Talking points: Burnley 0 United 1

Tuesday 12 January 2021 22:27

Manchester United are top of the Premier League after Paul Pogba fired the Reds to a 1-0 win away at Burnley.

It was a hard-fought affair, but one we deserved to win as the Frenchman struck 19 minutes from time in a second half dominated by the Reds.

United would have been ahead by the break had Harry Maguire’s headed finish not been ruled out as he was adjudged to have fouled Erik Pieters in the process, but a strong showing in the second period secured the points.

Here are the essential discussion points from our latest win on the road...

Paul Pogba wheels away in celebration after scoring the only goal.


The result at Turf Moor, in what was United’s game in hand after a delayed start to the season, means we’re now top of the pile in the Premier League for the first time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, having last been at the summit in September 2017. Reds fans looking for omens may also note that the last time we were leading after the turn of the year was in the 2012/13 season, when we went on to claim our record 20th league title.


The first half in particular saw a number of big calls from on-field referee Kevin Friend, as well as the VAR officials. First Edinson Cavani was hauled down by last man Robbie Brady, but while a check on the foul by former Red Brady may have upgraded his yellow card to a red – Luke Shaw was instead deemed to have fouled Johann Berg Gudmundsson in the build-up as the pair challenged for a 50-50, bringing play back instead for a free-kick to the Clarets. Then as Maguire scored from Shaw’s cross, referee Friend called a foul on the skipper for having an arm on Erik Pieters's back and this time VAR stuck with his choice.


Having frustrated us for 70 minutes, Sean Dyche’s men might have been confident to see the job through – that was until Paul Pogba fired a lethal volley goalwards. Receiving the ball on the edge of the area from Marcus Rashford's cross, Paul hit it first time and with power. Taking a slight nick off Matt Lowton, Burnley stopper Pope had no chance.


In a month that will see us play nine times in all competitions, keeping the team fresh is going to be vital and with this being our third game since last Wednesday, it was perhaps no surprise that Ole rotated his squad – with 10 new faces from the side that beat Watford in the FA Cup at the weekend. The only man to keep his place was Eric Bailly. The Ivorian has now been involved in each of our last four Premier League matches, keeping two clean sheets in the process.


Attention now turns to a table-topping showdown with our long-time rivals Liverpool in a match that will be as hotly anticipated as ever. Having just leapfrogged them in the table to go top, victory at Anfield would put six points between us and the champions.