Final Score: Burnley 0-1 Manchester United
Anthony Martial scored his 9th Premier League goal of the season to secure Manchester United a hard-earned 1-0 win against Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday.
As United wait for the arrival of Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal, Martial provided Jose Mourinho with a timely reminder of his attacking talents as the French international scored the only goal of the game after the break.
Romelu Lukaku held the ball up well in the middle before breaking down the right flank and switching the play to Martial with a cross-field ball. The 22-year-old Martial made no mistake, smashing the ball in off the bar past goalkeeper Nick Pope.
Burnley pressed forward in search of a leveller, coming closest when Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s free-kick hit the bar and Ashley Barnes missed a header. Both sides had penalty appeals turned down. Paul Pogba wasted a golden chance with 15 minutes left, with the France international shooting from range when other options were available.
United goalkeeper David de Gea rarely looked troubled despite a siege on his goal in the final five minutes. The Red Devils held on to extend their unbeaten run to seven games. The result will come as a huge sigh of relief to Mourinho, who saw his side rescue a late 2-2 draw against Sean Dyche’s Clarets at Old Trafford back in December.
With the important win, United remain three points ahead of third-placed Chelsea in the table and put some pressure on Manchester City ahead of their meeting with Newcastle United.
Manchester United Player Ratings
David de Gea – 6/10
He was largely untroubled before a late surge by Burnley in the final five minutes. The Spaniard’s distribution was subpar and needs improvement.
Antonio Valencia – 6/10
He was defensively decent but lacked adventure on the attacking front. Had a quiet game by his standards.
Chris Smalling – 5/10
Smalling endured an abysmal first-half against Ashley Barnes, who gave the entire United defence a tough time with his hold-up play. The United defender improved after the break and made a crucial interception to deny Burnley the equaliser.
Phil Jones – 6/10
Another rock solid display. Looked vigilant whenever the hosts set up a counter-attack. A really assured display from the England international.
Ashley Young – 6/10
Justified Mourinho’s decision to start him ahead of the in-form Luke Shaw. Young produced the best moment of the first-half on his return to the team. He was defensively good too.
Nemanja Matic – 5/10
He looked very shaky and lacked intensity. Broke up the play well but his passing was really poor. It was clearly not his day.
Paul Pogba – 6/10
Some of his playmaking was a treat to watch. Marauded forward with intent, showed creativity and spread the game well. He wasted a glorious opportunity to win the game early.
Juan Mata – 4/10
He worked hard for the team but never exerted his control on the game. With Sanchez’s arrival imminent, Mata has to up his game as he looks like the player who’d make way for the Chilean.
Jesse Lingard – 6/10
The in-form England international was full of running and provided a different verve of attack.
Anthony Martial – 7/10
The Frenchman gave Bardsley a tough time and was a real menace for the host’s defence. Scored the only goal, with fantastic composure.
Romelu Lukaku – 7/10
His hold-up play was excellent against one of the league’s most solid defence. Supplied a brilliant assist to Martial for the winner.
Marouane Fellaini – 5/10
Helped United defensively when Burnley looked for an equaliser late in the game.
Marcus Rashford – N/A
Was brought late on to shore up the game.
Ander Herrera – N/A
Was put into the game to eat up the extra time.