It was cold, rainy and ultimately dreary at Turf Moor. It was another frustrating evening as Manchester United drew 1-1 against the Clarets. United’s improvements under Ralf Rangnick have been incremental and they were on show once again — especially in the first half — but like in the cup game, there was no win to show for it.
A sublime delivery from Bruno Fernandes, planted perfectly with his head in the corner by Raphael Varane in the 12th minute, was disallowed after a VAR check. This would set the tone for the rest of the game. It should’ve been United’s first set-piece goal for the season but the bad fortune wasn’t to end there.
Six minutes later, Bruno Fernandes played a volleyed switch to Marcus Rashford, who ran at the Burnley defender before slipping it to Luke Shaw on the overlap. Shaw’s cut-back found an onrushing Paul Pogba, who finished the move with great aplomb.
A few minutes later, it looked like Edinson Cavani, who started ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, got on the scoresheet but the goal was immediately disallowed. On the replay, it was clarified that Ben Mee was the one who got the last touch. It looked like another soft call from the referee,
United were dominant for the rest of the half, not letting Burnley have a single attempt on goal. Edinson Cavani also had a great chance but Nick Pope put his body on the line to deny him.
United kept applying the pressure but Burnley’s backline stood strong in the face of a storm. Burnley then decided to get their act together in the second half and were immediately rewarded with a goal.
In the lead up to the goal, the Clarets had put their foot on the accelerator but this allowed United to get going on the counter. United fumbled in the final third, which gave Burnley the initiative before Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay got into a collision. Burnley’s new signing Wout Weghorst found Jay Rodriguez despite the best efforts of a trailing Maguire.
The issue here was that Maguire is the sort of centre-back who likes to get touch tight. McTominay, not being a holding midfielder, also likes to get touch tight and this sort of conundrum is something United will have to run with till they recruit a holding midfielder.
David De Gea was soon forced into a save from range from the re-energized Weghorst. Burnley had found a spring in their step but United kept pressing for the winner. Varane had a little flick that was denied by Ben Mee and Ronaldo had a headed attempt over the bar after coming on as a sub.
The exasperated figure of Paul Pogba towards the end summed up the feelings of every fan. Burnley kept biting at United with little fouls. The dropped points will be a big blow for United’s top-4 aspirations. United can’t afford to drop many more.