It was the much-vilified Paul Pogba that won the game for Manchester United in a close encounter with Burnley that had few scoring chances Tuesday.
United were the better side and made their greater ball possession pay in the second half, and for the first time since September 2017, United are looking down the other 19 clubs in the English Premier League. This puts the Red Devils in good stead as they travel to Anfield on Sunday to face Liverpool.
The intentions were obvious from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seeing the 11 players he sent out at Turf Moor.
Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Edinson Cavani started together but Burnley came out more aggressively and pinned United to their half. Nick Pope, in goal for Burnley, faced his first shot from United in the 16t minute–a tame effort from Fernandes.
It took a decisive block from Eric Bailly on 23 minutes to stop Chris Wood from giving Burnley the lead. Martial got a chance in the 24th minute, but he dragged his shot wide.
A Quick interchange of fouls-one saw Robbie Brady initially shown a yellow card which was rescinded after a lengthy VAR check. Kevin Friend then showed Luke Shaw a yellow card and awarded a free kick to Burnley.
United captain, Harry Maguire, had the ball in the net in the 37th minute but referee Kevin Friend ruled it as a foul on Erik Pieters. A minute later, Cavani attempted a bicycle kick that struck Ben Mee at point-blank range, but Friend waved away shouts of a penalty.
Nick Pope made a great save from a Martial effort on the dot of 45 minutes. There were four minutes added on, but both teams went into the interval level with chances at a premium and United with 66% of ball possession.
The second half saw United upping the ante and Cavani should have scored the opener six minutes into the half, but he did not get the needed purchase to get the ball past Pope.
Another shot on target from Fernandes failed to trouble Pope as Unite played more in the Burnley half. Fernandes had another shot on target on the hour but still could not trouble Pope.
When the goal came, it was from United’s best player, Pogba, whose clean volley took a small nick of Mee to beat Pope in the 62nd minute.
As United’s influence had grown in the second half, the much-vilified Pogba became United’s driving force, both offensively and defensively.
It took a great block from James Tarkowski to keep the margin at one in the 82nd minute.
Four minutes later, a clever ball down the channel gave Matej Vydra a shooting chance which was deflected for a corner.
Tarkowski then had a great chance to equalise in the 89th, but the ball didn’t quite sit well for a better strike on goal. Martial had another chance to seal the points in added time, but he shot straight at Pope.
United held on for their seventh away win of the season and the top position on the table.
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