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Five things we learned from Manchester United’s stalemate with Burnley


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The final Premier League clash of Tuesday played out a short time ago.

Said game saw Burnley and Manchester United face off at Turf Moor.

Manchester United headed into the game needing a win to ensure they kept some breathing space between themselves and the top-four-chasing pack.

Burnley, meanwhile, are in desperate need of points to stave off relegation. They began the day bottom of the English top-flight.

But, when all was said and done, Manchester United had to settle for a share of the spoils.

Manchester United took the lead in the tie after 18 minutes when Paul Pogba slotted home from the edge of the Burnley box, getting on the end of a Luke Shaw cross.

Burnley, though, came out for the second 45 looking much sharper and drew level after 47 minutes:

Ralf Rangnick and co. were then unable to find a second goal, meaning that the Red Devils have dropped out of the top-four thanks to West Ham winning their game on Tuesday.

Here are five things 101 learned from the match.

Cristiano Ronaldo benched

The first talking point of the game obviously came before the match when Cristiano Ronaldo was benched.

In his explanation for dropping Ronaldo for Edinson Cavani, Ralf Rangnick pointed towards the need for running and chasing second balls:

And, as is well known now, the 37-year-old is no longer a very mobile player so the decision did make sense.

Back when Ralf Rangnick first took charge of United, there was some concern about Ronaldo’s future at United under the German, given that the Portuguese is not typically known for his pressing/defensive work.

Now, after Rangnick dropped Ronaldo vs Burnley, it begs the question, when Ronaldo returns to the starting line-up, will it really be what is best for United?

Pretty much every game in the Premier League now requires teams to press and chase down balls, especially when you play the bigger sides, which United will be doing a lot of in the next month or so.

And if Ralf Rangnick does not trust Ronaldo to chase the ball vs Burnley, surely that lack of trust would only be amplified against the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City?

Ronaldo may have been one of the world’s best players in his day, but it is obvious that the Portuguese, despite his ability, can often hamper his team due to his lack of defensive work.

Luke Shaw remains a valuable asset

One of the main changes Ralf Rangnick made when he came to United was making Alex Telles and Diogo Dalot their main full-backs.

And whilst Dalot has impressed down the right, Telles, who is currently out with Covid-19, has not shone as much.

Shaw, meanwhile, returned to the starting line-up vs Burnley and was one of United’s brightest players in the first 45.

The Englishman was a serious threat down Burnley’s right and created a number of big chances, including the opener from Paul Pogba.

Shaw may have been handed a start out of necessity, but his display at Turf Moor suggests he deserves to maintain a starting berth for the time being.

De Gea’s fine form continues

Conceding against Burnley obviously is not a great look for a goalkeeper.

However, despite letting in a goal, David de Gea, much like he did throughout January to earn Premier League Player of the Month, put on another stellar showing on Tuesday.

A particular highlight from the Spaniard was his save for the Wout Weghorst effort shortly after the Burnley equaliser.

United’s defence remains suspect at times, especially Harry Maguire, but De Gea continues to perform at a top level.

Wout Weghorst an excellent Chris Wood replacement

When Newcastle activated Chris Wood’s release clause in January, Burnley were dealt a huge blow.

The striker had been the Clarets most effective forward over the last several seasons and losing him in the midst of a relegation battle was a blow.

However, Burnley brought in Wout Weghorst from Wolfsburg to replace Wood and, so far, the Dutchman looks a great buy.

The 6ft 6 hitman caused Manchester United all sorts of issues on Tuesday, throwing his weight around and dominating Harry Maguire.

Weghorst would set up the Jay Rodriguez opener and also came close to bagging a goal of his own.

Burnley might not have come away with the three points, but their clash with Manchester United will have gone a long way to easing fan fears over how they would replace Chris Wood.

Manchester United lack confidence

For the second game in a row, Manchester United started superbly against an opponent they should have beaten with ease.

However, much like it was vs Middlesbrough, United didn’t grab that second goal and after conceding an equaliser out of pretty much nowhere, United’s display took a massive nosedive.

Burnley did not appear to change that much in the second half, but what did change was the United player’s confidence.

Most had superb first 45s, but as soon as that equaliser went in, the United stars sunk on the pitch.

It is obviously something that is very hard to fix, but it has become clear these Manchester United players need to react much better when they face some form of setback.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 23 41 57
2 Liverpool FC 22 39 48
3 Chelsea FC 24 30 47
4 Manchester United 22 6 38
5 West Ham United 23 10 37
6 Arsenal FC 21 8 36
7 Tottenham Hotspur 20 2 36
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 3 34
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 22 0 30
10 Leicester City 20 -3 26
11 Aston Villa 21 -4 26
12 Southampton FC 22 -8 25
13 Crystal Palace 22 -3 24
14 Brentford FC 23 -12 23
15 Leeds United 21 -16 22
16 Everton FC 20 -11 19
17 Norwich City 22 -32 16
18 Watford FC 21 -17 15
19 Newcastle United 21 -22 15
20 Burnley FC 19 -11 13
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Bowen, Jarrod West Ham United 7
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 7
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Maddison, James Leicester City 6

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