United were held to a 2-2 draw by Burnley on Boxing Day, and if not for Jesse Lingard’s late equalizer, Jose Mourinho’s men seemed all set to lose the fixture to the Clarets.
Sean Dyche’s side, after already having trumped Chelsea and Everton this season, certainly proved to be an unexpected presence against a United team that was lackluster and confused tactically.
Their first-half goals came through Barnes’ early opener, and Steven Defour’s gorgeous free-kick that grazed the fingertips of De Gea before landing into the goal, much to the collective groan of Old Trafford.
However, the free-kick was a culmination of one event in particular that had fans questioning Jose Mourinho’s tactics all night long.
Having returned to playing days, it was Luke Shaw that was taking corner kicks instead of regulars Ashley Young and Juan Mata. And as you’d have it, Burnley’s second goal started with Shaw’s poor corner curling its way into the goalkeeper’s arms.
For a player that was ignored by Mourinho for much of the season, and despite being deployed defensively, it was a confusing thing to see the full-back take free-kicks. Many fans were of the same opinion, and stormed to Twitter to make their disagreement known.
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For all we know, it was an attempt by the Portuguese tactician to make the full arsenal of Shaw’s abilities known to the world with the transfer market about to open.
Regardless, the Red Devils ended the night with two more points dropped, and if City secure another victory, they will be 15 points strong in the first place.
More worrying is the fact that Chelsea are swiftly closing the gap, and Mourinho might not even get his half-decent second spot at the end of the season.
Written by Naveen Kelvin
A writer trying to craft the poetry within football. Purpose in life is to Make Good Art.