Man Utd leapfrogged Tottenham into sixth place in the Premier League with a convincing 3-1 victory over Burnley at Old Trafford.
Ralf Rangnick’s side responded well to their frustrating 1-1 draw against Newcastle on Monday. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Scott McTominay and Jadon Sancho all starred as Man Utd made it 31 points from 18 matches.
The Red Devils took the lead just eight minutes in as McTominay rifled into the bottom corner from the edge of the box, following a slightly heavy touch from Ronaldo.
They had a two-goal cushion by the 27th minute. Burnley’s Matt Lowton and Dwight McNeil had a mix up, allowing Luke Shaw to steal and send Sancho off down the left. The England international cut inside before guiding a right-footed effort at goal, which went in off Ben Mee.
Man Utd, watched by Sir Alex Ferguson on the eve of his 80th birthday, soon went 3-0 up. A first-time strike from McTominay was tipped onto the woodwork by Wayne Hennessey, but Ronaldo was on hand to tap home his 14th goal of the campaign.
But the home side did not have it all their own way and veteran winger Aaron Lennon struck minutes later. He raced in to pounce on a poor Eric Bailly touch, and then proceeded to beat David de Gea with a smart finish.
Burnley could not mount a comeback as United ran out comfortable winners in front of a joyous home crowd.
Manchester United (4-2-2-2)
David de Gea: Had a shaky moment when he failed to deal with a corner, as Wood rose tall to win the header. Had little chance of saving Lennon’s goal as the veteran winger dug out a clever shot into the far corner. 6
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: Put in a good block early in the first half to keep Gudmundsson and Burnley out. Put on a solid display after coming in to replace Diogo Dalot in the starting lineup. 7
Eric Bailly: A loose touch from the centre-back allowed Lennon to steal in and get Burnley’s goal. Did well to keep the pacy player at bay in the second half, before being replaced by Varane due to an injury. 6
Harry Maguire: Quiet night for the former Leicester defender, who had little to do at the Theatre of Dreams. 6
Luke Shaw: Great ball over the top to give Ronaldo his sixth-minute chance. Was unlucky not to get an assist as the 36-year-old surprisingly missed the target. Could have got on the scoresheet with 20 minutes gone when he sent a low drive crashing into the side netting. Did well to steal the ball from Lowton and McNeil in the build up to Mee’s own goal. 8
Full marks for Man Utd star
Scott McTominay: Gave his side the lead with a composed shot from the edge of the box. Almost had another, as his first-time strike was expertly pushed onto the post by Hennessey – but Ronaldo was on hand to score. Dominant display causing Burnley’s midfield all sorts of problems. 10
Nemanja Matic: Effectively kept the shape in midfield while McTominay went up to join the attack. 7
Scott McTominay with his first of the season! 🙌
— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) December 30, 2021
Jadon Sancho: Had a huge involvement in Mee’s own goal, cutting inside before attempting to curl the ball into the far corner. Demonstrated his exceptional control and dribbling ability in the build up. 9
Mason Greenwood: Did well to recycle the play ahead of McTominay’s opener. Showed some nice footwork and provided plenty of threat on the night. 8
Edinson Cavani: Less threatening than his attacking counterpart in Ronaldo but won the ball regularly and was always an option. His tireless demeanour is important if Rangnick’s system is to succeed. 7
Cristiano Ronaldo: Had a great chance to open the scoring just six minutes in but failed to keep his right-footed effort down. Was involved in McTominay’s goal as a heavy touch put the ball into the midfielder’s path, getting Ronaldo an assist. Took his customary goal with ease, tapping into an empty net after a fantastic save from Hennessey to keep McTominay out. 9
Raphael Varane (on for Bailly, 66): Had relatively little to do in the final stages as United eased to victory. 6
Diogo Dalot (on for Greenwood, 81): N/A
Fred (on for Ronaldo, 90+3): N/A
Wayne Hennessey: Could do little about McTominay’s strike as it had too much power. Showed excellent reflexes to keep the Scot out later on, pushing his venomous shot onto the post. Unlucky to see it fall into Ronaldo’s path, giving United their third goal. Did extremely well on the night considering it was his first Prem start since June 2020. 8
Matt Lowton: Gave Wood an early opportunity with a delightful cross into the Man Utd box – and the striker should have converted. Better communication with McNeil needed as the pair were at fault for Man Utd’s second goal, failing to clear. 5
James Tarkowski: Decent display from the Englishman but couldn’t help his team get the clean sheet due to United’s brilliance in attack. 6
Ben Mee: Unlucky to see the ball go in off his boot in the first half. Like Tarkowski, defended well but couldn’t keep Ronaldo and co out. 6
Charlie Taylor: The left-back struggled to deal with Greenwood’s trickery and driving runs. 5
Johann Berg Gudmundsson: Had a strike at goal inside 15 minutes but saw it well blocked by Wan-Bissaka. Failed to trouble the full-back for the rest of the night. 5
Ashley Westwood: Struggled to cope with McTominay’s energy alongside midfield partner Cork. 6
Jack Cork: Just like Westwood, the 32-year-old failed to keep McTominay at bay. Substituted in the second half as Dyche looked to add more impetus. 6
Dwight McNeil: Lack of communication with Lowton allowed Shaw to capitalise and send Sancho off down the wing for the second goal. 5
Veteran Burnley ace impresses
Aaron Lennon: The Leeds academy graduate took his goal well, nicking the ball in the Red Devils’ half before finishing past de Gea. Was always on his opponents’ toes and looking to start an attack. 8
Chris Wood: Given an early chance at goal by a great Lowton cross. Met the ball with his head but could only send it over the bar and should have done better. Didn’t get many other chances on the night. 6
Dale Stephens (on for Cork, 58): Didn’t have the desired impact in the centre of the pitch. 5
Matej Vydra (on for Lennon, 74): Failed to continue Lennon’s good work by even remotely troubling the home team’s defence. 5
Erik Pieters (on for McNeil, 84): N/A