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Burnley 0-1 Manchester United: Three talking points from Turf Moor

Rob Meech

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Photo: Reuters

Anthony Martial scored the only goal of the game as Manchester United recorded their third consecutive victory by seeing off Burnley at Turf Moor. In a game devoid of end-to-end entertainment, the Frenchman struck in the 54th minute when his right-footed shot found the net via the underside of the crossbar.

Burnley tried in vain to force a leveller but could not find a way past David de Gea, as their winless run extended to seven Premier League matches. United, meanwhile, have maintained their grip on second spot but remain 12 points drift of runaway leaders Manchester City. Here are three talking points…

United pass another away-day test

Despite rumours of unrest at Old Trafford, United are now unbeaten in eight Premier League matches. While their hopes of reeling in Manchester City may be remote, Jose Mourinho’s men are red-hot favourites to finish as runners-up. That would be a huge improvement on last season – their first under Mourinho – where United finished sixth. It was only their success in the Europa League that guaranteed them a place in the Champions League.

The Red Devils are definitely progressing and the expected arrival of Alexis Sanchez would give them another dimension. In particular, their away form will please Mourinho. This was United’s fifth victory in their past six Premier League games on their travels, a run that is helping to keep the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool at bay.

Burnley is a notoriously tricky place to visit, but United withstood the physical threat of the hosts and just about had enough to claim all three points.

Burnley are feeling the effects

When looking at the table, Burnley’s position appears to be very comfortable. In eighth place and with 34 points to their name, the Clarets are all but guaranteed to be playing Premier League football again next season. That would have been manager Sean Dyche’s priority and he can feel satisfied with the job he has done.

Nonetheless, this is a difficult period for Burnley, who have not tasted victory since they beat Stoke City on December 12. Scoring goals has been their biggest problem, having drawn a blank in four of their seven-game winless  run. The Clarets are not renowned as being free-scoring – they have found the net only 19 times this season – and rely on a solid defensive foundation.

Perhaps the exertions of their promising start have taken their toll on a settled side. The challenge for Dyche, who had been linked with the Everton job during the height of Burnley’s success, is to ensure his players do not fall into the trap of thinking they have nothing to play for.

Martial is making rapid progress

The Frenchman began the campaign out of favour at United, but he has regained his place in the side thanks to a series of consistent performances. His output has been productive, too. His goal against Burnley was his third in a row, taking him to 11 for the season. Allied to his seven assists, Martial is beginning to fulfil his immense potential.

He cut a frustrated figure at being kept out of the starting XI by Marcus Rashford – there was even speculation he might be on his way out of Old Trafford. But Martial said all the right things publicly and is no longer in the ‘supersub’ category. Competition for places will only intensify if and when Sanchez’s switch from Arsenal is completed.

But the former Monaco starlet should not fear the Chilean’s arrival, but relish it. He has proved he can be a trustworthy player for United. Like Luke Shaw, he is another to have benefited from some stern words from Mourinho, who will soon have an embarrassment of attacking riches to call upon.

Rob is a freelance writer, specialising in football, who previously worked as a sports journalist at the Dorset Echo. A long-standing AFC Bournemouth supporter, Rob can often be found on the terraces at the Vitality Stadium. Follow him on Twitter - @RobMeech

Burnley

Tom Heaton would be the perfect replacement for Joe Hart at West Ham

The 32-year-old is being valued at just £10 million.

Josh Kerr

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Tom Heaton
Photo: Getty Images

Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton has emerged as a potential replacement for Joe Hart at West Ham, according to reports from The Sun.

The report claims that Hart will not return to West Ham following his loan move from Manchester City. His mixed time at the club hasn’t given Hammers supporters a reason to demand a permanent deal for the England international.

The 31-year-old is unwanted by Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium, and his poor form in East London has meant few clubs are showing an interest.

Instead, the East London side have turned their attention to Burnley and Tom Heaton as their new number one, with the 32-year-old keeper valued at £10 million.

The Chester born keeper began the season as Sean Dyche’s first choice but lost his place to Nick Pope after he suffered a dislocated shoulder last August.

The outstanding Pope and immediately staked a claim to be England’s number one in the summer World Cup. Due to his displays, he looks to have kept Heaton out of the team for the foreseeable future.

(Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Considering Heaton has been an England squad regular in recent years, it is difficult to see him happy to be the number two at Turf Moor and an exit for the former Bristol City keeper could be imminent.

With over 178 appearances in the Premier League, Heaton would be the perfect signing for a goalkeeper position that has caused a lot of headache for fans at the London Stadium.

