Leicester City and Manchester United both dropped points last night, which could have seen them both increase the gap to the other teams in the fight for UEFA Champions League places.
Leicester City had an extremely tough outing at Turf Moor against Sean Dyche’s resolute Burnley side in the Barclays Premier League.
The Foxes have hit a rough patch and victories seem to be hard to come by for them currently but are still in a strong position to finish in the top 4 and secure a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League.
Burnley, who are in 15th place, now sit 6 points clear of relegation as they opened the scoring through Matej Vydra after some sloppy play from Hamza Choudhury that saw him give the ball to Vydra who skipped passed his defender with some lovely footwork, to then fire away a left-shooted shot into the right top corner.
After Burnley took the lead in the 4th minute, it was all Leicester City as Hamza Choudhury almost redeemed himself after latching onto a lovely cross by Jamie Vardy that forced Nick Pope into making a good save.
Kelechi Iheanacho controlled a lovely long ball from Nigerian teammate Wilfred Ndidi but the striker just missed the target from his long distance strike.
Soon after, it was the Nigerian striker who did deal the telling blow as it was the Nigerians combining again with Ndidi picking out a lovely looped ball for Iheanacho who hit the ball perfectly on the volley to beat Nick Pope in goal to make it 1-1.
Burnley came back and were creating problems for Brendan Rodgers’ side but they just could not find a way through and you feel that the home side deserved the 3 points on the day.
Leicester salvaging a point meant that Manchester United would stay second even if they lost to Crystal Palace, having a better goal difference.
It was a torrid night for Manchester United in South London, however. Crystal Palace set up in very organised fashion and the visitors found it hard to break down the Eagles.
United were sloppy in possession for most of the game with Fred being the biggest culprit. The Brazilian’s poor passing led to the pressure being eased on Palace’s defence on several occasions.
None of the goalkeepers were really tested. Edinson Cavani made a comeback after missing 4 games due to injury but failed to influence the game. United struggled to create much in the game and Marcus Rashford had a pretty rough night himself.
The Red Devils star Bruno Fernandes also failed to have an impact and the side only looked threatening when fullbacks Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka pushed up the pitch and put in some dangerous crosses.
Joe Ward was absolutely fantastic for the home side and negated most of the threat that Rashford could have possessed. United have now failed to score a goal in their last 3 games across all competitions.
The side has gone almost 5 hours in game time without a goal and these are worrying signs for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as his team prepares for the Manchester Derby over the weekend.
Manchester United’s 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park means that they now are on 51 points, 14 off leaders Manchester City.
A United win will still keep them 11 points adrift the league leaders but it will help them create some daylight from the rest of the pack in hopes of securing Champions League football next season.
Manchester United seem to really be missing Paul Pogba and it is clear as daylight that there is still a need for an out and out right winger, although Mason Greenwood has been playing well for the Red Devils in that position.
Daniel James injected some life into United’s game when he was brought on for Edinson Cavani but it was all a bit too late. Dean Henderson, who got his first Premier League start after a long time, pulled off a crucial and big save in the dying moments of the game as Palace tried to steal all 3 points from United again.
Manchester United are the 2nd highest goal-scorers in the league so it is surprising that the goals have dried up for the side. The overreliance on Bruno Fernandes seems to be weighing heavy on the side and Solskjaer needs to figure out a way to get the team back to winning ways as they prepare for a rough month of football.
Man United start with Manchester City next, followed by AC Milan in the Europa League then 4th placed West Ham United, Milan again in the return leg and then Leicester City in the FA Cup Quarterfinals. All of this will be played in just 2 weeks!
The road is hard and challenging for the Red Devils so it remains to be seen how they cope with this packed and difficult schedule. The aim remains for the club to win at least one trophy and qualify for Champions League football.