A compelling performance by the Red Devils saw them register an impressive 3-1 victory in the Manchester United vs Burnley game on Thursday as they moved within 4 points of fourth-placed Arsenal in the race for a Champions League spot. Having faced a wave of criticism following their underwhelming display against Newcastle last weekend, the Red Devils stepped up their performance against Burnley, although much remains to be desired of Ralf Rangnick’s side.
A promising display by Scott McTominay resulted in him breaking the deadlock as United struck thrice, courtesy of an own goal by Ben Mee and a regulatory finish by Cristiano Ronaldo, before conceding a poor goal in the first half. However, the Red Devils delivered a comparatively subdued performance throughout the second half as they struggled to create any more goal-scoring opportunities amidst Burnley’s calculative desire to secure a result.
Rangnick will be hoping to build upon Thursday’s positives as the team looked in control, despite a few hiccups across the defensive line. The need for consistency remains an indispensable marker in their progress over the remainder of the campaign, with the team looking to catch up with comparatively consistent sides in the race for a top-four finish.
Starting XI In The Manchester United vs Burnley Game
David De Gea (GK) – 6/10: Relatively untested throughout the ninety minutes, De Gea remained an assuring presence between the sticks. With the team growing increasingly convincing without possession, the Spaniard will be hoping to remain consistent and contribute to the team’s progress over the coming weeks.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (RB) – 5/10: Given Diogo Dalot’s rise in recent weeks, Wan-Bissaka has been reduced to a rotational player. The Manchester United vs Burnley game was a great opportunity for AWB to impress the manager, but the English full-back failed to deliver a captivating performance on Thursday. Wan-Bissaka struggled to contribute in the build-up play but remained an assuring figure in defence.
Eric Bailly (RCB) – 5/10: Scathed for his lack of composure during Burnley’s goal on the evening, Eric Bailly remained a positive addition despite his error in the first half. The Ivorian remained an aggressive and assuring figure before being substituted off, for a potential injury, in the second half. With calls for a change in the centre-back partnership, Bailly will be hoping to be given deserving opportunities over the coming months.
Harry Maguire (LCB) – 4/10: Partly at fault for Burnley’s goal, Maguire was once again unconvincing in the backline. The centre-back, at times, struggled to cope with the visitors’ quick forwards, failing to inspire a commanding performance throughout the game. Amidst growing demands, it remains to be seen if the manager drops the team’s captain in the coming weeks.
Luke Shaw (LB) – 7/10: A boisterous performance by Shaw saw him contribute across both extremes of the pitch on Thursday. The left-back remained in control throughout the ninety minutes, delivering a convincing display in hopes of regaining his starting spot in the upcoming games. With the team looking relatively sharper on the left flank, it remains to be seen if Shaw retains his place against Wolverhampton Wanderers this weekend.
Scott McTominay (CM) – 8/10: The best Manchester United player on the pitch against Burnley, McTominay emerged as a revitalizing figure on Thursday. The Scotsman remained a reliant figure throughout the ninety minutes, registering a sublime goal, and contributed across both areas of the pitch with relative ease. McTominay has found some consistency in recent weeks and will be hoping to improve on his performances heading into the second half of the season.
Nemanja Matic (CDM) – 7/10: Amongst the silent performers on the evening, Matic’s performance granted the team a steady platform to build upon. The Serbian’s composure, combined with his vision and positioning diluted the opposition’s threats during transitions whilst adding physicality in winning the second-balls across the pitch against Burnley.
Jadon Sancho (RM) – 7/10: Sancho was significantly involved in Ben Mee’s own goal and displayed a promising performance. He remained a disciplined figure throughout the ninety minutes. The youngster’s work rate added to the team’s defensive solidity, while his ability on the ball contributed to their attacking threat in the first half.
Mason Greenwood (LM) – 6/10: While many expected a start for Donny van de Beek, it was Greenwood who retained a nod from the manager against Burnley. Although failing to deliver a compelling performance, the youngster remained a threat in possession, accounting for a few promising moments throughout his time on the pitch. With the team likely to be rotated, it remains to be seen if Greenwood works his way into the starting line-up in the coming months.
Edinson Cavani (ST) – 6/10: Granted a well-deserved start against the Clarets, Cavani delivered a diligent performance on Thursday. Paired with Cristiano Ronaldo for only the second time this season, the veteran partnership displayed a working combination, though the Uruguayan failed to register his name on the score sheet. With reports suggesting his desire to seek a move in January, it remains to be seen if the former PSG striker remains a vital part of the proceedings at United over the coming weeks.
Cristiano Ronaldo (ST) – 7/10: Amongst the players to have displayed a disciplined performance, Ronaldo remained a composed figure throughout the ninety minutes. The Portuguese combined energy with poise against Sean Dyche’s men which saw him rewarded with a relatively easy goal-scoring opportunity on the evening. Expected to remain the foremost name on the team sheet.
FT Manchester United 3-1 Burnley
— The Athletic UK (@TheAthleticUK) December 30, 2021
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Raphael Varane (CB) – 6/10: Having been rested to avoid obstacles in recovery, Varane was called upon following an injury to Bailly in the second half. The Frenchman remains the team’s best centre-back, and he will be hoping to regain full fitness and regain his place as a regular starter in the starting line-up moving forward.
Diogo Dalot (RAM) – 6/10
A surprise substitution, the Portuguese saw himself deployed in an advanced role during the Manchester United vs Burnley game. Although he failed to make a tangible impact, Dalot’s addition ahead of players needing game-time in the position could potentially raise eyebrows over the coming days.
Fred (CM) – 6/10
Having been dropped following an inexcusable first-half performance against Newcastle, Fred was introduced as a precautionary substitution during stoppage time on Thursday. The Brazilian is likely to reclaim his place from Matic in the starting line-up against Wolves.
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