A fine finish in the 54th minute from Martial saw the visitors cut Manchester City‘s lead at the top of the Premier League table to nine points ahead of their clash against Newcastle at the Etihad stadium later in the day.
Here’s what we learned from United’s narrow win against Burnley.
MARTIAL FORM DOES NOT BODE WELL FOR RASHFORD
Anthony Martial is in scintillating form at the moment, scoring in three consecutive league games now and providing an assist over that time as well. However, it’s not just about the stats, the Frenchman has turned a corner of late and shown real maturity, becoming United’s chief threat in attack.
His goal on the day was well taken as well but he could’ve had more. While he was rotated with Marcus Rashford for much of the season, he appears to have now overtaken the Englishman in Jose Mourinho’s eyes.
It’s going to be a daunting task for Rashford to earn his place in the first eleven now given the impending arrival of Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal.
Jesse Lingard’s position could also be under threat with Sanchez capable of playing in behind the striker. Either way, Martial has done well to establish himself in the first team and perhaps even be rendered indispensable.
SERIOUS COMPETITION AT LEFT-BACK
After been left out in the cold for the first half of the season, Luke Shaw has been a regular for United over the last month with Ashley Young out injured. Mourinho even went as far as to claim that there aren’t many better left-back’s around than the young Englishman.
Despite that proclamation, Shaw was dropped to the bench for the Burnley game as soon as Young returned to fold with the Portuguese explaining his preference for ‘experience’ in such a fixture.
He wasn’t wrong. Young came in and did an exceptional job, hardly putting a foot wrong, especially towards the end when the visitors were under the cosh.
The 32-year-old hasn’t lost his effectiveness in attack either, going closest to scoring for United in the first half with a fine effort that went agonisingly wide.
Having said that, Shaw’s recent performances won’t be forgotten in a hurry and we can expect a real battle for that full-back spot, especially with the youngster gunning for a place in England’s World Cup squad this summer.
Mourinho: “I’m really happy with Luke. As I said yesterday I don’t need to go to the transfer market to get a left-back because I’m really happy with Luke and the adaptation of Ashley Young.” #MUFC
— Manchester United (@MUFCScoop) January 20, 2018
UNITED STILL LACKING KILLER INSTINCT
Mourinho has moaned about United lacking the ability to kill off games for 18 months now and it’s something they continue to struggle with.
They had numerous opportunities to wrap up the three points in the final 15 minutes but were sloppy with the final ball and made poor decisions.
On one occasion, Paul Pogba did ever so well to stride forward with the ball, beat a defender on the edge of the box but then with Martial on his own to his left, he chose to shoot and saw his effort blocked by the Burnley defender closing him down.
United were left clinging on to their slender one-goal advantage in the closing stages and had to endure some nervy moments. Perhaps the arrival of Sanchez will help in terms of them being more ruthless in front of goal?
Oumar Niasse rescued Everton with an equalising goal 57 seconds after coming off the bench as the Toffees grinded out a 1-1 draw against West Brom at Goodison Park.
Jay Rodriguez’s seventh minute strike had put the Baggies in front but Niasse’s goal in the 70th minute from a Theo Walcott assist ensured Sam Allardyce’s men avoided losing four Premier League matches on the bounce.
