captain by manager Jose Mourinho and took responsibility for the penalty after a handball by Daniel Amartey, slowly shuffling up before beating Kasper Schmeichel.

Paul Pogba prepares to put Manchester United ahead from the spot. Picture: Getty Images
Paul Pogba prepares to put Manchester United ahead from the spot. Picture: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Leicester responded well with new signing James Maddison forcing a fine save out of United keeper David De Gea as the visitors gave Mourinho’s side plenty to think about.

The Foxes showed that even without Riyad Mahrez, who has joined Manchester City, they remain a team with plenty of creativity.

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Fred conceded more fouls (3) in the opening 55 minutes than any other Man Utd or Leicester player.

Not a dream debut so far. 😰 pic.twitter.com/JA1xOhLKEa

— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 10, 2018

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Red for Fred. Surely @FA will take action on this? Blatant kick. If this was Diego Costa, he’d be out until January. https://t.co/fBhvXPf5s3

— CarefreeDaily. 🚬 (@CarefreeDailyFC) August 10, 2018

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So Fred kicks Grey over and isn’t red carded surely it’s violent conduct, the ball wasn’t there #MUNLEI

— Glyn (@GCR_1984) August 10, 2018

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Why was Fred not sent off? If it was given as a free-kick, then surely that means the officials saw it? Useless

— Jed Court (@jedgore) August 10, 2018

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That kick out by Fred must be looked at by the FA

— David McDougall (@achtung_davie) August 10, 2018

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Fred with the early kung-fu kick of this game. #MUNLEI

— Mohan (@_beingmo) August 10, 2018

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POGBA’S NEW PENALTY TEKKERS

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It took United just two minutes to open their account, but some were more preoccupied with the way in which stand-in skipper Paul Pogba went about slotting the spot kick.

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The World Cup winner sauntered up to the ball and took six entire seconds from the beginning of his run up stroke the ball into the back of the net.

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But regardless of how unconventional his stuttering approach may have been, it got the job done, with the midfielder finding the top corner past stopper Kasper Schmeichel.

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Pogba’s run up to the Pen that has put Man Untied into the lead. https://t.co/HGvnmrIKrf

— Historical Sport (@HistorySport_) August 10, 2018

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That Pogba run up is deserving of a red card. Fml 🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️😑

— Callum H 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 (@callum1247) August 10, 2018

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Paul Pogba’s penalty run up
(🎥: @442oons )pic.twitter.com/BgqILl0N9t

— Troll Football (@TrollFootball) August 10, 2018

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Pogba’s run up made me feel ill

— Trip (@alexeward123) August 10, 2018

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POGBA V SANCHEZ FOR PEN DUTIES

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But before the skipper got the opportunity to step up to the spot, he had to negotiate with teammate Alexis Sanchez.

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The pair engaged in discussion that appeared to revolve around who would take the penalty – given away by Daniel Amartey’s early hand ball.

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Some joked that Pogba simply reminded the Chilean of his feats at the World Cup, cheekily asking him to pull out *his* winners medal!

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While commentator Martin Tyler quipped that the Frenchman won the debate by ‘8 or 9 inches’ referring to the height disparity between the pair.

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Sanchez: please, let me play this penalty.

Pogba: 😂 Were you at the World Cup?
Have you ever played in a World Cup final?
Have you lifted the World Cup?
Sanchez: Oga no Vex. Na just request. pic.twitter.com/O7l0VidXCd

— Omotolani (@Blacqxx) August 10, 2018

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Pogba cleared up the confusion after the match.

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“We don’t really have one [a designated penalty taker]. Even if the manager puts down the names, it’s about how we feel,” he said.

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“I decided to take it – I was one of the names – but maybe next time I can leave it to Alexis, it’s not a problem.”

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ROMA TROLL UNITED

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The Twitter antics of AS Roma are the stuff of legend, and on this occasion they came up with the goods again.

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The Serie A club delivered a hilarious troll of United as the Red Devils were sent to the spot after just two minutes.

