Manchester United 2-2 Burnley: 5 lessons for Solskjaer from the draw
Manchester United were looking to make it 9 wins in 9 games since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's appointment when they hosted Burnley on Tuesday night. United were on a fantastic run in the Premier League and had won 6 games in a row in the league in the build up to the game. This had enabled them to close the gap to 4th position to just 3 points. Solskjaer had to make a few changes to the team in order to accommodate the busy schedule.
He brought in De Gea in place of Romero, while Phil Jones replaced Bailly in the back four. In the middle, Andreas Pereira replaced Ander Herrera, who started from the bench. Rashford and Mata were included in the team in place of Sanchez and Lingard. Martial was totally left out due to injury.
United started the game quite strong and threatened to score in the early stages. However, Burnley were resolute in defense and managed to keep the home team at bay. Ashley Barnes shocked the Old Trafford crowd when Burnley capitalized on an error from Andreas Pereira to take the lead in the 51st minute and then Chris Wood put Burnley 2-0 up in the 81st minute.
When it looked like Solskjaer was destined for his first defeat, Pogba scored from the spot to make it 1-2. In the second minute of injury time, Lindelof reacted the quickest to put the ball in the back of the net, and thereby score his first goal for Manchester United to earn them a hard-fought point.
It was the end of the perfect start to Solskjaer's life as United boss, but even with two dropped points, Solskjaer should be happy with his team's performance in the second half. The game was a learning experience for United and here are 5 lessons for Solskjaer from the night.
#5 Solskjaer's system needs a fast and fluid front three
The former Norway striker opted for a front three of Lukaku, Rashford and Mata, but the three of them looked a bit rigid in the first half. Rashford started on the left and looked threatening, however, it was a bit one dimensional from United at times, as the normal interchanging movement from the front three was unusually missing.
It was only when the Solskjaer brought on Lingard and Sanchez for Pereira and Lukaku in the second half that United found their speed back. The front three rediscovered their flexibility again and rallied late into the night to snatch a point from the hands of defeat. Lingard won the penalty and it was also his movement that led to United's second goal.
As such, Solskjaer needs to continue with that flexibility up front to have the maximum effect in his 4-3-3 system.