In what was a frustrating afternoon for the Merseysiders against Alan Pardew’s lowly outfit, we rate the performances of both teams:
Jordan Pickford: Could do nothing with the goal. His clearances were strong and he is the one dependable in a backline prone to errors. Made a couple of key stops in the second-half. 6
Jonjoe Kenny: Tested Ben Foster with a tame left-foot shot in the 38th minute to ironic cheers as Everton registered their first shot on target this year. Struggled with the powerful running of Chris Brunt as fit-again Seamus Coleman watched on from the stands. 5
Mason Holgate: Caught the wrong side of Jay Rodriguez for the goal which cost him chance of stopping the West Brom forward in his tracks. Tentative all afternoon in one of his poorest displays for Toffees. 5
Ashley Williams: Returned to captain side but hopelessly caught out of position for opening goal. Looked like he could get exposed by West Brom every time the visitors burst forward. 5
Cuco Martina: Caught on his heels for the goal and didn’t look assured in the left-back role – heightening Everton’s need to bring in a natural full-back in this position. 5
Morgan Schneiderlin: Gave the ball way and was booked for challenge on Gareth Barry that led to McCarthy-Rondon incident. Missing the dynamism of old in the bucket load. 4
James McCarthy: Horrible to watch the midfielder stretched off with a suspected broken leg after he did well to track Rondon’s run into the penalty area. Sad, sad moment after an all-action display from Republic of Ireland star. 6
Theo Walcott: Worked his socks off, with plenty of closing down and putting himself about. Showed great composure to head ball back across goal for Oumar Niasse to rifle home. Dipping volley late on could have made it a dream debut. 7
Gylfi Sigurdsson: Nice touches and always willing to receive the ball under pressure. The one man who looked like he could make something happen in what was a poor all-round attacking performance. 6
Nikola Vlasic: Bright early on and showed plenty of enthusiasm on the left flank but faded quickly. Replaced by Yannick Bolasie at the break. 5
Cenk Tosun: Put himself about on his home debut and showed he can deal with physical element of Premier League. The fact the home crowd wanted him to stay on when he was subbed showed they approved of his work-rate. 6
Yannick Bolasie: Entered the fray for Vlasic on the left-hand side at half-time but didn’t manage to muster much of an impact, being overshadowed by the other two subs. 5
Wayne Rooney: Came on for injured McCarthy and delivered the ball exquisitely to Walcott to then lay onto Niasse for equaliser. His presence seemed to lift everyone. 7
Oumar Niasse: Scored vital goal just moments after coming on for Tosun with typical instinctive finish. The crowd didn’t want him on, but yet again Senegalese striker showed his strong character. 7
Ben Foster: Not his busiest afternoon against a misfiring Everton attack but did everything that was asked of him and could have done nothing for the goal. 6
Craig Dawson: Solid enough at full-back to restrict both Vlasic and Bolasie from delivering any telling moments on the game. 6
Jonny Evans: Strong display at the back and speculation linking him to Manchester City doesn’t seem to be having any effect on his performances. Subbed in second-half. 7
Ahmed Hegazi: Was tested when Niasse came on but dealt with Tosun relatively comfortably as the Baggies were forced to hang on in the end. 6
Kieran Gibbs: Relished coming up against his former Arsenal team-mate Walcott and there was no love lost between the two. However, the Toffees attacker did escape him for the goal. 6
Grzegorz Krychowiak: Delightful through pass for the opening goal which cut open the Toffees backline with ease. Faded in the second. 6
Gareth Barry: The veteran seemingly enjoyed his return to Merseyside and did well to shackle Everton’s front attacking three. Schooled Schneiderlin to suggest maybe the Toffees sold the wrong defensive midfielder. 6
Chris Brunt: Close in 21st minute with bending shot and a constant outlet for the Baggies, causing a shaky Everton defence plenty of problems. Subbed for fresh legs in second period. 6
Matt Phillips: Didn’t make life easy for Martina as the home crowd began to get on defender’s back. Effort in 78th minute stung the palms of Pickford. Great work ethic. 6
Jay Rodriguez: Finished off nicely for his second goal in three matches and looks to have rediscovered that bit of confidence we became used to seeing from the forward a few seasons ago. 7
Salomon Rondon: Powerful forward in tears after inadvertently kicking McCarthy in horrible injury incident. Did his best to keep emotions in check after that and always threatened Everton, hitting bar in stoppage time. 6
Jake Livermore: Brought fresh legs into the game after Brunt had done his bit. 5
James McClean: Part of double switch by the Baggies to get more energy onto the pitch as Everton searched for a winner. 5
Gareth McAuley: Came on for Evans for the final 15 minutes and was a like-for-like sub to keep things tight. 5
Eden Hazard scored his 100th career league goal when he struck in the third minute for Chelsea in their Premier League clash with Brighton on Saturday.
The 27-year-old Belgian star – who had lost his goal touch of late after a blistering start to the season – scored after Brighton’s Dale Stephens failed to properly clear Victor Moses’s cross.
The goal was Hazard’s 64th for Chelsea since he joined them in 2012 having found the net 36 times for French Ligue 1 outfit Lille.
For good measure he added a second in the second-half — his eighth league goal this term — as Chelsea eased to a 4-0 win over the struggling Seagulls.
“It’s my job (scoring goals), that’s why I like to play football,” said Hazard.
A young fan, who was holding a piece of paper with “Hazard 10 can I have your shirt”, had his wish come true as the Belgian went over after the final whistle and handed it to him.