EPL

Manchester United 0-2 Burnley: Solskjaer's men dreadful in embarrassing defeat

By Sports Desk January 22, 2020

Goals from Burnley's Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez inflicted an embarrassing 2-0 defeat on Manchester United at Old Trafford, a loss that will surely bring Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's position into question once again.

It was Solskjaer's first home league match as United manager without Marcus Rashford - who is set for a long absence with a back injury - and his absence was telling, as the Red Devils showed little cutting edge in the final third against a Burnley side that was typically set up to frustrate.

Although United dominated much of the first half, the chances they created were wasted and Burnley were far more clinical, going into the break with a one-goal lead thanks to Wood despite having just three shots to the hosts' 11.

United were arguably even worse after the interval. The opportunities they had been crafting dried up and a phenomenal strike from Rodriguez ultimately gave them too much to do, meaning fourth-placed Chelsea remain six points clear of Solskjaer's men.

United were most threatening down the right in the first half, and Wan-Bissaka - routinely given freedom by Burnley - picked out Anthony Martial in the 15th minute, but the Frenchman could not get enough contact with the ball.

Wan-Bissaka again caused trouble in the 28th minute as his low delivery found Juan Mata, only for the midfielder to completely miss his kick as the ball struck his standing leg.

Two more chances soon went begging, with Daniel James' header forcing a save and Martial spurning a decent opening, and Burnley capitalised just before half-time - Wood steering past David de Gea at the near post after Ben Mee's flick-on.

Solskjaer introduced Mason Greenwood for the abject Andreas Pereira at half-time, though it made little difference and United soon found themselves 2-0 down as Rodriguez peeled away from Harry Maguire and lashed a scorching effort in off the crossbar from just inside the box.

United thought Charlie Taylor should have been shown a red card after he hauled Greenwood down on the edge of the box when the substitute would have only had Nick Pope to beat, but referee Jon Moss and the VAR did not agree.

Burnley had little trouble holding on to move to within just four points of their hosts, whose late goal by Luke Shaw was chalked off for a foul on Jeff Hendrick.

 

What does it mean? Reinforcements a necessity for United

Although it has been fairly obvious for a while, it now seems absolutely vital that United make some meaningful purchases in the January transfer window.

Their lack of depth was plain to see without Rashford, and those in midfield were generally hopeless from a creative perspective. Without reinforcements, Solskjaer needs a miracle to get this bunch into the Champions League.

Wood gets the better of United

There are not many strikers in the Premier League more predictable than Wood in some senses - but that does not mean you are guaranteed to stop him. The burly frontman kept United's defence occupied throughout and he proved very effective, as highlighted by his goal and then his assist for Rodriguez.

Pereira not the answer

While there are not many United players who could have avoided criticism on Wednesday, Pereira was - once again - simply not up to scratch. The midfielder saw a lot of the ball but did precious little with it, his four shots causing Pope no issues. He was unsurprisingly withdrawn at half-time.

What's next?

It is back to the FA Cup for these two at the weekend. United go to either Watford or Tranmere Rovers on Sunday, with Burnley hosting fellow Premier League side Norwich City the day before.

Related items

  • Pogba one of the world's best – Tuchel Pogba one of the world's best – Tuchel

    Thomas Tuchel labelled Paul Pogba one of the best midfielders in the world ahead of Paris Saint-Germain's clash against Manchester United.

    PSG host United in Paris on Tuesday to begin their Champions League campaign in Group H.

    Ahead of the clash, Tuchel lauded Pogba, who has been linked with a move to the Ligue 1 champions previously.

    "He is one of the best midfielders of the world. That's the key to stopping him," the PSG coach told a news conference.

    "Bruno Fernandes who makes a lot of deep passes. One of the best teams in Europe in offensive transition. It's necessary to stop counter-attacks.

    "We want to have the ball, we want to play with a lot of possession, we want to impose our style. We have to play with a good structure to play good pressing."

