Manchester United's five best players against Burnley
Manchester United made it back-to-back wins over the festive period with a 2-0 victory away to Burnley.
A goal from Anthony Martial on the stroke of half-time broke the deadlock in a game, which had very few clear cut chances.
Marcus Rashford managed to bundle home a break away second with the last kick of the game as the hosts committed men forward chasing an equaliser.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping that his side can continue the momentum with a win at Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal on New Years Day.
Here are the players that were crucial in United’s triumph.
Solskjaer opted to rotate his full-backs with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw dropping to the bench with Brandon Williams and Ashley Young coming into the side.
Williams was making his fourth Premier League start after not featuring in the league since the 2-2 draw against Aston Villa at the start of the month.
The 19-year-old gave United that attacking impetus we have been crying out for down the left-hand side, but he was also defensively astute whenever called upon.
A big difference between Shaw and Williams is the academy graduates sheer desire to contribute to our attacking play; he busts a gut to overlap every time we’re in possession.
Williams’ willingness to maraud forward creates space for Marcus Rashford and it as a burgeoning partnership, which Solskjaer should be using on a regular basis.
It was a faultless performance from Williams and it is clear when he is in the side our attacking intent is significantly enhanced.
Manchester United fans may have been fearful once they saw that there was no Scott McTominay or Paul Pogba in our starting line-up.
The Scot’s absence was expected, but the omission of Pogba saw Nemanja Matic recalled alongside Fred.
It is testament to how far the Brazilian has come in a short space of time that he thrived on the responsibility of being United’s chief midfielder.
Playing against a side that doesn’t give you a second to settle on the ball, Fred dictated the tempo of the match and shifted the ball quickly in tight areas.
As the games pass by, Fred’s ability to sniff out danger is becoming an invaluable asset, it allows us to recover possession and get back on the front foot.
After an impressive performance against Newcastle, Pereira was rewarded with another start in his favoured number 10 role.
Even on his off days the Brazilian’s work rate, pressing and hassling for the team never drops and it was all of those key traits that led to United’s opening goal.
United’s number 15 forced the error out of Charlie Taylor and then produced a perfect defence splitting pass to play in Anthony Martial, who calmly slotted past Nick Pope.
Pereira registered 4 key passes during the match, 2 more than any other player on the pitch before he was replaced by Jesse Lingard with 20 minutes remaining.
The academy graduates confidence looks to be soaring right now and there were a number of clever flicks and lay offs, which allowed United to get on the front foot.
With McTominay’s injury forcing Solskjaer to deploy Pogba in a deeper role, Pereira looks in command of the attacking midfielder role for the time being once again.
United’s talisman is showing no signs of resting on his laurels despite already breaking new ground with a personal best goal campaign.
Rashford’s importance to Solskjaer’s team is growing by the week, but it is a responsibility that our number 10 looks to be thriving on.
Rashford has been directly involved in 16 Premier League goals this season, only Jamie Vardy (20) and Kevin De Bruyne (17) have had a hand in more, it is clear that this is the season that the 22-year-old takes his goalscoring contributions to a new level.
Our flying left-winger completed 6 dribbles and every time he started running at the Burnley defence, you could sense their panic.
What would have delighted Solskjaer was Rashford’s desire to get on the scoresheet, when United cleared a cross from the hosts into the box, Rashford saw an opportunity to break away and get his deserved goal.
He showed his lightening speed and managed to slide the ball home to maintain his rich vein of goalscoring form.
The Frenchman once again showcased his cool, calm and clinical streak in front of goal with a classy finish at a crucial time.
It was always going to be difficult against a resolute Burnley side, who rarely give away cheap goals.
But similar to Newcastle, Martial was on hand to punish any errors and once again showed his composure when he is one on one with the goalkeeper.
In 16 games in all competitions this season, Martial now has 10 goals and three assists.
With Martial, Mason Greenwood and Rashford all currently in the midst of a purple patch in front of goal, Solskjaer could be tempted to unleash the trio against the Gunners.
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