Monday, 27 January, 2020


Martial grabs victor as United squeeze past Burnley

Burnley's Jeff Hendrick left and Manchester United's Nemanja Matic battle for the ball during their English Premier League soccer match at Turf Moor Burnley England Saturday Jan. 20 2018 Martial grabs victor as United squeeze past Burnley
Noah Ferguson | 22 January, 2018, 22:27

The win meant second-placed United kept the pressure up on Premier League leaders Manchester City, but the gap still remains at 12 points after City beat Newcastle 3-1 on Saturday evening.

Anthony Martial's second-half strike was enough to hand the Red Devils a slim win at Turf Moor.

Having failed to register a shot on target in the first half, Martial fired the victor in off the crossbar nine minutes after the break as United picked up their second win since City's first top-flight loss of the campaign at Liverpool last Sunday.

Manager Jose Mourinho said after the game that he "thinks" Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez will complete his move to Old Trafford.

Burnley, who slip to eighth with the loss, fought hard for an equaliser and Icelandic winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson struck the bar with a free kick.

United and Arsenal are in negotiations over a swap deal involving Sanchez and Mkhitaryan, with Mourinho saying he wasn't sure what was behind the hold-up.

It may not have been thrilling, but it was the kind of disciplined performance that United need to keep delivering if they are to be in position to take advantage of any slip-ups from City.

United were edging possession but doing little of note with the ball in a strangely casual first half that ended without a shot on target from either side.

Ashley Young, back from suspension, was one of the few United players who could hold his head high after the opening 45 minutes having been preferred at left-back to Luke Shaw, who Jose Mourinho had sung the praises of on Friday. "I will just be calmly waiting for news, no more than that".

United played a fluid formation with Lukaku as the lone central striker, Nemanja Matic the holding midfielder and then a flexible four of Martial, Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard.

Burnley immediately sought an equaliser, Gudmundsson clipping the woodwork with a free-kick from the edge of the box before referee Mike Dean waved away appeals for a handball by Chris Smalling in the United area.

Sean Dyche made some attacking changes, which included loan signing Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, but United survived to claim an important three points from a game that could be their last before Sanchez's arrival and only a good save from Nick Pope denied Martial an impressive second goal.

- The Clarets have lost three consecutive Premier League home games for the first time since April 2010.

At the other end, though, Spain goalkeeper David de Gea helped the visiting team clinch its fifth successive clean sheet.

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