A smooth sailing win for United, a defeat for Liverpool and a defeat for City: a perfect day in the life of a Manchester United fan. Well, yesterday was just one of those perfect days. United comfortably defeated Burnley 2-0, Liverpool lost to Crystal Palace and City lost to Arsenal in the FA cup. Liverpool’s loss to Palace has opened up a big gate for United, a gate to finish third in the table.
This was another must win and a tough game for United, just like the games that United face in the run-in till the end of the season. Burnley have been formidable at home this season, picking up 32 out of a possible 36 points.
And United were without star man Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who may have just played the last game of his United career (I hope not!), and Marcos Rojo. Because of these consequences, some people suggested that this will be a tough one for United and Burnley might even win all three points. But Mourinho and United disagreed. This time, Mourinho didn’t spring many surprises with his selection. Wayne Rooney started, as predicted, and Marcus Rashford was rested for the derby, something that had been rumoured in the build-up to the game.
The game started and once again not a lot of people predicted a comfortable United win, just like last time versus Chelsea. De Gea was once again not tested. The game started in a pretty boring fashion. United weren’t able to keep possession and Burnley too didn’t use a lot of theirs. The first notable chance arose in the ninth minute after Martial cut the ball back for Rooney. After some fine work down the left hand side, Rooney fluffed his shot and it ended up with Tom Heaton, who saved it on the line.Then, in the 12th minute, Fellaini got a free header from an Ashley Young corner, but he headed straight to Heaton. In the 18th minute Rooney had a chance on the edge of the box, but instead of trying to cross, he tried to chip Heaton and failed. But in the 21st minute, United got their goal. A certain Anthony Martial received the ball in United’s half before turning past Joey Barton. Martial then slid the ball to Herrera who played a neat first time pass straight back to Martial, who took a good first touch before putting the ball past an outstretched Tom Heaton, to give United the lead.
Then in the 39th minute, Anthony Martial received a brilliant pass from Pogba and then tried to beat Heaton at the near post, but Heaton blocked the shot. But Rooney was right there, pouncing on the loose ball to just send it past the line. As the half time whistle approached, it looked like United had put the final nail in the coffin.
The second half wasn’t the most entertaining. There were a couple of minor chances as United looked to conserve energy, and understandably so. The final whistle was blown and it ended 2-0 to United. United’s first ever Premier League victory at Turf Moor.
At full time, Mourinho looked satisfied, and why shouldn’t he be? He got what he wanted. Martial reacted well to his tough love, putting in a man of the match performance, Rooney showed that he isn’t completely done yet, United got the three points and they weren’t required to use lots of energy.
A perfect weekend for United, but they need a few more perfect ones to finish in the top-four.