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Football | Manchester United rise to Premier League summit

Manchester United have beaten Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor to go three points clear at the top of the Premier League table.

Paul Pogba's deflected volley in the 71st minute was enough to earn a vital win for Ole Gunnar Solskjær's visitors against the well-organized Clarets.

It has been such a remarkable turnaround for the Red Devils after what looked like was going to another difficult season for the Manchester club, with all the attention on Manchester City and Liverpool as the teams that would be the main contenders for the title.

After a difficult start to the season, which saw an inconsistent United lose to Crystal Palace, Spurs and Arsenal, all eyes will now be on United's top of the table clash with Premier League champions Liverpool this weekend.

Jurgen Klopp's Reds have been struggling with injuries and consistency so far this season ahead of two crucial meetings with Solskjær's men in the space of a week.

United’s second half performance against Burnley was very professional.

VAR was the talking point in the first half at Turf Moor. Harry Maguire saw a goal ruled out, and VAR also over-ruled a foul on Edinson Cavani after the striker was taken down by Republic of Ireland international Robbie Brady when in a goalscoring position.

The foul - as well as the yellow card shown to Brady - was overturned due to a high tackle on Burnley midfielder Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson by Luke Shaw in the buildup.

What initially looked like a potential red card for Brady and a free kick on the edge of the box for United turned into a free for Burnley at the other end and a booking for Shaw.

VAR was again called into action again nine minutes before the break after Maguire's headed goal was rule out for a foul on Erik Pieters by the England defender as he rose highest to meet Luke Shaw's inviting cross.

Anthony Martial then had a perfect opportunity to give United the lead on the stroke of half time. The Frenchman curled a well-struck effort from range towards the top-right corner, which Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope responded to with a sprawling dive to steer the shot behind for a corner.

United took control of the second half but found it difficult to break down a stern Burnley defence .

The deadlock was finally broken by Pogba.

After starting the move, the midfielder drove forward towards the edge of the box to meet Marcus Rashford’s cross from the right. Pogba caught the cross with a first-time volley, which flew through Pope's legs after a deflection of Matt Lowton.

Burnley pushed hard for a late equaliser, with substitute Matěj Vydra squandering two great opportunities for Sean Dyche's hosts. James Tarkowski had the chance to rescue a point for the Clarets at the death, but scuffed his effort in the box, much to relief of David de Gea and the Red Devils' defence.

In the end, the visitors held out for a vital win, which gives them a three-point advantage over defending champions Liverpool.

This is the first time United have ended the day top of the Premier League table, having played as many as 17 games, since the final day of their title-winning campaign in 2012-13 under Sir Alex Ferguson.

United have also kept their first away clean sheet of the season, having conceded 11 goals in their previous seven matches on the road in this campaign.

Up next for United is trip to Anfield, which has been a fortress for the Reds, who last suffered a league defeat on home soil over three years ago (a 2-1 loss against Crystal Palace on April 23rd, 2017, when Christian Benteke grabbed both goals against his former club). On the other hand, United’s last away defeat in the top flight was a 2-0 loss against this weekend’s hosts.

Sunday will mark exactly five years to the day when United last beat Liverpool away in the league. 


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