Monday, 3 September 2018

Match report: Burnley 0-2 United

Romelu Lukaku scored twice in an eventful and controversial Lancashire derby that also saw Joe Hart save a Paul Pogba penalty and Marcus Rashford sent off.
Burnley have often made life difficult for visiting sides at Turf Moor, but - after back-to-back defeats, United were, this time, largely untroubled by Sean Dyche's struggling Clarets. Following their Europa League exit in midweek, Burnley sit second from bottom in the fledgling Premier League table with only one point from their opening four matches.

The build-up to the match had been dominated by discussion of the team's stuttering start to the season. There had even been speculation Mourinho was one game from the sack.
And the club's executive vice-chairman was the target of a banner before kick-off reading 'Ed Woodward: A specialist in failure'. The players had come under scrutiny during a testing week in which everyone at United was pushed to breaking point, but the players did not let the pressure show with a professional and clinical win, kick-started by Lukaku three minutes shy of the half hour.
Having come in for criticism after his gilt-edged miss against Spurs, the Belgian looked back to his clinical best when he rose highest to nod in an Alexis Sanchez cross from close range.

The goal put United in control - control they never relinquished as we went 2-0 ahead a minute before the break, again through Lukaku. He slammed the ball home from 12 yards after the ball had deflected into his path off Ben Mee.
Jesse Lingard was again one of our most impressive performers, and went close twice in quick succession when Hart denied him from close range, before he flashed another shot wide after intricate build up between Alexis and Lukaku.
Burnley struggled to create much, but Unite were forced to survive a brief flurry of pressure from the Clarets as David de Gea saved well from Chris Wood and substitute striker Sam Wood, but otherwise we kept Burnley comfortably at arm's length. This was the ninth match of the season already for Dyche's men, due to their commendable Europa League exploits.
Luke Shaw tested Hart again at the other end, before substitute Rashford was pulled down by Aaron Lennon in the box, only for Hart to save well low down from Pogba's resultant penalty.
Moments after winning the spot-kick, Rashford harshly saw red after he went head-to-head with ex United man Phil Bardsley. The Burnley right-back kicked out at Rashford but somehow escaped censure.

Lukaku had two chances to put the game beyond any doubt on the counter-attack, but Hart saved his first attempt before the Belgian rounded the former England number 1, only to slip under pressure from Ben Mee when it seemed he would seal his hat-trick by tapping into the empty net.
Burnley huffed and puffed in the final minutes, with Vokes and Matej Vydra both heading wide, but the Reds stood firm to head into the international break with three points and a well-earned clean sheet.

Overall team performance: 7/10
United Faithful Man of the Match: Romelu Lukaku

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