Manchester U 3 Burnley 0
Manchester United 3 Burnley 0, Old Trafford, English Premier League, January 16, 2010. Following an action-packed and tough-fought 1-1 draw against Birmingham City at St Andrew´s a week earlier, Manchester United comfortably beat Premiership newcomers Burnley by a 3-0 score at Old Trafford through second-half goals from Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney, and late substitute Mame Biram Diouf.
While Manchester United had to cope without the physical presence of their key players Darren Fletcher, Owen Hargreaves, and Rio Ferdinand for the encounter with local rivals Burnley at Old Trafford on Saturday the 16th of January 2010, Netherlands international custodian Edwin van der Sar returned to the first team after being sidelined for two months. Van der Sar had been out since suffering a serious injury to his knee in a 3-0 Premier League triumph against Everton at Old Trafford on the 21st of November 2009, and his comeback had been further delayed after the seasoned shot stopper had been granted compassionate leave to return to his native Holland to be with his wife after she suffered a brain haemorrhage just before Christmas, and Sir Alex Ferguson, who always looked after his players in critical situations, had put no pressure on his long serving goalkeeper during this time. Polish deputy stopper Tomas Kuszczak, who had replaced Van der Sar during his absence, had been excellent in goal in the 1-1 draw against Birmingham City at St Andrew´s on the 9th of January 2010, but Sir Alex had made the Dutchman his first choice as soon as he was back.
In the reverse Premier League game on the 19th of August 2009, Burnley had edged out Manchester United by 1-0 at Turf Moor thanks to a magnificent volley from attacking midfielder Robbie Blake in the 19th minute of the tie. In the previous meeting at Old Trafford, however, United had outclassed Burnley by 4-0 in a League Cup Second Round First Leg fixture on the 26th of September 1984, And as destiny would have it, the Premiership clash between Manchester United and Burnley provided a feeling of deja vu with the hosts hammering home a 3-0 victory. Now, according to Rudolph Steiner, history has this nasty habit of repeating itself, and one would probably come to the very same conclusion if one indulges oneself into football facts and statistics. Burnley had not managed to defeat Manchester United at Old Trafford since the 22nd of September 1962 when The Clarets beat Matt Busby´s men 5-2, but the Turf Moor side nevertheless had a real go at the home defence during the early stages and ex-Hibernian striker Steven Fletcher should have put the visitors into an early lead in the seventh minute, but his effort from six yards out went across the goal and wide. The match changed after the resumption, though, as three goals from Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney, and Mame Biram Diouf respectively put the defending Premier League Champions back on the winning track. During the second half of the tussle, Manchester United at long last went into top gear and Berbatov finally found the back of the net in the 64th minute with a left foot shot, and just five minutes later in the game Rooney registered the second goal of the afternoon when the Old Trafford favourite calmly tucked the ball past Burnley goalkeeper Brian Jensen and into the onion bag. Then, in the last minute of action, Diouf made the final score 3-0 as the exciting new signing beat Jensen to register his first goal for Manchester United. And although United struggled at the beginning of the match against Burnley, they eventually managed to claim a much needed Premier League win which kept Ferguson´s lads hard on the heels of fellow Premiership title challengers Chelsea.
As for Edwin van der Sar, the evergreen veteran enjoyed a fine match and pulled off several spectacular saves. Born and bred in Voorhout, Van der Sar kept goal for Foreholte and VV Noordwijk before the sought after goaltender was brought to Dutch Eredivisie giants Ajax by Louis van Gaal in 1990, but after keeping goal for The Amsterdammers in well over 200 Eredivisie matches, he signed with Italian Serie A side Juventus for a fee of £5 million in 1999. Two years later, Van der Sar moved on to Fulham where he stayed for four years until he was lured to Manchester United by Sir Alex Ferguson at the start of the 2005-06 campaign. Internationally, he was given his debut for Holland by Guus Hiddink in a 1-0 European Qualifier win over Belarus at Stadyen Dynama on the 7th of June 1995 and was part of the squad which qualified for the final stages of the World Cup in 1998 and 2006, as well as the European Championship finals in 2000, 2004, and 2008. Manchester United Team: Edwin van der Sar, Wes Brown, Jonny Evans, Gary Neville, Patrice Evra, Antonio Valencia, Paul Scholes, Luis Nani, Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Carrick, Wayne Rooney. Substitutes: Tomasz Kuszczak, Mame Biram Diouf, Rafael da Silva, Fabio da Silva, Oliveira Anderson, Ji-Sung Park, Michael Owen. Burnley Team: Brian Jensen, Graham Alexander, Michael Duff, Tyrone Mears, David Edgar, Stephen Jordan, Kevin McDonald, Wade Elliott, Steven Fletcher, Chris Eagles, David Nugent. Substitutes: Diego Penny, Richard Eckersley, Christian Kalvenes, Joey Gudjonsson, Fernando Guerrero, Robbie Blake, Steven Thompson.
Manchester United Quickfacts
Manchester United defeated Burnley by a 5-1 score at Old Trafford on the 28th of December 1963 thanks to a brace each by David Herd and Graham Moore plus one goal from George Best.