Man United lack bite once again

CityPress - - Sport -

Manch­ester United’s poor start to the sea­son con­tin­ued as they were held to a goal­less draw by Burn­ley yes­ter­day.

Louis van Gaal would have been hop­ing to bounce back from a dis­mal mid­week de­feat in the Cap­i­tal One Cup but, as with most things in the red half of Manch­ester th­ese days, it did not go ac­cord­ing to plan.

The no­table change to the United line-up that drew with Sun­der­land last week­end was the ad­di­tion of new sign­ing Án­gel di Maria in place of Tom Clev­er­ley.

In terms of state­ments of in­tent, they don’t get much big­ger.

How­ever, it was an­other of Van Gaal’s ad­di­tions – the 3-5-2 for­ma­tion – that came to the fore early on – and for the wrong rea­sons.

A clumsy chal­lenge from Phil Jones on the edge of the area af­ter just three min­utes handed Burn­ley an early op­por­tu­nity. It was one the Clarets so nearly took with open arms, with David Jones’ free kick hit­ting the cross­bar, as it just failed to dip suf­fi­ciently with David de Gea beaten.

Just a minute later Jones’ de­fen­sive co­hort, Jonny Evans, pro­vided a slip of his own, sell­ing De Gea short with a back pass which Lukas Jutkiewicz pounced upon.

Luck­ily for Evans, the Burn­ley striker was un­able to lift the ball past De Gea who did well to close down the an­gle.

Di Maria was the cre­ator of United’s first real chance, as his de­light­ful ball on 15 min­utes picked out Robin van Per­sie, the Dutch­man con­trol­ling well and get­ting off a shot which was well saved by Tom Heaton.

It was a brief mo­ment of ex­cite­ment for the Red Devils with Burn­ley con­tin­u­ing to en­joy the bet­ter of the chances with Jones forc­ing a save from De Gea from dis­tance be­fore Scott Ar­field’s trick­ery made Tyler Black­ett look silly as his left-footed ef­fort was de­flected be­hind for a cor­ner.

The half-time stats made for bleak read­ing for United with Van Per­sie’s ef­fort the only shot that the visi­tors mus­tered in the half.

United grew into the con­test with Di Maria’s run on 59 min­utes af­ford­ing Van Per­sie the chance to get a shot off from six yards, with Dean Mar­ney forced to clear off the line.

From the cor­ner that fol­lowed, Wayne Rooney was un­able to make the most of a free header, the newly anointed Eng­land skip­per fail­ing to find the tar­get.

Burn­ley nearly had the fi­nal say with Ja­son Shack­ell’s header across the face from the back post not find­ing any of his team-mates. – TEAMtalk Me­dia

PHOTO: MARK THOMP­SON / GETTY IMAGES

TUM­BLE Án­gel di Maria (left) clashes with Michael Duff of Burn­ley in their Bar­clays Pre­mier League match

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