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Manchester United 0-2 Burnley: Now is the winter of our discontent

United straddling the line between a comedy-of-errors and tragedy.

Manchester United v Burnley FC - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Manchester United lost its second straight Premier League match as visitors Burnley earned a 0-2 victory at Old Trafford on Wednesday night. Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez delivered goals for Sean Dyche’s side before the match ended with the stadium only a quarter-filled and United thoroughly embarrassed.

The match started off in United’s favor as an unlikely player provided the majority of chances.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who’s offensive aptitude has been questioned during his first season at United, took great advantage of the soft defense Burnley played against him. Throughout the first half, the fullback delivered the ball into dangerous areas and set up clear goal-scoring chances in the 11th, 16th and 28th minutes but the chances were squandered by Andreas Pereira, Anthony Martial, and Juan Mata, respectively. In the 32nd minute, Wan-Bissaka delivered another cross — this time of the lofted variety — to, perhaps United’s smallest player, Daniel James, who won the header anyway and forced Burnley’s goalkeeper Nick Pope to levitate to stop the shot.

Unfortunately for the hosts, United’s inability to finish in the attacking end left the door open for an inevitable scoring chance for the visitors.

Burnley’s patience paid off in the 39th minute as United gave up another set-piece goal. Following a United foul in midfield, Burnley’s Ashley Westwood delivered a lofted ball into the United penalty area. Ben Mee rose up over Nemanja Matić and won the ball in the air, heading the ball to Chris Wood who found himself unmarked. Before Harry Maguire could attempt a defensive act, Wood turned on the ball and put it past David De Gea to give the Clarets a lead on the road.

Solskjaer looked to change his fortunes at the beginning of the second half by replacing Pereira with Mason Greenwood at the restart.

However, after 12 minutes in the second half, United had not found its equalizer and Burnley had its third consecutive 0-2 lead at Old Trafford. In the 56th minute, Wood and Jay Rodriguez linked up on the left side of the United penalty area with some quick one-two passing. Rodriguez quickly gathered the ball from Wood and rifled a shot to the near side, catching De Gea off guard, and the ball glanced the crossbar as it flew into the net to double the lead.

Rodriguez’s strike sent Old Trafford into an uproar and anti-Glazer chants echoed across a continuously emptying stadium as scores of United fans left the Theatre of Dreams. Soon, the anti-Glazer chants would be drowned out by the Burnley fans and, eventually, the faithful in the Stretford End.

Luke Shaw would muster a goal-scoring effort in the 90th minute that was called off as quickly as the ball was shot as the referees determined that Shaw fouled his defensive marker while trying to win the ball. Ultimately, it would not have mattered as United’s lackluster performance during the match proved that the Reds were not capable of finding an equalizer.

Manchester United will resume its league duties on Saturday, Feb. 1 when it hosts top 6 competition, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Despite the extended time in between league matches, United still have a merciless two cup matches in the interim. The Reds will first face the winners of Tranmere Rovers and Watford on Wednesday, Jan. 29 in the fourth round of the FA Cup before heading to the Emirates to face Manchester City in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semifinals. The Blues currently hold a 3-1 aggregate lead over the Reds.