Manchester United vs. Burnley result: Ronaldo, McTominay lead Red Devils to win over Burnley

A torrid opening 45 minutes led the way as Manchester United shut out the noise and emphatically stomped relegation-threatened Burnley 3-1 at Old Trafford. Ralf Rangnick made six changes from the disappointing 1-1 draw against Newcastle, and the squad responded.

Scott McTominay was the star of the show, advancing forward in a box-to-box role and providing a constant threat for United. The 25-year-old scored the opener and produced another two blistering efforts that were both only stymied by world-class Wayne Hennessey saves.

Jadon Sancho originally had a deserved second for United, although eventually it was deemed an own-goal off the foot of Ben Mee. Cristiano Ronaldo appeared for United’s third, again McTominay providing the hard work while Ronaldo cleaned up the scraps.

MORE: Why is Man United called the Red Devils?

Burnley was overwhelmed in the first half, only able to grab a consolation thanks to Aaron Lennon’s ability to capitalize on a mistake at the back. Otherwise, the Red Devils were deserved winners from start to finish. The second half finished goal-less, but United still dominated the chances.

It was a needed performance from Ralf Rangnick’s side which was feeling the heat after three straight Premier League flops, with two narrow 1-0 wins over bottom-half clubs plus the Newcastle draw. United has plenty more to prove, but turning the page to 2022 on a high note will go a long way to boost confidence.

Sporting News will be following the match live and providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happen.

Man United vs. Burnley final score

  1H 2H Final
Man United   3   0   3
Burnley   1   0   1

Goals:  
8′ – Manchester United: Scott McTominay
27′ – Manchester United: Own goal (Ben Mee)
35′ – Manchester United: Cristiano Ronaldo
38′ – Burnley: Aaron Lennon

(All times Eastern)

Full-Time: Manchester United 3-1 Burnley

Man United moves into the top six after sealing all three points. It never felt terribly uncomfortable after United went up early and bossed the first half. Scott McTominay was the star, and Cristiano Ronaldo will always make headlines with his goal. It’s not job done for Ralf Rangnick, not by a long shot, but it’s a very palatable first step.

For Burnley, the Clarets were discombobulated for long spells and struggled mightily in front of net. The chances were there, but aside from Lennon’s cool and collected finish, Burnley was useless attempting to put away chances. It’s easy to see why this team went three matches without scoring. To avoid relegation, Sean Dyche will need answers, and fast. I’m not sure those answers are currently within the squad.

87th minute:  Burnley substitute Matej Vydra should have done better, but he can’t reach a great ball delivered from deep down the right flank. Then moments later Erik Pieters completely whiffs on a shooting chance from a good position. United hasn’t exactly been comfortable down the stretch holding the two-goal lead, but Burnley has been invisible in front of net.

79th minute:  Cristiano Ronaldo’s trademark free-kick delivery has been lost over the last few seasons, and he again blasts into the wall from a dangerous position.

70th minute:  An absolutely beautiful buildup by Man United through Sancho down the left wing saw Ronaldo feed Cavani, but a fourth United goal was halted first by Hennessey’s face – which made a fine, if painful, save off Cavani’s effort – and the offside flag which eventually came up.

Mason Greenwood is now down after an aerial duel with James Tarkowski.

66th minute:  Eric Bailly takes a seat in favor of Raphael Varane, as the Ivorian will protect his fitness ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations. He heads down the tunnel, suggesting that fitness is possibly in question. Bailly’s career has been a frustrating one with injuries abound, hopefully this isn’t something that affects his standing for the upcoming tournament.

63rd minute:  A Man United counter run by Sancho eventually produces yet another BLISTERING shot by McTominay from distance, and again Hennessey goes full stretch to deny him. What a performance by McTominay who has his shooting boots on.

58th minute:  The first substitution of the game is made by Dyche, as Dale Stephens makes his first appearance of the season, replacing Jack Cork.

Burnley has begun to muck up the midfield, and it has dragged the game down a bit.

50th minute:  First chance of the second half falls Manchester United’s way, as Cavani does well to poke a ball to Greenwood in space, and the youngster fires on frame from a tight angle to the right, forcing Hennessey to produce another good save.

46th minute:  Back under way for the second half. No substitutions for either side, although you have to wonder at what point does Sean Dyche go for fresher legs in an attempt to get back into things, in addition to shoring up some of the defensive issues that presented themselves in the first 45 minutes.

HALFTIME: Manchester United 3-1 Burnley

It was a storming first-half from Manchester United, only pegged back by the consolation from Aaron Lennon. Still, United will feel comfortable at the moment, having held 57% possession and creating 11 chances through the first 45 minutes. Scott McTominay was outstanding in midfield, allowed to maraud forward with Nemanja Matic holding down the #6 spot behind him and Edinson Cavani with the freedom in front to draw defenders. It’s tactical perfection from Rangnick, who may have found something yet.

