Manchester United drew back to back games against mid-table clubs Leicester City and Burnley on consecutive Game-Weeks.
The two draws have dealt huge blows to their title aspirations after their cross town rivals Manchester City went 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League table. Here are the 3 talking points from United’s game at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.
1) Burnley are the new bogey team for the Big teams on the road:
Burnley earned promotion back to the Premier League last season and really struggled to stay back up at the end of it. But Sean Dyche’s men have really looked like a team reborn. The Clarets strengthened their squad with the inclusions of the likes of Charlie Taylor, Jack Cork, Phil Bardsley and Chris Wood last Summer; and the results have been evident this season.
On 5 visits to the top 5, Burnley have earned 6 points and have only lost to leaders Manchester City. They have been brilliant so far on their travels and they did justice to their reputation of being the new bogey team once again on Boxing Day, when they almost won the game at the Theatre of Dreams before conceding a stoppage time equaliser.
2) Manchester United’s shaky defence:
Manchester United have been badly rocked by injuries this season with almost half a dozen first team players sidelined. Defence has been the most affected zone with 3 first choice defenders in Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling all ruled out for a considerable time frame.
The result was evident as the previously solid back-line for Jose Mourinho’s side faltered and conceded as early as the 3rd minute after failing to clear the line from a set piece. They went 0-2 down on 36 minutes after a brilliant free kick. The defence was again at fault for conceding a free kick in a dangerous area.
3) Jesse Lingard proves his worth again:
Manchester United has spent close to 300 million British pounds in the last two seasons on buying players and none of them have performed consistently enough. But much to the relief of Red Devils’ faithful, the two academy players Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard have stepped up their games whenever their club has needed them. The latter again proved his worth by coming off the bench on Tuesday. He made up for his open net miss against Leicester by scoring twice, including a stoppage time equaliser to salvage a point for his team and save his manager’s blushes.
What do you think of Burnley’s performance? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo by Ronnie Macdonald