Manchester United historically wasteful in scoreless Burnley draw

By on October 29, 2016

For all the criticism that can be leveled against Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United, and more woe is heaped upon the Red Devils by the week, you can’t say that his term has been predictable like those of his predecessors. United have had their boring performances, sure, but they’ve been sandwiched between four or five goal thrillers. Even scoreless draws have become wild roller-coaster rides of emotions for United, with Burnley holding Mourinho’s men to a draw in the most unlikely of circumstances on Saturday night.

United had seventy-one percent of possession, thirty-six shots, and nineteen corners, but somehow couldn’t find their way past Tom Heaton in goal. Burnley’s stopper was in fine form, coming up with numerous fantastic saves to keep the visitors in the game.

United have not had as many shots in a single match since Opta began collective stats in 2004, according to the BBC, much less without scoring. They only needed twenty-five shots in their 5-1 victory over FC Midtjylland last year, and sixteen their 7-1 win over Roma in 2007, their biggest European victory in over forty years.

Yet Burnley’s desperate defending coupled with United’s historical wastefulness left Mourinho exasperated on the night, the home side having won just two of their last six games.

They bombarded Burnley’s goal from the get-go, with Ibra’s first chance falling from Juan Mata’s through ball on sixteen minutes. The Swedish international was clear through on goal, but Heaton was quick off his line to block Ibra’s low effort from the middle of the box.

Heaton then denied Lingard’s far-post header with a fantastic, sprawling save and came up big again on the other side of the half to deny Mata from Ibra’s cut back. “I’d give Tom Heaton a ten-year contract extension after this game,” mused the television commentators. One year for each gave-saving stop he made, then.

Even when Ibra seemed sure to score on the hour mark, waiting at the far post to convert Herrera’s clipped cross from the left with an acrobatic scissor kick from within the six yard box, Heaton spread himself wide to stop the ball.

Heaton had the aid of the post a few moments later, with Mata’s low volley on the turn ricocheting off the base of the post.

The proceedings turned sour for United moments later, with Ander Herrera being sent off for a clumsy challenge in the middle of the park. The midfielder slipped on the pitch as he dove in for the ball, earning him the second of two very soft bookings. Jose Mourinho was then given his marching orders as well, being sent to the stands for his touchline conduct.

The game had everything at that point, except, of course, a goal.

Zlatan had one final golden opportunity to put United ahead from Paul Pogba’s far-post at the very death, only to scuff the ball high and wide from point blank range.

Homepage photo credit: Aleksandr Osipov [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

About Alex Morgan

Alex Morgan, founder of Football Every Day, lives and breaths football from the West Coast of the United States in California. Aside from founding Football Every Day in January of 2013, Alex has also launched his own journalism career and hopes to help others do the same with FBED. He covers the San Jose Earthquakes as a beat reporter for and his work has also been featured in the BBC's Match of the Day Magazine.