Manchester United beat Burnley 2-0 away from home this afternoon in what was a relatively comfortable game. The match wasn’t without controversy though.
Marcus Rashford came on in the 70th minute for Alexis Sanchez, who didn’t look too happy on the bench, and almost immediately won a penalty, which Paul Pogba went on to miss.
Minutes later, Rashford was shown a red card after going head to head with Phil Bardsley, a fellow United academy graduate.
After beating the defender for pace, Rashford was kicked off the ball by the right-back. Rashford pushed his head in to Bardsley’s, although it would be an exaggeration to call this a headbutt, and referee Jon Moss saw it as a straight red. Bardsley was booked for his reaction to the incident, although faced no punishment for kicking Rashford which lead to the altercation in the first place.
The coming together was no different between that of Joe Hart on Michael Oliver on derby day a couple of years ago. Needless to say, Hart, who now plays for Burnley, faced no punishment for that incident.
Salford born Bardsley joined our academy when he was 8-years-old. Before leaving Old Trafford in 2008, he was the only player in the first team squad who had progressed through all the levels of our academy. He was brought up near our old training ground, The Cliff, and used to go there during the school holidays to watch his idols train.
Now, Bardsley claims he’s still a United fan and goes to away games with his mates when he’s not playing. It is his apparent love for the club which makes his behaviour against us rather surprising. Players have to play for the shirt they’re wearing, but to repeatedly cheat against the team that gave you a career in the game is pretty poor.
In 2010, Bardsley dived in the penalty area in an attempt to win Sunderland a penalty when running alongside friend and former hero Ryan Giggs. He was booked for his dive.
It wasn’t just Bardsley who escaped a red card, but Ben Mee as well. He wrapped his arms around Romelu Lukaku in the penalty area, which should have resulted in a penalty and a booking, but Moss instead awarded a goalkick. Minutes later, when Lukaku was clear through on goal again, Mee dived on the ball and used his hands to divert the ball and deny a clear goalscoring opportunity. Again, Moss waved play on.
Moss can be thankful that United got the win today after his string of poor decisions that could have decided the game.