For the second home Premier League game in a row, Manchester United were held to a 0-0 draw by a team from the bottom third of the division, despite dominating the game. José Mourinho’s men mustered 37 shots, with 11 on target, but Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal was equal to everything they threw at him.
With Chris Smalling ruled out, Juan Mata wore the captain’s armband for the Red Devils, with Marcos Rojo retaining his place from the midweek EFL Cup win over Manchester City, and Matteo Darmian replacing the injured Antonio Valencia. There was still no place in the squad for Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
United made a strong start to the game, with some intricate interplay opening up shooting opportunities for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Juan Mata and Paul Pogba.
The first clear-cut chance came when Mata slid Ibrahimovic through on goal with a delightful pass on 16 minutes, but former United youngster Heaton was quick off his line to deny the Swede.
Mata was next to test Heaton. The Spaniard stung the former United keeper’s hands with a rasping 20-yard effort after linking well with Ibrahimovic.
Another former Red Devil, Michael Keane, came close to putting the away side ahead in the 33rd minute as he headed Burnley’s first corner of the match just wide; a warning shot for United.
Minutes later, the Clarets were on the offensive once again. A swift counter-attack culminated with Johann Gudmundsson finding the target with a half-volley from the edge of the area. The Iceland international’s shot was straight at David de Gea, who comfortably saved.
With 40 minutes on the clock, Ibrahimovic again went close. After a beautiful one-two with Pogba, the former AC Milan star shot from 12 yards, but Ben Mee was on hand to head the goal-bound strike out for a corner.
Soon after, Heaton pulled off the save of the match, diving to his right to tip over Jesse Lingard’s header. The England forward’s effort looked destined for the top corner.
As the first half drew to a close, Matteo Darmian was brought down inside the penalty area by substitute Jon Flanagan. Much to the evident chagrin of Mourinho, referee Mark Clattenburg saw no infringement.
When the teams re-emerged for the second half, Mourinho was ushered to the stands. The Portuguese coach had apparently been punished for his protestations against the non-penalty decision.
Early in the secon period, Luke Shaw demonstrated superb pace and timing to prevent Andre Gray from giving Burnley the lead. United had been caught short as the Clarets broke forward. Shaw was the only man able to keep up with the breaking Gray, and made an excellent sliding tackle inside the penalty area to snuff out the danger.
In the 55th minute, an exchange of passes between Ibrahimovic and Rashford created a chance for Mata. The captain found the target but Heaton again saved. United then had another penalty appeal turned down when Pogba’s powerful drive struck Keane’s arm.
Some silky footwork allowed Pogba to slip Mata through on goal, but Keane denied the former Chelsea man with brilliant sliding tackle.
On the hour mark, Ander Herrera stood a cross up for Ibrahimovic at the far post. The 35-year-old striker connected perfectly with an acrobatic volley, but Heaton conjured images of a prime Peter Schmeichel as he spread his arms and legs wide to make yet another block. The England goalkeeper was having the game of his life against his old club.
It was one-way traffic at this point but the Bunley back-line remained incredibly resolute, repelling everything the home side threw at them.
In the 66th minute, Mata struck the woodwork from 15 yards. Seconds later, an Ibrahimovic header was deflected onto the crossbar. United were doing everything in their power to score but it just wasn’t happening.
And their task got a whole lot more difficult when Herrera was sent off for a second booking with 22 minutes to play. The former Athletic Club midfielder was unfortunate as he lost his footing when challenging Dean Marney, causing him to slide into the Burnley midfielder.
United were denied a spot kick for the third time when Darmian was again brought down as he dribbled into the penalty area; this time, substitute Ashley Barnes’ challenge was firm but fair.
In the 73rd minute, United made a double change, bringing Wayne Rooney and Marouane Fellaini on for Juan Mata — who’d been the Red Devils’ most creative player — and Lingard.
Memphis Depay was thrown on with nine minutes to go, replacing Rashford.
Pogba picked out Blind 25 yards from goal. The Dutchman’s shot was agonisingly deflcted over the bar. After the resulting corner, Luke Shaw curled a long-range effort just wide.
In the final minute, Pogba picked out Ibrahimovic at the far post with a stunning cross, but the striker couldn’t find the target from inside the six-yard box.
A well-worked free-kick from out wide presented Rooney with a glorious opportunity to score the winner in the third minute of stoppage time. Blind rolled the ball to the England captain 12 yards out, but his shot flew over the bar.
The final whistle blew to condemn United to a second successive goalless draw at home in the league