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Manchester United 2-2 Burnley: Talking points as hosts draw again
Last Updated: 26/12/17 6:35pm
Jesse Lingard stepped off the bench to snatch a Boxing Day point for Manchester United at home to Burnley.
The visitors looked on course for a surprise victory at Old Trafford after going into the break 2-0 up but were unable to resist United's second-half fightback.
Here, we take a look at the talking points from the contest…
Lingard to the rescue
Lingard has forged a reputation as a player who scores important goals for Manchester United and the in-form England winger turned the match at Old Trafford after coming on as a substitute at half-time.
With United 2-0 down to this season's surprise package Burnley, they were in need of inspiration. Lingard provided that with a flamboyant flick from Ashley Young's low cross to pull one back for the hosts on 53 minutes and he was in the right place at the right time to rocket a half-volley into the bottom corner to equalise in injury time.
In his 45 minutes on the field, he hit the target more times than any other United player (3). While there was a missed sitter before his first, with five goals and two assists in his last seven Premier League games, don't expect Lingard to be left on the bench for Saturday's clash with Southampton.
More points dropped by United
But despite the euphoric celebrations from the home support when Lingard hit the net in stoppage time to spark a late surge for a winner, Jose Mourinho and his players will leave Old Trafford on Boxing Day frustrated at dropping another two points against a side they were expected to beat.
It was another 2-2 draw and another last-minute equaliser but after dominating against both Leicester on Saturday, before Harry Maguire's late intervention at the King Power Stadium, and Burnley on Tuesday, United will feel they should be four points closer to Manchester City. Pep Guardiola's men could now extend their advantage to a huge 15 points if they win at Newcastle on Wednesday.
After criticising his team's defensive organisation at Leicester, when injured Chris Smalling was unable to stop Maguire, Mourinho will have despaired when he saw his team concede from another set piece just three minutes into this contest. This time it was Romelu Lukaku culpable, miscuing a headed clearance to allow Ashley Barnes to score from close range.
The Belgian then got an attacking header all wrong when he attempted to level things up on the hour mark. Had Lukaku directed Marcus Rashford's cross at goal rather than right back at him, United would have been strong favourites to go on and win. Instead, they are left ruing another draw which could see their city rivals disappear even further into the distance.
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Afterwards, Mourinho pointed to injuries. To missed chances and fortuitous opposition goals. To huge spending from Manchester City on full-backs. It will be intriguing to see if he attempts to redress the balance in the January transfer window.
Brave Burnley bounce back
While there were many 'what if' moments for United, Burnley will feel they deserved to at least take something away from Old Trafford after a brave and battling display.
Sean Dyche's men could have been three up at the break, with Scott Arfield clipping the bar in between Barnes' opener and Steven Defour's superb free-kick, but the second half was an exercise in resilience. In the final 45 minutes, Burnley had 24.6 per cent possession, didn't take a single shot and completed just 62 passes as United piled on the pressure.
While they were unable to hold out, the bigger picture sees Burnley move on to 33 points. That's just four points shy of the Champions League places and, significantly, just seven fewer than they managed in the entirety of last season.
After a humbling home defeat to Tottenham last time out, Burnley responded well on Boxing Day, taking their sixth point off the Big Six away from home this season.
Dyche had post-match complaints about the build-up to United's equaliser and Marcos Rojo's treatment of Sam Vokes in the box but conceded the Clarets had to be satisfied with another impressive performance and "a good point on the table."