Rewind to a time not much more than twelve months ago. Stood on the touchline at the Kingpower Stadium was a manager whose team looked bereft of ideas, short of a leader and heading in one direction only, downwards.

José Mourinho, when interviewed after that 2-1 loss to Leicester City, unashamedly blamed his players for not following orders. This despite the fact that, as he well knows, the ultimate responsibility lies with the person who picks those players.

Roman Abramovich obviously concurred with the opinion that the manager was at fault and Mourinho was out of work.

As is usually the case in the crazy world of football, this actually worked to his advantage and meant he was available to take the job he always wanted with Manchester United, although he had to wait until Louis van Gaal had won the FA Cup and then been unceremoniously removed from power.

Back to the present and another manager stood on the touchline at the Kingpower Stadium. His team also looked bereft of ideas, short of a leader and heading in one direction only, downwards. How one short year can switch the boot to the other foot so cruelly.

Claudio Ranieri, being much more of a gentleman than José Mourinho will ever be, refused to blame his players who, rather than looking as though they weren’t following instructions, actually looked more like they didn’t have any! Gentlemen, unfortunately, in the modern era of Premier League football are unlikely to be successful. Granted, Ranieri has won the title, but it was surely a one-off and the true Leicester City are now on show.

They could be relegated, which would also be a cruel ending to their season. This would mean that, instead of being remembered solely for winning the Premier League when competing against almost impossible odds, they would be remembered as the team who won the title and got relegated the following season. They can do without the last bit.

How the fortunes of the two managers have changed. Mourinho is now sitting in sixth place in the Premier League, managing one of the biggest clubs in the world, and is the only Premier League manager still competing for four trophies.

Ranieri must be wondering if winning the league last season will be enough to keep him in a job this season. Apparently he was asked by the board whether he would stick with the club if they were relegated to which he replied that he would. This was long before relegation was a distinct possibility. It now remains to be seen if the board will stick with him if the worst happens, or even if it doesn’t!

The game itself was very even for the first half hour with neither team playing particularly well. That all changed when United scored through Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Within a couple of minutes, Zlatan Ibrahimovic had made it 0-2 and the game was effectively over.

Shortly after half-time Juan Mata scored number three and it became a stroll for United. They were so comfortable against a clueless Leicester City side, that they could afford to give them some hope by sending on Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Young, two players who should be darkening football pitches elsewhere but, for whatever reason, are not only still at Old Trafford but are getting some game time. Hopefully this is so other clubs will think they are good and buy them. In the case of Young it was an exercise doomed to failure as he merely managed to give the ball away every time he got it, nothing new there then.

This failed to spur Leicester on to greater things and the game petered out with the result that United gained three points on both Arsenal and Liverpool, so it wasn’t a bad weekend at all.

This time around it is José Mourinho going home happy and Claudio Ranieri with an uncertain future.


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