Against a backdrop of the controversial European Super League formation, United had to deal with domestic opposition, coming off the regulation European competition in the Europa League. A slow start as expected and it never rose above that really. The first half swung between both the teams as half chances were shared. The second opened quickly with Greenwood firing into the net, which was quickly cancelled out by Tarkowski. United were slow and ponderous, maybe due to the European hangover and just because it is the way we play, but eventually they would break through as a deflected shot from Greenwood nestled in the near post. United would confirm the points through Cavani but so nearly lost it if Matej Vydra had a better final ball. 8 points off the top with 6 to go. Surely not right?
Everyone has a clear idea of how Burnley will set up. They set up in a typical 4-4-2, play direct more often than not and will challenge your CBs and goalkeeper aerially. You see, myself and everyone reading would know this. It looked like United had failed to remember who they were playing against, as they seemed to be a lack of appreciation to combat the strengths that Burnley have. Within the first 30 seconds, the Clarets had the ball in back of the net. If not for Chris Wood being an inch offside, it would have been an utterly embarrassing start for Man Utd, especially the goalkeeper, Henderson. After coming through majority of the previous PL games relatively unscathed, the English goalkeeper had an extremely difficult day. Forgetting about the previous mistake that went unpunished, he was jittery when coming for balls in behind. It has been a strength that has been attributed to the Carrington graduate, being seen as a reason why United have been able to play higher in recent weeks. Unfortunately, it is about decision making and picking when is the right time to come for the ball. On another occasion in the first half, Henderson came for a ball that he did not need to come for, as Lindelof would have dealt with it comfortably. But come he did and he cleared upfield, and it almost turned into a chance but he was still too anxious in doing it. It was another problem in the second half, this time Henderson coming to clear a ball that Lindelof would have headed away into a good area but Henderson charged into his back and was lucky that the Swede was still able to direct the header into that area. At 24 years old and this being his first stint at a club of United’s standing, you can see the excitement in wanting prove himself and this can overspill into overzealousness. Today, you saw the negative side of it but as he grows older, these parts of his game should smooth. Will United give him the time as the number one to do this? Only time will tell.
The last 9 games last season were more significant that this year as there was a clear break due to the Coronavirus pandemic. But, it was break for Greenwood where he was able to work on the physical side of his game, by keeping in the gym and bulking out. As it turns out, he was able to turn 5 goal PL season into a a 10 goal haul. This season, he came into the same point of the season with just 1 goal, a very disappointing return but can be expected of a young player in their second season. After today, he has 5 goals. With 6 games left, it might be a stretch to expect that same 10 goal haul but if last season is anything to go by, it is possible. A goal against Brighton, Spurs and two today has finally given some numbers to back up the performances the young Englishman has been putting in for the past few months. The first was reward for sticking out wide in the right wing position, something he has often been criticised for, as Bruno let the ball go for him to put it into the back of the net. The second, a fortunate deflection past the stand in Burnley keeper, was due reward for how powerfully and accurately he can strike the ball that the Burnley players came to meet him when they saw he had it. The third, although not his, showed great maturity in not going alone for his hat trick by passing to Bruno, who would be just as unselfish by passing to the substitute Van De Beek, squaring for the Uruguayan, Cavani, to put away. When the season edges to its end and the pressure mounts up, it is unexpected of a young player to set up but for the second season in a row, Greenwood is beginning to put together some great goalscoring form and how this is needed.
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