Manchester United made it 5 wins in-a-row in the Premier League with a win over their bogey side, Burnley. They took the hard way into achieving that, scoring thrice in the second half to record a 3-1 win and move 8 points behind Man City at the top of the table.
The Red Devils started the game well and dominated the first half – keeping 73% of the possession but being frustrated by Burnley’s stubborn defending.
United came out the second half flying on all cylinders and got the lead in the 48th minute thanks to Mason Greenwood’s emphatic finish from close range. But Burnley got one back two minutes later thanks to James Tarkowski’s powerful header from a corner.
Despite Burnley’s best try to park the bus, the Red Devils broke their rigidity by regaining the lead in the 84th minute after Greenwood’s shot took a wicked deflection before going into the back of the net. United then sealed the deal with a goal in added time when Edinson Cavani finished off a swift counter-attack with a tap-in.
It wasn’t easy and United’s hand was forced in the second half, but their quality eventually outshone Burnley’s 19th century soccer to give them a big win. A few more wins are needed to seal Champions League qualification, but that now looks a matter of time with United playing with a real swagger these days.
Manchester United player ratings vs Burnley
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (7.0)–
Solskjaer’s initial selection was too cautious, which is why United couldn’t really threaten Burnley at all in the first half. But he made more progressive changes in the second half, giving a more attacking thrust to his side which eventually paid off. He made the right decisions moving Pogba central and let him & Bruno move forward & dictate things to help get the win.
His subs scored & assist so it worked well too and did well to help end the Burnley curse at Old Trafford – ensuring United get their first home win against them in the PL since the 2014/15 season!
Dean Henderson (5.0) –
Almost had a terrible start after completely botching an attempted clearance punch and allowing Wood’s header to go into the net but bailed out by an offside call. Then AGAIN comes off his area necessarily in the 54th but thankful to not see Burnley score off that. Much more stable with his cross collection and saves late on, but needs to ensure not to make those mistakes he did in future games.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (6.0) –
Wan-Bissaka looks more involved in the attack today and made some bright forward runs in the first half-hour, but his delivery still wasn’t good enough. Allowed Tarkowski to go straight through him to score his equalizer. Looked vulnerable defending Burnley’s crosses but at least kept their wing neutralized with his solid grounded defensive work.
Harry Maguire (4.5) –
The man with the biggest head and best header in the PL looks surprisingly susceptible to the aerial challenges today, being ousted in some key duels in the first half. Makes a terrific interception in the 49th to stop Dwight McNeil from scoring. But undoes all that by getting outmuscled by Tarkowski for his equalizer seconds later. In a game he usually excels at, Maguire was actually bullied and looked a bit jaded on multiple occasions.
Victor Lindelof (5.5) –
Lindelof tends to struggle against physical teams like Burnley and doesn’t look too comfortable today either, missing out on some tussles today. Had communication issues with Henderson but eventually did just enough to keep Burnley’s strikers quiet & help his side get the job done in the end.
Luke Shaw (7.5) –
Shaw seems to have his crossing magic back again and created a few decent chances in the first half with his set-piece delivery. He created 6 (!) goal-scoring chances and tormented Burnley with his overlapping runs, but unfortunately, his teammates weren’t as rewarding. Defensively pretty solid again and maintains his very high consistency level with another stellar performance.
Scott McTominay (7.0) –
Nearly got a goal in the 4th after popping inside the box for a shot that was blocked. Thriving against the physical battle today and bullied Burnley’s midfielders. Made a brilliant run into the area in the 89th but sees his shot saved really well to deny him a late goal. A real proactive figure in the middle, winning back possession with crunching tackles and used his towering figure to counter Burnley’s rugged style really well.
Paul Pogba (8.0) –
The Frenchman is enjoying some great form and nearly had a great start here, with his towering header in the 10th clipping the post! Gets another header in the 30th but it goes wide. Cleverly picked out Greenwood in a wide area to set up his shot leading to the second goal. Dealt with Burnley dirty style really well, moving the ball around swiftly and also putting in sturdy defensive work – winning 10 duels and 3 aerials! Another superb performance from Pogba.
Fred (6.0) –
Despite recording a 100% passing accuracy in the first half, Fred didn’t really do much in terms of creativity – forcing Pogba & Bruno to do all that. He wasn’t the worst, his general passing & pressing were good, but his lack of any attacking impact forced Solskjaer to take him off at half-time for Cavani.
Bruno Fernandes (7.5) –
Bruno hasn’t scored in the league since the Manchester Derby but got a great chance to do so in the 13th, but his attempted curler from just outside the box went wide. Played a big role in the opener, producing a brilliant dummy to fool every Burnley defender and allowing Greenwood to score. Struck a clever header on goal in the 69th but denied by a swift save.
Got an even better scoring chance in added time and dummied the goalkeeper before his shot was cleared off the line. Played his role in the third, marauding United forward on a counter-attack before allowing Van de Beek to assist Cavani. He was very influential in getting the win again but will be gutted not to score.
Mason Greenwood (9.0) –
Despite playing as the no.9, Greenwood seems to intent on moving to the right-wing today! Misses a potential sitter in the 38th not being able to put a toe-poke into the open net. But redeems himself with a superb finish from close to put his side ahead. Then a bit lucky with his second, with his powered shot taking a wicked deflection before going into the goal.
He had a bit of an identity crisis with his role, but excelled in the right-wing role in the second half. Tormented Burnley with his movement and his emphatic shots were thankfully on target today. 4 goals in last 5 for him now and peaking at the perfect time.
Marcus Rashford (8.5) –
The Englishman looks recharged today and created some nice chances early on, especially playing Bruno through into the area in the 13th. Takes a powerful shot on goal in the 29th that is saved really well. Denied a potential penalty minutes later after getting the ball past the keeper and then thwarted down only for the referee to wave play on.
But he finally gets his goal contribution minutes after the break, nutmegging past the Burnley right-back before cleverly finding Greenwood for his strike. Rashford was just unplayable on the day, nutmegging players, pulling off all the trickery and creating all the problems with his movement. Surprisingly subbed late on after a brilliant display.
Edinson Cavani (6.5) –
Took a little time to get into the game before coming alive late on. Made some great passes and gifted a late goal after a tap-in from yards out.
Donny van de Beek (7.0) –
Gets only a little cameo on his 24th birthday. Earns a birthday present with an assist for Cavani’s strike, cleverly picking him out in a central area. Getting better & better.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Greenwood came alive after a slow start, scoring two clever goals. Other than, he was involved in almost everything good about United and helped them get the job done. He gets my MOTM for today.