Talking Points: United 3 Burnley 1
Manchester United overcame a belligerent Burnley side 3-1 at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, to close the gap on league leaders Manchester City to eight points with six games left.
The game appeared to be destined for a frustrating draw, but Greenwood struck again in the final 10 minutes, when his low, left-footed drive deflected off the unfortunate Jack Cork and into the Burnley net.
But what did we learn from this tight, tense contest at Old Trafford? Read on for the key takeaways…
FIVE OF THE BEST
The win meant a fifth successive Premier League success for United – our best run of form in the top flight since a four-game streak in November-December. It also means we’ve matched last season’s points tally (66), with six games left to improve on that return. We’ve also now recorded 19 wins – one better than last season’s total.
After a relatively fallow period, Mason is well and truly back amongst the goals. The teenager's double means he now has five in his last six games, after netting against Leicester, Brighton, Tottenham and today’s opponents. It’s nine for the season for Greenwood, who has scored as many Premier League goals before turning 20 years old as any other Man United player. He's level with our all-time top scorer Wayne Rooney on 15 teenage strikes in England's top division.
We've now cut the deficit to Manchester City to eight points with six games left. If that sounds familiar, it's because in 2011/12, that's exactly the margin we led by in the race for the title, before Roberto Mancini's side famously clawed back our advantage, eventually triumphing on goal difference. So could we still yet emerge as champions? It's a slim hope perhaps, but City have lost two of their last three in all competitions. Let's keep applying the pressure!
Edinson Cavani's injury-time settler made it 10 for the season for El Matador. He's also converted four Premier League goals from the bench, which puts him level with Liverpool's Diogo Jota as the league's top-scoring substitute. Only Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (1998/99) and Javier Hernandez (2010/11) have scored more goals after coming on in a single United season (5) during the Premier League era.
AN UNWANTED STATISTIC
Burnley’s goal meant we became the 11th side in Premier League history to have conceded 1,000 goals. Thankfully, we’re the last of the top-flight mainstays to reach that unwelcome figure, with Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea et al passing the milestone long ago.
The 32nd Premier League match of every season is the last stage at which 10 accumulated yellow cards incur a two-game suspension. There would have been some nerves for Harry Maguire before this match, with the skipper on nine before kick-off. Thankfully, Maguire – who missed Thursday’s Europa League match with Granada due to suspension – avoided the dreaded booking.
WHAT IS AN ASSIST?
Greenwood might have applied the finishing touch to our opening goal, but our no.11 would surely be happy to admit that his first goal owed a large amount to the contributions of Rashford and Fernandes. The former opened up the pitch with a sublime dummy to fool Matthew Lowton, and when he played the ball towards Fernandes, the latter gave Greenwood a simple chance on goal by cleverly stepping over the ball and allowing it to run. Bruno's dummy might not count as an assist according to the statistical gurus, but it absolutely should do. In fact, both players deserve one in this instance!