Talking Points: Burnley v Manchester United
Manchester United continued our positive Christmas form with a 2-0 victory over Burnley on Saturday.
After our second hard-fought festive win in just three days, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about the win…
With Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba missing due to injury, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer handed Nemanja Matic his first Premier League start since September, at Turf Moor. And the midfielder did not look out of place against the Clarets, who always offer a physical battle in the centre of the park. Our no.31 more than held his own and his range of passing allowed United to launch regular attacks against Sean Dyche’s men.
Brandon Williams hadn’t played in any of our last five Premier League games but, like Matic, was selected from the off against Burnley. The full-back was no doubt keen to show Ole what he can do after a spell out of the squad, and the manager will have been impressed with his contribution. In the first half, in particular, the defender’s forward-thinking nature provided opposition full-back Phil Bardsley with repeated problems. In fact, the former Red was booked after just 23 minutes for a rash tackle on the youngster. Brandon also put in a fantastic defensive display as the Reds kept a fifth consecutive clean sheet in matches at Turf Moor.
Tony has played three times at Turf Moor (he was an unused substitute in 2018) and, on Saturday, he extended his record of scoring and winning in, all of those clashes. The striker’s well-placed finish means he has found the back of the net on average once every other other game in the league this season. Martial could, and perhaps should, have had a second against Burnley when he poked the ball into the back of the net after 50 minutes. However, referee Mike Dean adjudged the Freshman to have fouled James Tarkowski in the build-up and awarded a free-kick to the hosts.
Turf Moor triumphGallery
Take a look at 20 photos from Saturday's battling 2-0 win over Burnley...
The encounter in Lancashire was our final match of 2019 - Ole’s first full calendar year in charge of the Reds. In was nice for both him, and our excellent away following, to finish it with three points and a well-deserved win. Burnley threw everything forward in the closing stages, including keeper Nick Pope for one set-piece, but the win pushes United up to fifth in the table.
THE TOP-FOUR PICTURE
Our victory over the Clarets means we’re now just one point off fourth-placed Chelsea. For their part, the Blues are in action on Sunday against Arsenal, who have Mikel Arteta in charge for his first game in charge at the Emirates. His second will be against United on New Year's Day. Meanwhile, one of our other top-four rivals and next week's Emirates FA Cup opponents - Wolverhampton Wanderers - face a tough test against Liverpool, with the Black Country side fresh from their dramatic victory against Manchester City on Friday night.