A second half Pogba Volley sends Manchester United to the top of the Premier League table and now; Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are looking like title contenders, despite a horrendous start to their Premier League this season.
ABOUT THE GAME
Manchester United came to Turf Moor sitting at 2nd position, behind Liverpool on goal difference. They only needed to avoid defeat to finish a day at top of the table. United were looking solid as they were unbeaten in their last 10 Premier League games and winning against Burnley would make a solid statement to the rest of the clubs in England.
Manchester United lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1 with the duo of Matic and Pogba in Midfield area and Bailly, who is on a great form, starting ahead of Lindelof, in the back 4. Burnley, on the other hand, lined up with 4-4-2, with Barnes and Wood leading the attack.
It was a neck to neck game at the early stages till Martial got a chance in the box when he tried an overhead kick but his shot was blocked by a Burnley player in the 20th minute. Then it was Burnley’s Wood, who had a try inside United’s penalty box only to hit Bailly in the chest. The game was becoming intense as it progressed with both United and Burnley trying desperately to break the deadlock.
At 27th minute, the game stalled for about 5 minutes and there came the first controversial point of the game when Shaw tackled but planted his foot on Gudmundsson’s shin, then United started to counter as Fernandes provided a throughball to Cavani, who was fouled by Brady and it looked like a clear red card decision but then the on-field referee was asked to check both the tackles. He first observed whether Shaw committed any foul on Gudmundsson. It was probably a controversial decision when VAR overturned Brady’s red card and Shaw was shown a yellow for his foul. According to me, it was an incorrect decision as Shaw got the ball first and because of momentum caught Gudmundsson, whereas Brady’s foul was a clear red card as Cavani had a clear goal scoring opportunity.
Then around 10 minutes later, another controversial moment came in the game when Maguire’s header was overruled as it looked to the referee that he fouled Burnley’s Pieters from behind. It was an excellent header from the Manchester United captain, from Shaw’s cross. And again, it was a ridiculous decision from the referee and VAR to overrule it.
United did everything in their power to score but Burnley’s defence was rock solid and some great saves from Pope were seen as well. At 45+3’ Fernandes was shown a yellow for dissent. The game was 0-0 at HT.
The second half started with United pressing high up the field, attacking and trying hard to score a goal but just couldn’t find that end product. Pope was on top form saving some great shots from United players. Burnley dropped deeper in their half and were soaking a lot of pressure from United. Matic was top class as well. Be it defensive work or linking the play from defence to attack or intercepting. He was solid in the mid-field area.
Then came the moment all Manchester United fraternity was waiting for. At 71st minute, Pogba scored a perfect Volley goal from Rashford’s cross which was provided from the right flank.
However, after conceding the goal Burnley were all out on attack as they showed great resilience to get an equalizer. For the last 10-15 minutes, Burnley missed a lot of chances. This made Solskjaer to be more defensive so he introduced both Tuanzebe and McTominay to give the defence more players to deal with Burnley’s repeated attacks.
But it was Manchester United who won the game 1-0. Burnley showed great character before and after conceding the goal but it was United who played like leaders. Manchester United now sits at the top of the league, 3 points clear off Liverpool.
INSIGHTS FROM THE GAME
- This is the first time Manchester United have ended the day top of the PL table, having played as many as 17 matches, since 2012-13 season, under Sir Alex Ferguson.
- This is United’s first away clean sheet in the PL this season.
- United have avoided defeat at Turf Moor in their last 6 visits to the stadium (W5 D1).
- Marcus Rashford has been directly involved in 50 goals since the start of last season (36G & 14A)