Manchester United’s trip to Turf Moor ended on a bright note as the Red Devils defeated Burnley 1-0. An exquisite volley from Paul Pogba in the 71st minute was enough for Manchester United to seal the three points and climb to the 1st spot in the PL table.
#5 Perfect team selection from Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has often been blamed to field a defensive side. Pundits termed him as a manager who lacks ideas to open up teams that sit deep and defend. Today, it was all different. Solskjaer rested his dependable midfield duo of Fred and McTominay and opted to start Matic and Pogba.
The reason behind this personnel is Burnley’s one-dimensional gameplay of being physical and winning duels. Solskjaer read the game perfectly. He knew that Man United need to put out a dogged performance if they want any result.
Nemanja Matic was exceptional at the back. When Reds were having the ball, he used to sit between Bailly and Maguire as a centre-back. This gave Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka the license to move forward and offer support to the attackers. Due to this, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial were able to cut inside and flood in Burnley’s box.
#4 The VAR show
Same discussion, every game. In the first half, it took almost 5 minutes to rescind Brady’s yellow card and award it to Luke Shaw. Kevin Friend, the official, was asked to go to the monitor and look if Brady should have received a red instead of a yellow. But in the build-up of that move, Luke Shaw had fouled Johann Gudmundsson. The English left-back did touch the ball first but was unable to keep his studs down which contacted Gudmundsson. He was rightly shown a yellow card.
But on the other side, how did VAR not interrupt when the referee wrongly ruled out Harry Maguire’s sublime headed goal from the far post? Technology is only going to benefit us in football, but along with that, we need consistency as well. VAR has been a topic of debate and it will remain so for a long time. Let’s move ahead.
#3 Is Burnley on right track?
Sean Dyche’s Burnley is one of the clubs which will fight to remain in the English top-flight this season. With this home defeat, Burney stands at 16th position with 16 points, only 5 more than Fulham who is in the relegation zone. We all know Burnley’s game plan. They depend a lot on the long balls & aerial duels and hope for one of their strikers to latch on to the loose ball. Today, with the physicality and height United had in their first XI, they failed to do so.
It is how they have been playing for years. They won’t change their style after just one more defeat. The rule for Sean Dyche is very straightforward: aim for 40 points or more and stay in the league. It was not particularly a bad performance from the host. They sat deep and tried to launch a few balls to the strikers upfront. Nick Pope is a terrific lad and should be starting for England more often. It was another magnificent outing for the young goalkeeper. If Dyche can find a player who can score goals more often, Burnley will surely be higher in the league table as compared to where are they right now.
#2 The best of Paul Pogba
The game was bossed by Paul Pogba, to say the least. It was one of those days when Pogba brings out his beast mode and let everyone admire him. It has to be a physical game and Paul Pogba dominated it. Whether it was winning duels or keeping possession of the ball, Pogba did it all. He won all of his tackles, made 8 ball recoveries and 5 clearances, won 4 fouls and 83% of his aerial duels.
On the attacking side, he had 90% pass accuracy, created two good chances, and scored the all-important goal. Marcus Rashford crossed the ball to him when he was at the edge of the box. The French international showed exemplary technique to fire the volley back into the net. Simple, a colossal performance.
#1 Manchester United – The League leaders
Today’s win at Turf Moor took the Reds to the top of the Premier League table. Currently, they are three points ahead of Liverpool who has taken only 8 points out of the previous 15 possible.
If you are a Manchester United fan, we know how delighted you are right now. It’s been quite a hard-fought journey for United. No one could have imagined this a few weeks before when Solskjaer and his men were humiliated by Tottenham Hotspur to a scoreline of 1-6 at Old Trafford.
For the first time since 2013, Man United are at the apex of the league table after the turn of the year. The weekend’s fixture against Liverpool is now a must-watch. The showdown at Anfield will decide whether United can extend their lead at the top or Liverpool will re-claim their first spot. Who are you backing to win at Sunday’s supreme clash?