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Manchester United looked to get back to winning ways and move three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea when they hosted Burnley at Old Trafford. But just as it’s been throughout this season, they were unable to capitalize on their top-four rivals’ slipping, succumbing to a shocking 0-2 loss.
The Red Devils completely dominated the first half, but the visitors took the lead from a set-piece in the 39th minute when Chris Wood powerfully finished from close range.
Things went from bad to worse for the hosts, with Burnley scoring again in the 57th-minute thanks to an emphatic strike from Jay Rodriguez from outside the area. United huffed & puffed looking for a comeback but just weren’t able to carve apart the visitors on the day. Props to Burnley for sticking to their gameplan, defending strongly and being clinical to snatch a smash & grab win.
But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side couldn’t do either and for all the possession, they just couldn’t take the little chances created, falling to consecutive losses for the first time this season. They look a broken shell without Marcus Rashford and if reinforcements aren’t made, the next few weeks/months could bring even more humiliation for the Red Devils.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (5.0) –
Ole just doesn’t learn from his mistakes. He isn’t putting any effort into strengthening United’s set-piece weakness, which cost them again in the first goal. Playing an underperforming Andreas for Mason Greenwood- who’s been excellent at Old Trafford- didn’t make much sense.
Of course, he’s unlucky as United should’ve been better in converting their chances early on. But neither he nor his players were able to figure out how to break down a side they easily defeated last month proves how inconsistent his tactics are. If he doesn’t force his owners to sign impactful players, things WILL get worse for him and he won’t find much sympathy either.
David de Gea (4.5) –
De Gea was beaten at his near-post too easily for the opener. Couldn’t react at all to Rodriguez’s thunderbolt. Considering he’s United’s highest-paid player, he definitely should’ve reacted better for both goals. With Dean Henderson impressing against Man City recently, DDG’s position could be in serious threat next season if he doesn’t rediscover consistency.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (6.5)-
AWB looks more threatening moving forward, putting in some inviting crosses early on. Robbed off an assist in the 28th with his brilliant pass being wasted. Another inviting cross four minutes later troubles Burnley. He put in an industrious shift defensively once again, limiting McNeil’s threat. Very unlucky not to get rewarded for his attacking persistence.
Harry Maguire (5.0) –
Maguire looks the most proactive United defender out there. Won every duel until the opener, when Wood fazed past him to score. Should’ve closed down Rodriguez to stop his effort. Apart from those two slight break-in-concentration, he did make a few crucial challenges and was as usual strong in the air. Unable to inspire a comeback for his side.
Phil Jones (5.0) –
The error-prone centre-back comes in for Lindelof today. He was a bit too aggressive for his own good and could’ve done better to stop Wood from assisting the second. Always seemed to be walking on thin ice and when he ventured forward to help his side, he couldn’t come up with anything productive either.
Brandon Williams (5.5)–
The fiery left-back is making those lung-bursting runs whenever required. But he’s been prone to making too many fouls, causing set-piece problems for United. Couldn’t really link with James as much as he’d wanted to, although he did manage to find some incisive passes to open up things.
Fred (6.5) –
Fred’s the one trying to make that incisive passes to link together attacks. Tested Nick Pope with an ambitious shot in the 22nd minute. He did his job pretty well actually. Closed down Burnley’s attack, made a ton of recoveries & drove United ahead by quickly linking from defence to attack. Can’t really be faulted for this drab showing.
Andreas Pereira (4.0)-
The Brazilian had a stinker at Anfield. Not showing enough of what’s demanded from him. Struck a weak shot at Pope right before half-time. That summed up a dreadful, ineffective half. Subbed at half-time.
Nemanja Matic (5.5) –
His job is to protect United from counter-attacks today. Looks up to the task. Much more precise with his forward passes, superbly finding Martial for his chance in the 34th. But then he lost the aerial duel to Ben Mee, leading to Burnley’s goal. Considering he’s much taller than him, that shouldn’t have happened. He was otherwise defensively strong, but couldn’t inspire United into scoring.
Juan Mata (5.0) –
Mata’s creativity needs to be on point. His first-touches have been beautiful but he shockingly missed one from yards out in the 28th. Had another golden opportunity to score via a free-kick around the 68th minute, but his attempt scoured over the bar. He tried a lot of unique stuff, but everything failed on the day. Couldn’t break Burnley’s resolve when United needed it the most.
Daniel James (5.0) –
James is operating through his preferred left-wing and made some flurry forward runs in the early minutes. Managed to surprise everyone by outjumping the big Burnley defenders and forcing a save after the half-hour mark. Getting in behind the lines, but unable to find that killer pass. Attempted a curler wide in the 63rd.
Now goalless in nearly five months. Not at all precise with his crosses either. Forgettable outing.
Anthony Martial (5.5) –
Martial was prolific in the reverse fixture last month. Looks lively from the get-go today. Unable to connect a promising chance from close in the 15th. Then took one-two many touches leading to a botched chance in the 34th. Dropped deeper to force chances late on, forcing a solid save in the 74th. Punts another weak shot at Pope five minutes later.
He tried hard but didn’t get enough delivery and when he did, he was lethargic with his finishing. His impressive record against Burnley ends.
Mason Greenwood (6.0) –
Immediately raised the energy levels after coming on. Trifling the visitors with his unpredictable movement. Powered a shot barely wide in the 83rd minute. Proved why he should’ve started with a lively showing,
Jesse Lingard (5.0) –
The most he did was hit a shot straight at a Burnley defender and then a weak attempt straight at Pope to end the game in fitting fashion.
Luke Shaw (5.0) –
Shaw was brought on to add more to United’s attacking depth, but just couldn’t find the breakthrough through side. Did score a header late on, but that was called off for a blatant foul.
Fred was perhaps United’s best player again today, putting in another hard-working effort. But today’s MOTM was Ben Mee, who got an assist and was an absolute rock at the back.