Five things we learned from Man United's win over Burnley: Danny Ings outshines RVP and Falcao
1. Danny Ings looks better than any of United’s strikers
Burnley's 22-year-old striker has had a very impressive first season in the Premier League (nine goals from 21 games), but this was surely the best performance of the lot. Ings’ goal was neatly taken – a pinpoint header from close range – and his ability to hold the ball up and bring others into the play was even better.
You’d have forgiven Louis van Gaal for casting an envious glance at the striker, who was immeasurably sharper and more involved than any of his £50 million plus triumvirate of Wayne Rooney , Robin van Persie or Radamel Falcao. Ings cost Burnley £1m incidentally.
2. If winning when playing badly is the sign of a good team…
...Then Manchester United must be absolute world beaters.
Time and again this season, United have played terribly and somehow come off the pitch with either a win or a draw. And so it was against Burnley, who had 10 attempts to United’s three in the first half, and were superior in every department but somehow trailed 2-1 at the interval.
In fairness, Sean Dyche's team ran out of puff in the second half, but there wasn’t a great deal of improvement from United.
3. Long ball or not, United are a tough watch
Don’t worry, I’m not going to drown you with a sea of data (largely since I don’t have it) to prove whether United are a long ball team, but what is clear is that this is a largely uninspiring United side.
David Moyes was lambasted last season for not playing the United way, and Van Gaal appears to have largely continued his predecessor’s legacy.
4. Burnley have come on leaps and bounds this season
Cast your minds back to November, and winless Burnley were a bit of a laughing stock.
Many were suggesting they might even beat Derby’s record low Premier League points tally, and the team looked hopelessly out of their depth. Now Sean Dyche has a side that is hugely competitive, and plays with an enterprise and belief no matter who the opponents are.
So it was again at Old Trafford where for the first half in particular, Burnley looked every bit a bona fide Premier League outfit – despite their 19th position.
5. United’s abject defending defies belief
It’s difficult to do justice to just how bad the hosts defended for large parts against Burnley.
Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans were ran ragged by Ings and Ashley Barnes, and the moment early in the second half when the United defenders allowed Kieran Trippier’s cross to evade them and fall to Ings would have shamed a Sunday League team.
It reflects badly on the rest of the league that Van Gaal’s side have conceded just 24 league goals this season.