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Manchester United go clear at prime after Paul Pogba volley sees off Burnley

Manchester United are prime of the Premier League and for this they will thank Paul Pogba whose affect grew after the break, the midfielder crowning his show with a candy 71st-minute winner. This got here when Bruno Fernandes discovered Marcus Rashford alongside the appropriate and he crossed for Pogba to smash in a volley that beat Nick Pope by way of a Matthew Lowton deflection.

Victory means United go to 36 factors and overtake Liverpool, with 33, after 17 video games – this having final been achieved after the identical variety of matches when beating Sunderland 3-1 on 15 December 2012 underneath Sir Alex Ferguson.

The upturn in United’s fortunes underneath Ole Gunnar Solskjær is additional underlined by the 33-point swing they’ve engineered over Liverpool as they go to Anfield on Sunday: earlier than final time period’s corresponding fixture United had been 27 factors behind.

United launched into the lean at overtaking Liverpool with near their strongest XI. This had Edinson Cavani restored to centre-forward after a three-game suspension, Eric Bailly handed match to start out a fourth consecutive league outing, and Paul Pogba partnering Nemanja Matic in midfield. Burnley began with Ashley Barnes outmuscling Bailly underneath a high-ball: a primary sight of a recurring ploy of theirs. Having to look at United hog possession would even be a theme for them and so it was Fernandes, Pogba, Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial all did so for United early on.

Solskjær’s males struggled to discover a telling rhythm, although. Assaults faltered earlier than being constructed and so the competition was caught within the center third: exactly the place Burnley needed it. Persistence, then, was absolutely key for United: they’d nearly all of the ball so it was about discovering the best way to make use of it.

When Fernandes, Matic and Shaw mixed the latter launched a cross from the left which Martial dummied and abruptly Fernandes had sight of aim. His shot went straight into the palms of Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope however this was higher from United.

Nearly as good was a transfer on the opposite aspect. This time Rashford tapped the ball to Fernandes and he chipped it behind Martial, whose overhead volley was once more saved by Pope.

Complacency appeared United’s best menace. Fernandes fell prey to this when a heavy contact allowed Lowton to pickpocket him – Burnley swept ahead however Chris Wooden’s try was blocked by Bailly. Just a little later Martial shot extensive when hitting the goal was the least required.

A bitty contest had two moments of VAR intrigue. Shaw challenged Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Fernandes took over, hitting a 40-yard move into Cavani, who was felled by Robbie Brady as he approached the Burnley field. Kevin Good friend, the referee, blew for a foul and issued Brady with a yellow card.

VAR inspected each incidents, then instructed Good friend to do the identical on the pitchside monitor. He did so and determined to chalk off Brady’s reserving and as a substitute challenge Shaw with a yellow card for his sort out on Gudmundsson, the left-back taking his leg after the ball. United had been upset, Burnley tried to race again downfield to take a fast free-kick however weren’t allowed to and, when lastly executing it, did not capitalise. There was additional confusion when a Harry Maguire header that beat Pope was dominated out as a result of him pushing Erik Pieters when leaping. Whereas this appeared harsh, Martial ended the half by warming Pope’s fingers.

So United started the second half on stage phrases and thus on target for the purpose required to take them above Liverpool. Burnley had provided near zero menace but might nonetheless hope of nicking a aim and an unlikely win.

It might certainly should be as United continued to dominate, a deflected Fernandes shot that yielded a nook exhibiting as a lot intent as a buccaneering Pogba surge that scattered claret shirts round him. This created area for Martial to cross from inside Burnley’s space from the left. Right here was the competition’s clearest probability – the ball teed up for Cavani at point-blank vary however the usually deadly No 7 mis-kicked and Sean Dyche’s aspect escaped.

The miss illustrated an absence of composure the place it counted from United. Fernandes let go a pea-roller from lengthy vary. Martial took the ball off Cavani’s toes within the space to inadvertently thwart the Uruguayan. The Frenchman strayed offside when bearing down on Pope. Then Rashford unloaded loosely at near-range.

This was attack-v-defence to an nearly comical stage. Josh Brownhill and Ashley Westwood every drew yellows for rugby-style pull-downs – an indication of Burnley’s rising fatigue.

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