Manchester United emerged victors at Turf Moor on Saturday as the Red Devils managed to hold Burley to a 1-0 scoreline.
Martial’s sole goal, courtesy of an excellent Lukaku assist was seemingly the only moment of the match where United had a swagger to them.
Here’s how the players fared during the encounter:
David De Gea- 6.7
The Spaniard didn’t have much to do at all with a majority of the defensive tasks being handled quite well by the line in front of him. With the exception of a couple of textbook saves, De Gea didn’t have to indulge in his usual athletic antics. With a 4th consecutive clean sheet under his belt, confidence must be high.
Ashley Young- 7.8
Returning from his suspension, the veteran Englishman somehow manages to play like he was never gone at all. While conservative in penetrating ability when compared with Luke Shaw, his defensive duty was of far more importance during the fixture.
Phil Jones- 8.3
The consistency of his performance is probably why he deserves the Man of the Match spot for this outing. Paired with Smalling the duo was incredible in their defensive flair. Jones in particular was a major thorn in Burnley’s side during the first half as his level headed style of play was the only thing not allowing the home side a decent chance at goal. Startling improvement from the lad.
Identical to Jones in his defensive contributions. While his passing rate wasn’t the best of the night, his interceptions proved to be instrumental in United maintaining their cleansheet. However, he still proved to be the source of controversy during the second half as a possible penalty for a handball within the box was denied to Sean Dyche’s boys.
While maintaining a positive performance, his penetration into the box wasn’t up to the mark. Of the eight long balls he attempted, only two proved to be accurate. Despite that, his overall passing ability was top notch. Perhaps a boost of confidence is required.
One shot in total and a decent link up play. The interceptions he managed were the key area of impact during the game, as opposed to his usual holding flair. Regardless, he is looking more and more comfortable as the lone man in the center when Pogba moves a bit further ahead, and that will be instrumental to United’s success if they are able to land a player like Sanchez since Matic owns the apt skills to make that lineup work best.
Paul Pogba- 6.8
A lot of expected of the Frenchman going into the game, but all in all, he wasn’t as impressive. With four shots, all but one of them being blocked, and a yellow card for a late challenge, luck might be a stronger factor here. But he’ll be gutted to not have had an assist or goal to his name despite the ninety-minute ordeal.
Juan Mata- 6.5
United’s poorest player in terms of all round performance. In the first half, it often seemed that Lukaku was visibly annoyed by Mata’s lack of confidence to provide a through, long or even a curt ball to him despite having a decent position just on the edge on numerous occasions. No shots were attempted by the Spaniard, and if United are successful in landing Sanchez or a talented winger, worry is due for Mata.
Jesse Lingard- 7.0
With a successful pass percentage of 97% one must wonder where the lad went wrong in the night’s fixture. But it seemed that was precisely why- focused on being the source of other player’s creative efforts, Lingard’s usually successful knack for selfishness was missing in this game. That is a real pity considering how well he has been performing and the goals he had amassed. But a sense of belonging seems to be seeping into the manner in which he is playing in the no.10 spot, and that is something that Mourinho is hopefully looking to capitalize on.
The proud goalscorer for the encounter. At first it seemed that his strong attempt would bounce back into play from the framework, but fortunately for him, it trickled well into the net. But what is of more skill is the ease with which he was able to confound Pope before attempting the strike. Great style being employed by him, and despite not being a natural winger, those cut ins and brave runs from the side right into the heart of things is one that could spell great things in the years to come. It will be interesting to see how his spot will be affected with the much-touted arrival of Sanchez.
A great assist, almost better than the goal itself. Lukaku is still a mixed bag for many experts and supporters alike, one whose full value they’ve not been able to gauge with enough accuracy yet. But in this game, he showed that he is so much more than just a finisher and that he is no stranger to quality hold-up play. While goals aren’t coming with regularity, one must not just hold the Belgian responsible for it, but also remember that he is dependent on his teammates. This is something that must change if he is to make a firm impact in a Red Devil jersey.
Having retuned from injury, the Belgian did seem a bit groggy and uncertain in his approach. But that can be excused for now, and supporters will be eager for a fully fit Fellaini to make the kind of impact he did early on in the season during Pogba’s injury.
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Nick Pope- 5.5
Ben Mee- 6.4
Jack Cork- 7.3
Written by Naveen Kelvin
A writer trying to craft the poetry within football. Purpose in life is to Make Good Art.