Joey Barton 3/10 as Burnley fall to defeat vs. Manchester United
First-half goals from Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney saw an under-strength Manchester United through to an extremely comfortable 2-0 victory at Turf Moor on Sunday. Burnley have now won just one of their last 11 matches and a comeback was never likely. The Clarets weren't even able to muster a single shot on target.
With Bournemouth, Hull City and Swansea City having collected important home victories earlier in the weekend, Sean Dyche's side are left five points above the relegation zone and while they should stay up, there are nervous weeks to come.
The Clarets started the game very well and were arguably the better side for the first 20 minutes, committing plenty of players forward and causing United problems at the back. After falling behind there was only one way the match was going to go, with Burnley failing to threaten David de Gea's goal. For all United controlled the game, Tom Heaton did not have an awful lot to do.
Although the Clarets tried to be positive in attack, they did not ever look like scoring a goal and with Sam Vokes missing out through injury, there were few signs of the partnership between forwards Ashley Barnes and Andre Gray working. It felt like one of those days where Dyche's men could have played all day without scoring a goal; this was as poor as they have played at home all season.
Joey Barton continues to look out-of-sorts and the ongoing confusion over his FA gambling charge -- Friday's latest hearing yielded no firm conclusion -- may be affecting his game.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Dyche was left with few options up front due to Vokes' absence, but Barnes and Gray is not a pairing that has looked like working all season.
While Dyche tried to be positive by bringing on Johann Gudmundsson and Dan Agyei to breathe fresh life into his attack in the second half. However, the changes made little difference and a switch in system and the introduction of out-of-favour midfielder Steven Defour may have been more useful for his side.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Tom Heaton, 6 -- Made a couple of fine saves but on reflection he could have done better with Martial's shot, which he parried for Rooney's goal.
DF Matt Lowton, 6 -- Struggled when one-on-one with Martial but performed better against the leaden Rooney in the second half.
DF Michael Keane, 6 -- Slow to react to the loose ball for the second United goal, which deflected in off him. Didn't generally perform like a defender linked with England's elite sides... including United.
DF Ben Mee, 7 -- Best defender for his side on the day, Mee looped a header on to the roof of the net, which was as close as Burnley came to scoring. Went off at half-time with a shin injury.
DF Stephen Ward, 6 -- His lack of pace was exposed by United's speedy attack on a regular basis, especially after the late arrival of substitute Marcus Rashford.
MF George Boyd, 4 -- Offered absolutely nothing and it was no surprise he was the first tactical change made by Dyche.
MF Joey Barton, 3 -- Should have brought down Martial in the build-up to United's opener, misplaced countless passes, could have given away a penalty and looked well off the pace overall.
MF Jeff Hendrick, 6 -- A couple of useful forward bursts showed the Irishman's willingness to get on the front foot, but such moments were too rare.
MF Robbie Brady, 6 -- Delivered some delicious balls into the box with either foot but a terribly casual header contributed to United's decisive second goal. Regardless, this was arguably his best performance for the club so far and there were plenty of positive signs.
FW Andre Gray, 6 -- Went close with a deflected effort shortly before the interval but was starved of service and easily handled by the magnificent Eric Bailly.
FW Ashley Barnes, 4 -- Won nothing in the air or on the ground against United's dominant defence.
DF James Tarkowski, 6 -- Introduced at half-time for the injured Mee, Tarkowski was unruffled as United settled for their two-goal advantage in the second period.
MF Johann Gudmundsson, 6 -- Made a welcome return from his latest injury but the winger struggled to get into the game during his half-hour on the pitch.
FW Dan Agyei, NR -- Tried incredibly hard but the raw teenage striker looks a long way away from being ready for first-team action.