    Pogba's former United team-mate, Ander Herrera, also praised the France international.

    Herrera, who left the Premier League club for PSG last year, believes Pogba will be a Ballon d'Or contender if United start winning multiple trophies.

    "I think he has it all. I've already said that there is no midfielder like him. He can do everything, one-on-one, box-to-box, he can do everything. He has all the qualities," he said.

    "He now plays a little deeper than when I was there because Fernandes plays like a number 10. I think he has all the qualities to become one of the best players in the world.

    "It's true that when you see the list of players who are candidates for the Ballon d'Or, you have to play in the team that wins everything. I think that if Man United wins titles, he will be in the list for the Ballon d'Or and the end-of-season trophies.

    "But, I am a PSG player now, I wish the best for Paul and Man United because they are in my heart but [on Tuesday] I will fight in a different team, we will fight for our team, our place."

  • Carragher urges Liverpool to sign Upamecano in January Carragher urges Liverpool to sign Upamecano in January

    Jamie Carragher says Liverpool need to do whatever it takes to sign RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano in January after losing Virgil van Dijk to a serious knee injury. 

    Netherlands international Van Dijk was forced off early in the Reds' 2-2 draw with Merseyside rivals Everton on Saturday after a wild challenge from Jordan Pickford.

    Scans have since revealed Van Dijk suffered damage to his anterior cruciate ligament, an injury that will ensure he misses the majority – if not the entirety – of the remainder of the season.

    Liverpool have previously been linked with 21-year-old France international Upamecano and Carragher – the Reds' second-highest appearance maker – says Jurgen Klopp needs to bring him in as a matter of urgency when the January transfer window opens. 

    "Liverpool's next big signing had to be a centre-back anyway and I am talking next summer," Carragher told Sky Sports. 

    "Dejan Lovren went and they didn't replace him so they only have three centre-backs and one of those, Joel Matip, is always injured. There are question marks now about Joe Gomez.

    "So, there is no doubt that Liverpool had to go big in the transfer market next summer. That was the next one. That has now got to be brought forward to January 1, whoever the target was in the summer. Not the end of January. 

    "There is a young man everyone was talking about at Leipzig, Dayot Upamecano. I think he is only 6'1" or 6'2", so he is maybe not that aerial but if he is the one they wanted then bring it forward. Pay extra money and do it on January 1.

    "That means getting through 11 league games without Virgil van Dijk."

  • Ibrahimovic has 'shifted the balance more' in Italy than Ronaldo Ibrahimovic has 'shifted the balance more' in Italy than Ronaldo

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic has had a greater impact on Italian football than Cristiano Ronaldo, according to former Milan and Juventus head coach Alberto Zaccheroni. 

    The 39-year-old has made a considerable impact since rejoining Milan in January, scoring 11 goals in 20 appearances in the second half of the 2019-20 campaign.

    He has been in equally impressive form this season despite missing almost a month after contracting COVID-19, taking his tally to four goals in just two games with a double against Inter at the weekend. 

    One of the best strikers of his generation, Ibrahimovic spent two years with Milan earlier in his distinguished career, a stint that included securing the Serie A title in 2011. 

    Ronaldo, meanwhile, has been just as prolific since he joined Juve from Real Madrid in 2018, scoring 68 goals in 91 appearances across all competitions. 

    Zaccheroni, though, is in no doubt which player has had more influence on Serie A. 

    "I have coached great champions in my career, from [Oliver] Bierhoff to [George] Weah up to Adriano but the only regret I have is that I never trained Ibrahimovic," he told Il Giornale.

    "He is eternal and I still don't understand why he never won the Ballon d'Or.

    "In Italy, he has shifted the balance more than Ronaldo. It is no coincidence that many young players have grown exponentially since his arrival.

    "He doesn't just score. He transmits confidence to all his team-mates, carrying the team on his shoulders in difficult moments."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.