Manchester United have picked up a vital win before the international break, beating Burnley 2-0 at Turf Moor. It was a tale of two halves, as United dominated the opening 45 minutes, and grabbed two goals courtesy of Lukaku. The second half was a tighter, and more hectic affair, with United missing a penalty and having a player sent off. At the end of the day, Man U were able to secure the three points in a tough away game.
José Mourinho named a starting XI for the occasion, opting for physicality instead of finesse. He reverted to a back four, with Shaw and Valencia either side of a centerback pairing of Lindelöf and Smalling. Fellaini came into the team for Ander Herrera, and played alongside Matic and Pogba in the midfield. Lukaku was flanked by Sanchez and Lingard, with Martial and Rashford on the bench.
United controlled possession early on, and passed it around the field. The first chance of the contest fell to Lingard, who settled the ball at top of the box, but curled a shot wide.
Man U continued to create, using the wings to great effect. A low cross from Valencia picked out Lingard, who flicked it on. His effort was lackadaisical, and was deflected before being tipped away by Joe Hart.
Another chance fell to Lingard, but he was once again unable to convert. The opportunity was very similar to his goal from the World Cup, as he ran onto the ball near the edge of the area. Unlike the World Cup, however, this shot went well wide and high of the target.
United finally took advantage of their dominance in play, and grabbed the opening goal. Sanchez picked up the ball on the left wing, and lobbed in a cross to the back post. Lukaku rose highest, and headed past Hart with relative ease. It was a typical goal from the Belgian, who uses his strength and awareness to give United a deserved lead.
The away side came close to doubling their lead on the counter attack. Alexis played Lukaku in behind, who went for a dinked finish, but Hart predicted it, and got his hands up to make a brilliant save.
The Red Devils made it two right before the end of the half to really control the game. Shaw got in behind the Burnley defense, and found Lukaku in the middle, who laid it off to Lingard at the top of the area. His shot was blocked, but Lukaku reacted quickest, pounced on the rebound, slamming home from close range.
It was a relatively dominant first half for United, who controlled the pace of play, and didn’t allow Burnley to start any dangerous attack. On the other hand, the home side were woeful, and looked incredibly tired as a result of their previous Europa League qualifying matches.
Burnley did show some attacking impetus to start the second half, as United sat back and let them have the ball.
United almost scored another out of nowhere, as an aimless long ball from Smalling was brought down immensely by Sanchez. The Burnley defense was able to recover, and tackle the ball away for a corner, which lead to nothing.
Mourinho made his first sub at the hour mark, throwing on Rashford to replace Alexis Sanchez.
The home side created their first half chance of the game soon after, as a cross was lumped into the area. Chris Wood won the aerial duel, but his header had no pace on it, allowing De Gea to make an easy save.
Man U were given a golden chance to get a third, when a penalty was awarded after Rashford was hacked down in the area. However, Pogba’s weak effort was saved by Hart.
Soon after came a moment of pure stupidity from Marcus Rashford. After a late challenge from a Burnley defender, Rashford squared up to his opponent, and led with his head, effectively head butting the player. A scrum broke out, and after the dust had settled, Rashford was sent off. It was the correct decision, which means that he will be suspended for the next three games as well.
All the momentum was with the home side, who won a free kick in a dangerous area. The cross in was good, but the header went well over the bar.
The second substitution for United came fifteen minutes from time, as Ander Herrera came on for Lingard to bring in some defensive stability.
Lukaku had yet another chance to grab his hat trick, this time being played through by Pogba. The Belgian was able to get by Hart, but was taken out by the Burnley defender. The referee thought the challenge was fair, and signaled for a goal kick instead of a penalty.
The game flew wide open, as both sides had chance after chance. Burnley went to the air once again, but De Gea was able to deal with another header. Pogba has a half chance right after, controlling a cross in the penalty area, but the angle was too tight, and his shot rolled wide.
The last change made by Mourinho came in the dying minutes, as Eric Bailly replaced Pogba to kill time.
They had to hold on, but United were able to secure the win and the clean sheet. Following the upcoming international break, Manchester United’s next game is away to Watford.