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United moves into first with 1-0 win over Burnley

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Manchester United are in a very unfamiliar spot of late sitting in first place in the Premier League.

Paul Pogba’s second-half goal was enough to hold off a Burnley side that squandered some glorious opportunities to equalise late in the match.

With the win, United is all alone in first place with 36 points.

It’s unfamiliar territory for the Reds who haven’t led the league at this point in a season since Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season with the club.

That’s also the last time United won the Premier League (2012/13).

Game Story

 Throughout much of the 90 minutes, United looked the hungrier side.

That being said they rarely threatened the Clarets in the opening half-hour.

A reversal of fortune in the 32nd minute appeared to light a spark in the Reds.

What was initially a Man United free-kick and caution for Robbie Brady was reversed on VAR and Luke Shaw was instead shown a yellow card.

The Burnley free-kick came to nothing but from that point on United seemed to kick their game into high gear.

Their best first-half chance came to Anthony Martial who controlled the ball on the edge of the Burnley penalty area with his shot labeled for the top corner.

Nick Pope did well though to get across and tip it over.

United’s pressure paid off in the 71st minute when Paul Pogba put his team in front.

The Frenchman started the move himself driving towards the Burnley box.

He met Marcus Rashford’s cross from the right volleying it goalward.

The shot took a deflection off Matthew Lowton giving Pope no chance.

Too Little Too Late

Sean Dyche’s men did have a late flurry but lacked the finish in front of goal.

In reality, they should’ve come away with a point given the quality of their chances late in the match.

Lowton nearly went from goat to hero getting away down the right in the 84th minute pulling his cross back for Matej Vydra but his shot deflected off Eric Bailly and just wide.

In the 88th minute, Burnley was screaming for a penalty when a corner cannoned off Harry Maguire’s arm but VAR ruled it to be inadvertent.

A Dwight McNeil cross in the 91st minute caused a mad scramble inside United’s penalty area but James Tarkowski failed to make good contact on it squandering a glorious chance.

Vydra could’ve equalised in the 96th minute from a set-piece.

It dropped nicely for him but he couldn’t keep his close-range effort down and sailed over.

In the end, the Clarets left it far too late and didn’t really open up United’s defence until the latter stages.

This is the second time this season that the Clarets failed to register a shot on target in a Premier League match.

Man of the Match

 Paul Pogba was once again an influential presence in the United midfield.

A midfield that’s usually seen Bruno Fernandes grab the headlines, the Frenchman is starting to resurrect his game.

His second league goal of the season helped the Reds unlock what was a stubborn Clarets defence.

Since his agents’ controversial comments suggesting Pogba should leave United he’s really transformed his game.

His creativity, vision, and strength on the ball are starting to show and United is reaping the rewards

Perfection

 United remain unbeaten away from home with a seventh win in this current campaign.

They’ve not lost on the road now in the Premier League in their last 15 matches.

This is the first time all season that United has kept a clean sheet in league play outside of Old Trafford.

Turf Moor continues to be kind to the Reds who’ve now conceded just one goal at Burnley in their last 10 Premier League visits.

Manager’s Thoughts

 Following the victory United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he’s proud of how hard his team fought.

“When you get three points in the Premier League it makes you smile. It was a hard-fought three points though. It always is up here,” says Solskjaer.

“Second half we played really well, then you expect the onslaught in the last five minutes. They are so well organised. There aren’t many spaces but we did look at some of the spaces.”

Solskjaer adds he’s looking forward to this weekend’s matchup with Liverpool.

“Liverpool have had an unbelievable three and a half seasons, but we couldn’t have asked for a better time to play them. We’re in good shape, and we’re hungry” says Solskjaer.

Next Up

United travel to Anfield for that top of the table clash with Liverpool on Sunday at 4:30 pm. (JSL).

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