Manchester United ensured there was no repeat of the humiliation they suffered away at Leicester City earlier in the season when the Foxes came to Old Trafford on Saturday, instead recording a comfortable 3-1 win. All three of United's goals were netted in the first half, with only a scrappy consolation from Marcin Wasilewski in the dying minutes marring proceedings.
For the first quarter of the match, United scarcely looked any better than they had over the last few weeks -- despite van Gaal switching from the much-maligned back three for this fixture. They played the ball with a little more purpose than they have done, but without success. Leicester packed their entire team into their own half, and goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer didn't have a single save to make.
However, it only took one moment of brilliance to change that, and it came just short of the half-hour mark. A perfect chipped pass by Daley Blind was latched onto by (an admittedly offside) Robin van Persie, who made no mistake when through on goal. His finish was crisp (this was RVP, after all), and United had the breakthrough.
From there, Leicester crumbled. Within five minutes Radamel Falcao had netted a second, pouncing onto a rebound after Ángel Di María's low effort was parried away. A third followed on the stroke of halftime, when Blind flicked a Wayne Rooney corner off of the head of defender Wes Morgan and into the back of the net. By halftime, the game was all but over. There would be no repeat of September's collapse in the Midlands.
As such, the second half wasn't a particularly gripping affair. United generally controlled possession while Leicester looked to hit on the counter-attack, though chances were few and far between at both ends of the field. Eventually the Foxes did pull one back after Phil Jones left towering defender Marcin Wasilewski free to head in at the far post, but it was too little, too late.
Despite the disappointment of conceding, today will largely go down as a job well done for the Reds, who looked more dangerous than they have most of the season, and who still managed to put three past a team who seemed in damage limitation mode from the moment they left the tunnel. It was far from grippingly entertaining fare, but it's a start.