Yet another brace went in vain as Manchester United were able to salvage a lone point on boxing day against a spirited Burnley.
Old Trafford was let down by first-half goals from Barnes and Defour, before substitute Jesse Lingard was able to score two goals, the second of which came after the ninetieth minute, to save United from holiday season shame.
Here’s how the players fared during the encounter.
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David De Gea- 5.2
Dreadful showing from the Spaniard who let in two goals. Ever since his brilliant performance against Arsenal, De Gea has been getting progressively poorer in front of goal. The only slack that can be cut for him on the night is that Defour’s free-kick was absolutely top notch, and apart from gazing the ball, there was nothing the shot-stopper could do.
Ashley Young- 8.2
Continuing the norm from the past few weeks, the veteran was in brilliant form against Burnley, and provided the assist for Lingard’s much-needed goal. Potentially a player that Mourinho could keep for the rest of the season before looking into the transfer market for a replacement.
Phil Jones- 6.7
The otherwise calm and confident presence in the defense appeared very uncertain today. Utterly miserable work that ensured Burnley’s opening goal went in with just two minutes showing on the clock. Perhaps a full return from his injury has still not been made as reflected in the unstable play.
Marcos Rojo- 5.6
The worst defender on the field by a great margin. Forced into play by Chris Smalling’s injury, the Argentine was quite literally on his knees when the first goal went in, and was subbed off by Mourinho in the first half, after which the Red Devils witnessed a drastic improvement in their play.
Luke Shaw- 7.0
A surprisingly brilliant showing by the young Englishman, who was gifted a rare opportunity by Mourinho. With an astonishing 5 shots to his name, Shaw appeared more offensive than Lukaku, who could manage just one. Despite the dismal performance of the team, it is his showing that is a major talking point, as he certainly proved to have most, if not all the qualities that Mourinho is rumored to be on the lookout for in January.
Paul Pogba- 7.6
A firm presence on the field as usual. Save for his usual far cry attempts at goal from a distance, the Frenchman did little wrong. However, it did appear that he played a lot deeper than usual on the night, but that could easily be attributed to Ibrahimović’s presence as well. Regardless, he will be gutted to have not found the back of the net in any of his 5 attempts.
Nemanja Matic- 7.0
The holding midfielder seemed a bit shy on the night, and despite making two key passes, was not the firm presence manning the helm of defense that he usually is. Another player that needs but just a bit more effort to regain his glamour from the start of the season.
Juan Mata- 6.7
Great in the first half, poor in the second. The Spaniard, having scored two goals in his last appearance, started off the encounter in high spirits, but couldn’t continue the momentum save a few inspiring moments here and there. With the form of Lingard showing a marked brilliance, his starting spot is one that could be easily swapped away by Rashford or Martial, so he must have a statement to make to Mourinho.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic- 6.7
The Swede’s first Premier League start of the season wasn’t what many would have hoped for it to have been. Shaky in the offense, spectators could see a glimmer of the man that netted goal after goal last season, but that was just about that. Nearly had a phenomenal goal in the first half if not for a crowded defense ahead of him, and the fact that he was subbed off at half-time to a positive result must warrant great introspection.
Marcus Rashford- 7.2
Criticized for being selfish in recent games, the youngster was much better on the night. In the second half, in particular, he made some spirited runs, all of which were rendered redundant by the Burnley defense. One does feel at times that paired with Lukaku up front as a second striker might be a better use of his talents, but Mourinho seems to have no plans to do that.
Romelu Lukaku- 5.9
You just know something is wrong when a lone Manchester United striker has just one shot on goal, that too off target, against a team like Burnley over the course of ninety minutes. It certainly seems high time for Mourinho to employ some stringent measures and ensure that the message of consistent performance goes through to the former Evertonian.
Jesse Lingard- 9.0
Easily the Man of the Match. His substitution at half-time breathed life into the game, and Old Trafford will be much relieved that their academy graduate salvaged at least one point on Boxing Day, keeping their streak unbroken. A player that certainly warrants more consistent starts in the second half of the season, and whose 6 Premier League goals have a look of wanting to go into the double figures and beyond.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan- 6.7
Another chance for the Armenian to show his worth to Mourinho as well as anyone who might be on the lookout with the transfer market on the cusp of opening. Nothing too remarkable during the 45 minutes he played, and wasn’t able to inject that much of an attacking spirit that removing a defender for an attacker normally should have.
Nick Pope- 7.1
Despite letting in Lingard’s two goals, he was in brilliant form on the night, and managed to frustrate the United attack with his 4 crucial clearances.
Ben Mee- 6.4
Kevin Long- 7.9
Apart from creating Barnes’ phenomenal opener, the defender was in terrific shape throughout the match and had some memorable trysts against the Red Devils, most of which he ended up coming out on top of.
Jack Cork- 5.5
A textbook perfect free-kick from the midfielder. While Burnley weren’t all that strong in attacking, his goal ensured that the side spent a tremendous amount of the match breathing easy, and if not for Lingard’s efforts, could have been the Man of the Match.
Sam Vokes- 5.7
With that, it seems all but certain that United won’t be giving too much worry to City in terms of a title challenge, but you never know in the Premier League, and with the cold setting in, one man’s bold prediction about South Americans can be the last straw for Mourinho’s men.
Written by Naveen Kelvin
A writer trying to craft the poetry within football. Purpose in life is to Make Good Art.