Both Hart and Adrian have been in and out of the first team and neither has pushed their cause as to why they should be the standout choice for the number one spot.

At Burnley, Heaton’s move to the substitute bench is one of the more unfortunate stories of the season as no-one came close to the 6ft 2 keeper before his injury.

If it wasn’t for Pope having one of the greatest debut seasons of the Premier League era then it would have been a given to see Heaton come back in as number one.

His manager, Sean Dyche, will most likely want to keep him at the club, especially considering the club’s Europa League commitments next season.

However, the Burnley boss would also understand that a keeper of his quality is too good to be wasting the final years of his career on the sidelines.

If Heaton were to move to the London Stadium then West Ham will have yet another England international in their ranks.

However, this time they would be getting an assured, established Premier League keeper, who has been fundamental in Burnley’s success for many-a-year.

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Bristol City

Joe Bryan would be the perfect signing for Sean Dyche’s Burnley

The 24-year-old has had a fine individual season at Ashton Gate.

Jake Jackman

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Photo: Getty Images

Burnley have been the feel-good story of the Premier League over the last two years, as the club are set to complete a journey from the Championship to the Europa League.

The finances in football mean that it is difficult for a club to progress naturally, but the Clarets have shown that it is still possible and Sean Dyche has been the driving force behind their upwards trajectory.

One major reason for their success has been their recruitment.

The club have not tried to over-spend or sign players based on their reputation.

Their approach allows them to sign players tailored for their needs and it is no surprise that the majority of their signings over the last two years have fitted in seamlessly.

It would be a mistake if they changed their approach this summer, even with the added pressure of the Europa League.

In recent days, they have been linked with one Championship player that seems to be the perfect fit for the squad at Turf Moor.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

The Telegraph report that Joe Bryan has emerged as a target for the Premier League club.

They go on to state that Dyche is ready to offer £6 million for the Bristol City left-back as he tries to improve both the quality and depth of the squad ahead of next season.

The rumour mill is starting to accelerate and the majority of media stories need to be taken with a pinch of salt, but this does make a lot of sense.

If Burnley continue with the recruitment policy, Bryan would be a great fit for them and immediately improve their starting eleven at left-back.

Bristol City’s season slowed down during the second half of the campaign, but they have impressed those that have watched them regularly and Bryan has been one of their standout performers.

The left-back has contributed four goals and three assists in the league, in addition to two strikes in the League Cup including one against Manchester United.

He would add a much-needed attacking threat from left full-back and that would provide an extra dimension to the Burnley team.

Although his decision making and defensive contribution needs work, he is a very good young full-back with the potential to thrive in the Premier League.

Bryan is an aggressive defender, as shown by his average of three successful tackles and 3.2 clearances per game.

(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

At times, he can be guilty of committing to too many forward runs, but that is something that could be addressed.

Dyche is very good at coaching a defence and the 24-year-old would benefit from working with the Burnley manager.

Dyche will be the first to admit that it will be difficult to replicate Burnley’s success, especially with the scheduling problems caused by the Europa League.

However, it would be foolish to make any huge changes to how they are currently conducting business.

Joe Bryan may not be an international with lots of experience in Europe, but he would be a great signing for this squad and fit in immediately.

The Clarets should do everything in their power to secure his services.

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Burnley

Rangers signing of Scott Arfield from Burnley could be a major coup

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Photo: Getty Images.

Another Old Firm derby looks likely to provide even more disappointment for Rangers fans, but there is light at the end of the tunnel as reports indicate that the club are close to sealing a deal to sign Burnley midfielder Scott Arfield on a free transfer.

According to Sky Sports, Rangers are closing in on a pre-contract agreement which will see the Canadian international move to Ibrox Stadium on a free transfer in the summer when his existing deal with Burnley expires.

The move will see Arfield return to the SPL, where he previously made his name with Falkirk having come through the ranks at the club, scoring 16 goals in 124 games.

(Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

The 29-year-old has become a regular for Sean Dyche in his five seasons at Turf Moor, scoring two goals from 19 Premier League appearances, including 15 starts, before injury to his calf in February put a halt to his season as he remains sidelined.

Given that most of Rangers’ squad who do boast experience in England come from men past their best, as was the case when Joey Barton moved north of the border, and lower league talents, like Josh Windass, mixed with some loanees from Championship clubs, to sign a regular in a team competing for Europe in the Premier League can be considered a coup.

The left midfielder is consistent and looked comfortable in the Premier League, chipping in with some memorable goals in the process, and if he can take such quality to Ibrox it will be a significant statement as the club look to cut the gap behind league leaders and arch rivals Celtic.

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