39th minute:  Ronaldo just came VERY close to a fourth for United and his second of the night. A gift on the defensive end by Burnley put Ronaldo through, but Hennessey does well to come off his line and smother the chance.

38th minute:  GOAL! Burnley! A loose touch by Eric Bailly gifts an opening for Aaron Lennon, who does well to beat Harry Maguire one-on-one and found the back of the net. It’s the first goal in four games for Burnley, and it’s a glimmer of hope for the visitors at Old Trafford. What a first half.

35th minute:  GOAL! Manchester United! Cristiano Ronaldo will take credit for the goal, but Scott McTominay did all the hard work. The United midfielder lets rip an absolute MISSILE from just outside the top of the box, and it produces a world-class save from Wayne Hennessey. Unfortunately for the Burnley goalkeeper, Ronaldo was there all alone to tap the rebound into an open net. This is a blitz from United, and Rangnick will be happy with the response after making six changes from the draw at St. James Park.

30th minute:  It’s all Manchester United. Cristiano Ronaldo comes close, but the ball gets stuck at this feet and his effort is blocked. Ronaldo is FURIOUS, but this time only with himself, not a teammate.

27th minute:  GOAL! Manchester United! Jadon Sancho, what an odd goal. His first Premier League goal at Old Trafford sees the England international cut in from an impossibly tight angle, and somehow despite the presence of no less than four Burnley defenders, he delivered a slow-roller pass Hennessey and into the far corner.

Ben Mee seems to have possibly helped the ball find the back of the net with a very slight touch off his foot, and there’s a chance this could get changed to an own-goal, as the ball might have gone wide without the slight deflection. Either way, Manchester United is in a commanding position 2-0 up, and for now it’s Sancho’s to claim.

UPDATE:  This goal was later confirmed to be an own-goal, unfortunately for Jadon Sancho. He will have to wait for his first official Premier League goal at Old Trafford.

23rd minute:  Slight chance for Burnley as Nemanja Matic commits a silly foul down near the corner flag. Burnley’s set-piece delivery finds the head of Tarkowski but the challenge from De Gea puts him off and Maguire clears.

20th minute:  Luke Shaw charges through the attacking half and nobody closes him down, so the left-back lets loose and beats Wayne Hennessey but beats the near post as well.

17th minute:  Things have seriously settled down since the goal. It appears that Edinson Cavani is occasionally dropping into a midfield like a #10 in a 4-2-3-1, and other times he roams up next to Ronaldo and leaves a space in the middle. Burnley has been quiet since the opener, looking to sit back and deal with Manchester United in the buildup.

8th minute:  GOAL! Manchester United! That’s a hysterical goal, because Scott McTominay’s just completely taken the ball off the feet of Cristiano Ronaldo, and he’s scored with it. A ball from Mason Greenwood up to the top of the box went to Ronaldo, but a heavy touch pushing it centrally onto his left created a bit of space between him and the ball. McTominay saw the opening and pounced, firing low into the bottom-right corner. An early opener for the home side in the rain against a defensively stout Burnley side is critical for Ralf Rangnick.

5th minute:  Oh my. Cristiano Ronaldo. It should be 1-1! Ronaldo is clean through, and if you want anyone in that situation, it’s probably the Portuguese superstar. His right foot sends it high and wide, not even troubling Wayne Hennessey. Wow. How on Earth did he miss that???

Somehow, it’s still 0-0. One massive chance for either side missed.

4th minute:  It should be 1-0 Burnley, a warning sign for Manchester United. A wonderful delivery by Matt Lowton – on his 50th appearance for Burnley – found Chris Wood all alone in the penalty area, but his leaping header goes over the bar. The Burnley striker should have done much better, there was nobody remotely close. It looked almost like United played a failed offside trap.

1st minute:  We’re under way! It’s pouring rain, as it has been for a few hours. Both teams could badly go for a result here, and that seems to favor Burnley who will just be happy to get a game in as scheduled.

It appears Aaron Lennon, usually a wide player, is playing centrally for Burnley, slotting in behind Chris Wood. Interesting setup we haven’t seen before from Sean Dyche, at least not recently. United, meanwhile, look in a very attacking mood.

3:13 p.m. ET:  Just minutes to kickoff, and the Old Trafford fans are wishing legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson a happy birthday, as he turns 80 tomorrow, New Year’s Eve. Best wishes to an influential figure!

2:58 p.m. ET:  Home side is out for final warmups at Old Trafford with 15 minutes until kickoff.

2:31 p.m. ET:  Manchester United will hope to have history on its side tonight against Burnley.

