English Premiership

Smalling stars in United win

2015-02-12 00:13
Chris Smalling (AFP)

Manchester - Defender Chris Smalling scored twice after coming on as an early substitute to help Manchester United to a 3-1 win over Burnley that lifted the team to third place in the Premier League on Wednesday.

Sent on the fifth minute for the injured Phil Jones, Smalling scored within 22 seconds with his first touch when he headed home at a corner.

Relegation-threatened Burnley took the game to United, equalizing through a diving header by in-form striker Danny Ings in the 12th minute before wasting a number of chances to go ahead.

Smalling made the visitors pay for their misses in the third minute of injury time by heading in Angel Di Maria's corner, and Robin van Persie added a late penalty after Di Maria was fouled.

United climbed above Southampton in the standings, but is occupying a Champions League qualification place without hitting top form.

"I didn't like this performance today," United manager Louis van Gaal said. "Of course, we have won and the result is fantastic. But after this match you cannot say that we are going up and I want to progress every match.

The build-up to the match was dominated by a bizarre news conference by Van Gaal, who responded to a jibe from West Ham manager Sam Allardyce that United was a long-ball team by producing a dossier of statistics which supposedly undermined the claim.

There were few long balls against Burnley — Marouane Fellaini, the tall midfielder who is often used as a target man, did not step off the bench to add an aerial threat — but United again wasn't at its free-flowing best.

It needed an intervention by Smalling to get the hosts off the mark, in his first action after coming on. From Wayne Rooney's corner, Radamel Falcao knocked Van Persie's flick-on back across the box and Smalling headed home.

The lead lasted six minutes, as Di Maria gave the ball away, right back Kieran Trippier crossed to the back post and Ings headed in superbly after drifting away from Smalling.

United appeared rattled for stages of the first half and lost its shape when Rooney, the club's third-highest scorer of all-time, was moved to the base of a midfield diamond after Daley Blind came off injured.

Smalling came to the rescue again, nodding in after Rooney and Di Maria exchanged passes to allow the Argentina international to whip in a cross.

Any hopes of a Burnley comeback were extinguished eight minutes from time when Scott Arfield tripped Di Maria when he raced into the box. Smalling did not put himself forward to try to score his first hat trick, leaving penalty duties to Van Persie.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Tuesday, 12 December 2017
Burnley v Stoke City, Turf Moor 21:45
Crystal Palace v Watford, Selhurst Park 22:00
Huddersfield Town v Chelsea, The John Smith's Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Swansea City v Manchester City, Liberty Stadium 21:45
Newcastle United v Everton, St. James' Park 21:45
Southampton v Leicester City, St. Mary's Stadium 21:45
Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion, Anfield 22:00
West Ham United v Arsenal, London Stadium 22:00
Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth, Old Trafford 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Saturday, 16 December 2017
Leicester City v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v West Ham United, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Newcastle United, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Chelsea v Southampton, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Watford v Huddersfield Town, Vicarage Road Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Etihad Stadium 19:30
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.