First-half strikes from Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney built an early lead for Manchester United, and that would be enough. The Red Devils controlled the game from start to finish, and used a dominant performance to walk away with a 2-0 win on their visit to Burnley.
The win moved Manchester United only one point behind Manchester City for the fourth place in the standings, so Mourinho’s men still have a realistic shot to reach the Champions League playoffs even if they don’t win the UEFA Europa League. On the other hand, Burnley sit 15th with 36 points, but they only are five points clear away from relegation.
Considering their upcoming schedule, Jose Mourinho decided to rotate the squad in Turf Moor. Daley Blind started at centre back alongside Eric Bailly, and Rooney started on the left wing. Martial started upfront replacing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who will miss the remainder of the season following his serious knee injury sustained against Anderlecht earlier this week.
On the other hand, Burnley featured their regular starting XI except for Sam Vokes and Scott Arfield. Both missed this contest due to injury, and Dean Marney is out for the rest of the year with a ligament injury. All things considered, Burnley used their best XI available but their strategy did not pan out as expected.
The Red Devils dominated the first half
Manchester United started dominating the game right from the start, and the first chance for The Red Devils came in the eighth minute. Martial attacked through the left flank and he placed a low cross into the six-yard box, but neither Rooney nor Ander Herrera could convert from close range. A header from Marouane Fellaini and a chipped shot from Rooney threatened Tom Heaton as well, as United had three clear attempts in the initial 20 minutes. Meanwhile, Burnley barely moved past the halfway line in the early going, but Tim Mee made his presence felt on the attack with a header that went above the crossbar.
United finally broke the deadlock in the 21st minute. A swift counter attack led by Herrera and Martial saw the French forward place the ball past Heaton. Martial moved the ball up on the pitch, opened it up to Herrera on the right, and the Spaniard found the former Monaco starlet with a through ball. Martial’s control was not the best, but he still found the back of the net. It was Martial’s fourth goal in the current Premier League campaign.
Rooney doubled the lead before the break
The pace slowed down following Martial’s strike. Burnley tried to play with a more positive attitude, but they were not able to threaten De Gea at all. United looked comfortable defending the ball, and their intensity going forward caused plenty of problems to the opposing defensive line.
That intensity allowed Mourinho’s men to add a second goal just before the halftime break. Paul Pogba sliced a through ball into the box looking for Martial, and even though the French couldn’t score, Rooney took advantage of the rebound to score his third EPL goal this season. The first half finished with a 2-0 lead for Manchester United after they dominated the game entirely in the first 45 minutes.
Burnley failed to react during the second half
Looking to generate a spark in the second half, Sean Dyche sent James Tarkowski in place of Ben Mee. However, the home side could not threaten United’s defensive line with that move. If anything, Mourinho’s men continue to control the game rather easily. There was an interesting change of pace, however. If Manchester United played with a high tempo in the first 45 minutes, after the break they decided to slow things down. Knowing they had a decent lead on the score, United chose to move the ball around without taking many risks, limiting Burnley’s chances to potentially equalize the game.
As if that wasn’t enough, United kept pushing forward and came close to score when Pogba tested Heaton from outside the box. That shot was the only clear chance in the first 25 minutes for either team, though. United opted to give Burnley the ball, looking to exploit potential spaces on the counter.
United cruised during the final minutes
Mourinho sent Marcus Rashford in the 70th minute to replace Jesse Lingard, adding a bit more pace and playing the youngster alongside Rooney and Martial for the first time in a very long time. However, the talented forward didn’t produce much in the final third and only had one chance, but failed to capitalize it. Burnley only had a wide header from Michael Keane to show as a chance, but after that they simply couldn’t produce anything even remotely dangerous to upset The Red Devils’ defensive line.
United cruised their way during the final minutes, although the one red flag was the late injury sustained by Paul Pogba that turned him into a doubt for the Europa League tie against Celta next month. Nonetheless, the 2-0 was a deserved win considering how the game happened. Mourinho’s side dominated the game in the first half, and avoided risks after the break to close things out. It was a dominant performance from a United side that kept their Premier League undefeated run alive, while Burnley once again failed to perform in front of their own crowd.
Burnley: Heaton 7; Lowton 6, Keane 6, Mee 5 (Tarkowski 5 46’), Ward 5; Boyd 5 (Gudmunsson 5 62’), Barton 6, Hendrick 6, Brady 7; Gray 5, Barnes 5 (Agyei 5 76’)
Subs Not Used: Pope (GK), Defour, Westwood, Flanagan
Manchester United: De Gea 6; Young 6, Bailly 6, Blind 7, Darmian 6; Fellaini 6, Herrera 7; Lingard 6 (Rashford 6 70’), Pogba 7 (Carrick 90’), Rooney 7; Martial 8 (Mkhitaryan 80’)
Subs Not Used: Romero (GK), Fosu-Mensah, Carrick, Tuanzebe, Rashford, Shaw
Goals: Martial (21’), Rooney (39’)
Referee: Anthony Taylor. He booked Lowton, Rooney and Hendrick during the second half.
Other EPL games today
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace (KO 16:30 UK time)
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