Man United lack bite once again
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
TUMBLE Ángel di Maria (left) clashes with Michael Duff of Burnley in their Barclays Premier League match