Dave Thornley, the Clarets Mad resident match summariser reflects on yesterday's game.
When Eddie Nketiah tapped in his last-gasp equaliser to deny Fulham a win over Arsenal, the collective sigh of relief resonated all over Burnley.
As the Clarets prepared to kick off their match against Manchester United at Old Trafford they knew that whatever the outcome, they would be no worse than six points above the relegation places.
It is never pleasant looking over the shoulder and wishing ill on the teams below, much better to take matters into one’s own hands and get the job done without recourse to favours from other teams. But when a fixture against a high-class and in-form United is looming large, then the temptation becomes irresistible.
As it transpired, United were indeed a little too good for Burnley on the day, but there was enough about the Clarets’ play to suggest that their appetite has not diminished and that there will be a more positive conclusion as the season winds down.
If Chris Wood had smaller feet, Burnley would have been a goal up inside the first minute, his head rising above Henderson’s flailing gloves to deflect the ball into the goal which the United keeper had deserted.
Wait a minute though, here comes VAR to detect a toenail straying into an offside position.
Burnley were compact and resolute throughout and at times carried the battle to a United defence which wobbled a few times, but by half time had remained intact.
United took the lead early in the second half; a cross from the left, a step over from Bruno Fernandes and neat finish from Mason Greenwood; a goal which would, in other circumstances, have been admirable for the simplicity of its execution.
Burnley however struck back quickly, James Tarkowski rising above an earthbound Harry McGuire to head in an Ashley Westwood corner.
It was no more than Burnley deserved and they continued to thwart United’s efforts to restore their lead. They hung on until the 84th minute until the gradual cranking up of United pressure saw Greenwood score his second via a sickening deflection off Jack Cork’s heel which altered the trajectory of the ball and sent it beyond Bailey Peacock-Farrell’s dive.
Burnley once again tried to respond, but when Matej Vydra’s surging run ran into a cul-de-sac, United were able to break for Edison Cavani to seal the win from close range.
The 3-1 score-line flattered United and Burnley can certainly take heart with the knowledge that if that level of performance is maintained over their remaining fixtures then the Clarets will certainly secure the points they need to remain in the Premier League.
Just what form the Premier League will take next season has suddenly become a source of uncertainty and conjecture. For as yesterday’s game was being played out, news broke that United were one of six Premier League teams involved in trying to set up a European Super League in which its twelve founder members would constitute a closed shop, an exclusive enclave of what they would consider to be the elite of Europe’s clubs.
An awful lot has already been written and said about the proposed break-away and I have no wish to add to the general chorus of disapproval, except to say that without the jeopardy of defeat, there can be no glory in victory. What is being proposed will create a sterile and soulless enterprise with no relevance attached to the outcome.
It goes without saying that football fans and administrators throughout the continent must resist this exercise in arrogance and naked greed.
Ken Hanson posts across social media from articles written by Dave, which are edited and posted from Clarets Mad, by The Editors Chair (TEC).