Manchester United’s perfect run under former forward Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finally ended as the Red Devils were held to a 2-2 draw by a spirited Burnley side at Old Trafford
Ashley Barnes capitalized on a mistake by Brazilian midfielder to give the visitors a shock 1-0 lead in the 51st minute. And matters were worsened for the home side after Chris Wood’s strike in the 81st minute. United, who had won all 8 of their previous games under Solskjaer , were now staring at a their first defeat under the Norwegian with just 9 remaining on the clock. United’s performance upto this point had not been quite upto the level that they had displayed in recent weeks. They lacked fluency and were unable to carve out real openings in the final third.
Solskjaer sent on Jesse Lingard for Andreas Pereira in the 63rd minute and he had an instant impact on the overall play. United looked much more threatening and their link up play was much better. The Red Devils were then awarded a penalty in the 86th minute when Hendrick pulled Lingard in the box. World Cup winner Paul Pogba stepped up and confidently struck his spot kick to salvage some hope for the home side. Manchester United, then, quite sensationally equalized via defender Victor Lindelof’s strike in the 92nd minute.
The home side showed great heart and desire, something that they had been lacking under previous manager Jose Mourinho, to salvage a point at home. And although United did drop two points, Solskjaer looked quite content with the ultimate outcome as United looked their old selves, albeit for a brief spell, as they were under Sir Alex Ferguson.
The draw meant that United now have 45 points from 24 games on the board. They are 2 points behind 5th placed Arsenal, who defeated Cardiff yesterday. They trail 4th placed Chelsea by 2 points, who will have the opportunity to extend that gap to 5 points when they take on AFC Bournemouth at Dean Court.
Solskjaer must have seen the impact that Lingard had on the overall gameplay of United, and will try and make sure that Lingard is starting most of their fixtures from now onwards.