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Looks like the Premier League is back then https://t.co/h9iKRiiYMG

— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) August 10, 2018

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Alongside a retweet from the official Premier League account which read ‘penalty to Man Utd,’ they added ‘looks like the Premier League is back then!’

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Another cracker onto their lengthy Twitter CV!

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LEICESTER’S OPENING DAY TORMENT

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For the last two Premier League seasons now, Leicester have been handed the honour of playing in the opening match.

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But it didn’t quite go to plan for the Foxes on either occasion.

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In fact, they were behind after less than three minutes both times!

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Leicester have played in the opening game of the last two Premier League seasons and conceded within three minutes in both:

• 17/18: 94 seconds vs. Arsenal
• 18/19: 146 seconds vs. Man Utd

Both scored by French players. 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/NAM18yXqRU

— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 10, 2018

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This season, Pogba’s penalty put them behind after just 146 seconds, while last year’s clash saw them trail to Arsenal care of Alexandre Lacazette’s strike on 94 seconds.

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Poor old Leicester.

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PAUL Pogba assumed the responsibility of captain handed to him by Jose Mourinho to help Manchester United get off to a winning start in the Premier League with a 2-1 win over Leicester City on Friday.

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Less than a month since Pogba scored in the World Cup final to help France lift the trophy, he was thrown straight into action by Mourinho despite just returning to pre-season training this week.

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Pogba’s third-minute spot-kick settled the hosts’ nerves as United allayed some of the doom and gloom predicted by Mourinho after failing to land a series of targets before Thursday’s transfer deadline.

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Luke Shaw sealed the points seven minutes from time before Jamie Vardy headed home a consolation for the visitors.

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It was the left back’s first ever senior goal, in his 134th appearance.

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After being scapegoated and bullied by Mourinho last season, the young left back has returned to the fold in stunning fashion.

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After a week in which Pogba has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford, with Barcelona’s interest piqued by the Frenchman’s frosty relationship with Mourinho after he was repeatedly dropped last season, the Portuguese showed his faith in the midfielder by surprisingly handing him the armband.

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Mourinho has consistently complained in recent weeks over his lack of backing from the United board and also had a host of injuries and players lacking match sharpness after the World Cup to contend with.

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United added only Brazilian midfielder Fred, teenage full-back Diogo Dalot and third-choice goalkeeper Lee Grant to the squad that finished 19 points adrift of champions Manchester City last season.

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But the hosts got a much-needed lift after just two minutes when Daniel Amartey was harshly adjudged by referee Andre Mariner to have handled Alexis Sanchez’s shot.

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Pogba resisted the pleas of Sanchez to take the spot-kick and after a prolonged stuttering run up, dispatched his shot into the top corner giving Kasper Schmeichel no chance to repeat his penalty saving heroics at the World Cup for Denmark.

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United failed to build on that positive start, though, as Leicester went onto enjoy the better of the first-half with £20 million signing James Maddison impressing on debut.

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Mourinho was particularly annoyed to miss out on a series of centre-back targets, including Leicester’s Harry Maguire who shone for England in Russia.

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However, he can still rely on one of the world’s best goalkeepers as David de Gea put his poor World Cup showing behind him with a fine save to prevent Maddison levelling.

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Fred had a debut to forget before being replaced 15 minutes from time and was lucky to even last that long when Mariner looked leniently on a kick out at Demarai Gray before half-time.

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Both sides’ top scorers from last season, Romelu Lukaku and Vardy, started on the bench after their World Cup exertions and were introduced for the final quarter.

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Vardy nearly made a vital contribution as provider when he outmuscled Shaw and picked out Gray in the middle who was denied by another fine save by De Gea.

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Lukaku then passed up a golden chance when Schmeichel spread himself well to turn the Belgian’s effort over the bar.

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Shaw, who himself has suffered plenty of criticism from Mourinho in the past two seasons, appeared to make the game safe when he fired low into the far corner to spark wild celebrations from his manager.

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However, Vardy pulled a goal back deep into stoppage time when he stooped to head in after Ricardo Pereira’s cross came back off the post and United were forced to see out a nervy final few minutes to get off to a winning start

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