Ole Gunnar Solskjaer dropped his first Premier League points as Manchester United came from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw against Burnley at Old Trafford.
Ashley Barnes opened the scoring for the away side in the second half. Jack Cork robbed Andreas Pereira in midfield and played in Barnes, who made no mistake. The home crowd was shell-shocked and the feeling grew when Burnley doubled their lead. Chris Wood headed the ball in from Ashley Westwood's cross and it looked as though Burnley were on course for a memorable win.
But United fought back in the end. Substitute Jesse Lingard won a penalty and Paul Pogba converted it emphatically. They piled the pressure on for an equalizer and their efforts were rewarded. Tom Heaton couldn't parry away Alexis Sanchez's effort and Victor Lindelof pounced to make it 2-2.
It was an exciting contest at Old Trafford, one which had drama till the very end. Here are the major talking points from the game.
#5 Pereira endured a tough outing in a rare start
Solskjaer was brave with his lineup today and handed Andreas Pereira only his third Premier League start of the season. Ander Herrera was named on the bench and it turned out to be a not so great decision from the United manager.
The Portuguese clearly failed to get into his groove and made no noteworthy contributions in the first half. His major mistake came in the second half when he dawdled on the ball for too long near his own box and Jack Cork stole it. Cork played Ashley Barnes in, who scored clinically. Solskjaer soon took him off, bringing on Jesse Lingard in his place.
It was a tough game for the youngster. He is definitely a talented midfielder and at just 23, he has a lot of time ahead of him.
#2 United peppered Burnley's goal from everywhere but found success only in the 87th minute
Manchester United had 74% ball possession in the game. They took a whopping 28 shots on goal, whereas their opponents managed only 6. In terms of creating chances, they made 20 key passes, which is no mean feat either.
In the second half, United had more than 80% of the ball. It was a totally one-sided affair aside from the scoreline and it is a surprise how both sides emerged from the contest with a point. United's expected goals were 3.22 for the game, but they couldn't convert that to reality due to some inaccurate finishing. Marcus Rashford had some glorious chances which he failed to put away.
Only 9 of their 28 attempts were on target, and an inspired Tom Heaton saved a majority of them. This game brought back memories of the same fixture two seasons ago, where a similar pattern was seen. Only this time, United salvaged a point rather than Burnley.
#3 Solskjaer's winning run ends
Solskjaer has enjoyed a charmed life at Old Trafford, winning his first eight games in charge in all competitions. The run had to end at some juncture, and Burnley pierced the Manchester United bubble. The winning run has ended, but United can take heart from the result.
The first hour or so was poor from the home side and Burnley capitalized. The absence of key players was a major reason for this and Ander Herrera's bite in midfield was sorely missed. But despite going 2-0 down, the Red Devils fought back. They salvaged a point from the game, which would have pleased their boss immensely.
Numerous times after an unbeaten run, the question which arises is whether you can bounce back from the defeat. It seems as though United have already done that, bouncing back mid-game. They couldn't score the winner though.
#2 Clinical Burnley take their chances at Old Trafford
Burnley knew how the game would pan out and how United would dominate the ball. The Clarets had the ball just 26% of the time, so making use of it effectively was going to be crucial. Fortunately for Sean Dyche, they did just that.
His side took just 6 shots in the game but scored with 2 of them. Only 3 shots were inside the box, and only 2 of them were decent chances. Burnley grabbed both of them, which enabled them to claim a point. Their expected goals tally based on the quality of their shots was 0.75, and they bettered that considerably.
In comparison, United's expected goals were 3.22, which is a mammoth difference. Arguably Burnley's performance should have deserved something more, especially players like Tom Heaton were spectacular. Still, a draw against this reinvigorated United side is not that bad after all.
#1 Jesse Lingard missed sorely in attack
Jesse Lingard has been an important player for Solskjaer. He has played in a 'false nine' position, which allowed him to express himself. The likes of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have played on the flank, which has allowed to exploit their pace. Even Romelu Lukaku played off Lingard at Arsenal, and to good effect.
Juan Mata tried to emulate Lingard but failed to have much impact. He lacks the work rate and constant running that Lingard provides, and the difference was visible. United improved after Lingard came off the bench, providing a link between the midfield and attack.
He did win a penalty for Paul Pogba to convert but United dropped points nonetheless. Solskjaer will surely have realized the importance of Lingard to his side, especially in his reinvented role. He won't be benching him much in the coming weeks.