Manchester United saw off a resilient Burnley side with a 2-0 at Turf Moor in the day’s late kick-off.
An Anthony Martial goal just before half-time and Marcus Rashford strike in injury time were enough to secure the win and moves the club into fifth place, above Tottenham Hotspur.
The visitors were good value for their win, with a pacy front three that caused Sean Dyche’s men problems all night.
Manchester United made four changes from the side that beat Newcastle comfortably, with Ashley Young, Daniel James, Nemanja Matic and Brandon Williams all coming in for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw, Mason Greenwood and the injured Scott McTominay.
While the Dyche made two changes to the side that lost narrowly to Everton. Ashley Barnes returns to the starting XI along with Jeff Hendrick, with Robbie Brady and Jay Rodriguez the players making way.
Both sides looked lively early on. Marcus Rashford had a wobbling free-kick parried away by Nick Pope, as well as firing a speculative effort against the outside of the post. Burnley, meanwhile, always looked a threat from set-pieces and James Tarkowski nearly opened his side’s account through a header from close range.
The first half an hour saw United dominate possession, but small persistent fouls from the home side managed to stifle any tempo that the visitors were trying to inject.
Patient buildup led to the game’s first proper chance, when United neatly kept the ball trough Williams and Fred. When the young left-back’s cross found Daniel James, the Welsh winger’s trike was charged down and fell to the feet of Anthony Martial, but his strike was blocked off the line by Phil Bardsley.
Williams kept causing problems as the half went on. His low cross was agonisingly close as it flashed across the six-yard box but just evaded Martial’s out-stretched leg.
10 - Anthony Martial has been directly involved in 10 goals in his 13 Premier League starts this season. Composed. pic.twitter.com/n8LF1Asrij
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 28, 2019
Just before the interval, Manchester United made the breakthrough. Andreas Pereira pressured Charlie Taylor on the ball and won it off the left back before sliding in an early, low cross into the path of Martial. The Frenchman made no mistake, taking the ball in his stride and dinking the ball over the onrushing Nick Pope.
And it was Martial that thought he had extended the lead in the opening moments of the second half, when he put in Daniel James’ low cross from the right. Referee Mike Dean immediately ruled it out however because of a push in the back of Tarkowski.
Five minutes later the United frontman went close again, but Pope saved smartly with his feet.
Anything good that Burnley created came through Dwight McNeil. They winger was instrumental in the home side’s creative play and displayed some brilliant footwork when he took players on. On the hour make, Dyche moved him into a more central position where he could affect the game more, bringing on Jay Rodriguez at the same time and switching to three up top.
With the turf Moor crowd behind them Burnley pressed for an equaliser. Bardsley had a low shot parried brilliantly away from David de Gea, while substitute Berg Gudmundsson went close with a free-kick from 20 yards.
With Burnley pushing for something out of the game, United’s front line should have wrapped the game up with seven minutes left to play.
Martial was put through on goal but dithered and let the chance fade, his cut back to Jesse Lingard was then blocked and nothing came of it. The pace of James, Rashford and Martial proved a constant menace for the Burnley backline.
Ultimately, the visitors did just enough to hold on. Without looking majestic, they were good value for their win and will have taken a lot of positives from three points at a tough place to play.
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