2:15 p.m. ET:  Lineups are in. There are a host of surprises for Man United as Ralf Rangnick looks to switch things up. He changes both full-backs, bringing in Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw, while sitting Raphael Varane for Eric Bailly in the middle. Fred drops to the bench for Nemanja Matic, while Mason Greenwood shifts out wide opposite Jadon Sancho, with Edinson Cavani starting alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. That’s about as wholesale of changes as you’ll see at Manchester United from one league game to another. Rangnick’s not happy.

For Burnley, Wayne Hennessey comes in at goalkeeper for Nick Pope, while it’s Aaron Lennon into the lineup, not Maxwel Cornet who was expected to return but has not. A number of Burnley players are missing due to COVID-19, including Pope, hence the replacement in goal.

1:56 p.m. ET:  Weather will be a factor today. It’s currently pouring in Manchester.

1:20 p.m. ET: This is the sort of schtick that Manchester United has been forced to endure since the Newcastle match with all the talk of negative body language and speculation that the players are not taking well to Ralf Rangnick’s late training sessions. We’ll see if it triggers a reaction.

Man United vs. Burnley lineups

Paul Pogba remains out for Manchester United with a thigh problem, but overall the Red Devils are still quite healthy.

Victor Lindelof tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the Newcastle match and remains out, while Bruno Fernandes takes a seat for yellow-card accumulation. A game off might do the Portuguese attacker well. Even with Fernandes out, Donny van de Beek only makes the bench, still not a fit in Rangnick’s 4-4-2 system featuring two holding midfielders and no No. 10.

Rangnick has rung a whopping six changes to the starting lineup that sputtered against Newcastle. Nemanja Matic comes off the bench to replace Fred in midfield, while Edinson Cavani is rewarded for his goal against Newcastle with a start alongside Cristiano Ronaldo . Rangnick changed both full-backs, as Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka come in for Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles , and Eric Bailly  makes an appearance at center-back, replacing Raphael Varane .

Man United starting lineup (4-4-2):  De Gea (GK) — Shaw, Maguire, Bailly, Wan-Bissaka — Sancho, McTominay, Matic, Greenwood — Ronaldo, Cavani.

Man United subs (9):  Henderson (GK), Telles, Dalot, Varane, Fred, Lingard, van de Beek, Elanga, Rashford.

Burnley’s injury list was thought to be eased by the long COVID-19 layoff, but  Maxwel Cornet still does not make the squad despite the belief that he would return. Ashley Barnes and Connor Roberts are both still out with long-term issues, the only known absences for the Clarets in this game. Dale Stephens is likely to have shaken off his bout with COVID-19 in time to be available, and he makes the bench.

MORE: Key facts to know about the transfer window opening

The biggest question for Burnley boss Sean Dyche was what to do with Jay Rodriguez , and he misses out altogether. The former Southampton man has been a bench option for most of the season, earning only two starts, including the last time out against West Ham. But he’s still without a goal this season. It’s clear regular minutes would continue to help him, but even with Cornet still out, he doesn’t even make the matchday squad. Instead, Aaron Lennon sees the start with Chris Wood the lone striker up top.

Burnley starting lineup (4-5-1 diamond):  Hennessey (GK) — Taylor, Mee, Tarkowski, Lowton — McNeil, Westwood, Cork, Gudmundsson, Lennon — Wood.

Burnley subs (9):  Norris, Collins, Bardsley, Pieters, Stephens, Thomas, Vydra.

How to watch Man United vs. Burnley

  • Date: Thursday, Dec. 30
  • Time: 3:15 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: NBCSN
  • Spanish-language TV: Universo
  • Streaming:  fuboTV , NBCSports.com (authenticated subscribers)

The Manchester United vs. Burnley matchup will be broadcast on NBCSN (English) and Universo (Spanish) and both channels can be streamed on fuboTV with new users getting a free 7-day trial .

The match will also stream on NBCSports.com for authenticated subscribers to cable, satellite or telco packages.

Man United-Burnley betting pick & prediction

Odds courtesy of DraftKings

Both teams have been inconsistent so far this season and it’s tough to say what version of both teams we’ll be getting, especially given the layoffs they have endured of late. For that reason, this would typically be a stay-away game.

What’s certain is that Burnley will be entering Old Trafford thinking defense first, and then hoping to nick a goal on the other end. That tactic hasn’t worked too well for Burnley coach Sean Dyche in 12 career matches against Man United. The Red Devils have scored 18 times in those games, including 10 times in six games at Old Trafford. So while they’ve avoided embarrassing, lopsided results, the Burnley defense has still been regularly breached by United.

For those compelled to make a pick on this game, the under might be the best strategy as both sides continue to work their way to better form.

Pick:  Under 2.5 goals (+125)

Prediction:  Manchester United 1-0 Burnley

  • Moneyline: Man United -275 / Draw +425 / Burnley +750
  • Spread: Man United -1.5 (+110) / Burnley +1.5 (-125)
  • O/U 2.5 total goals:  Over -155 / Under +125
  • Both teams to score: Yes -105 / No -120

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