Premier League - Van Gaal struggles continue as Man Utd draw blank

Premier League, Turf Moor - Burnley 0 Manchester United 0

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Premier League - Van Gaal struggles continue as Man Utd draw blank
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Assistant Ryan Giggs of Manchester United talks to Manager Louis van Gaal of Manchester United at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Burnley and Manchester United

Even with record signing Angel Di Maria in the side, Manchester United failed to chip away at a resilient Burnley – who will feel disappointed that they didn’t manage to take all three points in a 0-0 draw at Turf Moor.

The hosts had started much the brighter. A David Jones free-kick in the third minute was the closest they came, slamming into David De Gea’s bar; but that set the tone for many of the opening exchanges. Lukas Jutkiewicz found himself in on goal after Jonny Evans played a horribly short back pass, but his shot was saved by the goalkeeper’s feet.

[CLOCKWATCH: HOW DID DI MARIA DO ON HIS DEBUT?]

Di Maria looked effortlessly classy, despite the raucous mockery aimed at him by the Burnley crowd, but his new colleagues failed to capitalise on his incisive runs or elegant passes. His debut came to an end 20 minutes from time, replaced by Anderson, after suffering from cramp and the scornful chants of Burnley fans.

[DI MARIA SHOWS HE IS THE MAN TO DRIVE MAN UTD FORWARD]

The problems for Manchester United may well have intensified as Juan Mata was forced off with what looked like a hamstring injury five minutes before time. And Van Gaal's record after four games is now unmistakably a poor one, with United failing to beat Swansea, Sunderland, MK Dons and Burnley so far under the Dutchman - losing two of those eminently winnable games.

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Manchester United's Argentinian midfielder Angel di Maria

KEY MOMENTS

3’ - SMACK! Right into the bar from David Jones! David De Gea is caught absolutely statuesque.

4’ - CLOSE! What's Evans doing? Terrible attempted back pass, leaving De Gea exposed, but Jutkiewicz's shot is saved by the keeper's feet.

15’ - CHANCE! Van Persie on the break with no offside flag (he's level, just) - his shot is charged away by Heaton.

19’ - SIGH! Oh dear, smart ball in from Di Maria and his colleagues (well, Juan Mata) can merely fall over and fumble in the box.

26’ - CHANCE! That Manchester United defence is particularly shaky. Arfield's header from Jutkiewicz's cross from the left is wide.

34’ - CLOSE! Arfield skins the entire Manchester United defence along the right, and his shot is deflected away for a corner.

44’ - PENALTY? Young bounces off Trippier in the box - one suspects that had he stood up to him a little bit more, onlookers might be inclined to believe it was a foul.

53’ - CHANCE! Chance for Di Maria! Cute little turn and pass from Rooney in the middle of the box, out to Di Maria running in from the left.

87’ - PENALTY? Nonsensically long ball from Anderson, and Welbeck does really well to keep that in. Young has a shot and it's straight into Barnes, who is turning his back and it catches his arm. No way that's deliberate handball.

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2014-15 Premier League, Burnley-Manchester United, Dean Marney, Angel Di Maria (AFP)

KEY STATS

Louis van Gaal’s return of two points from his opening three league matches is the worst such total since Ron Atkinson managed just one from his opening three in charge of the Red Devils in 1981/82.

United fail to win their first three league matches of the season for the first time since 2007, when they ended the season winning the Premier League and the Champions League.

Burnley’s last Premier League clean sheet came in their 2-0 home win v Hull on October 31st 2009.

Burnley have registered their fourth clean sheet in Premier League history – two of those have come against Manchester United.

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Angel di Maria, Juan Mata and Robin van Persie of Manchester United head out at the start of the match during the …

TALKING POINT

How did the new boy fare? Of course, all eyes were on Di Maria throughout. How did he do? He looked excellent throughout – but the rest of the team did not.

MATCHCAST: AS IT HAPPENED

MAN OF THE MATCH

David Jones (Burnley): Solid, dependable and impressive as he rattled the bar with a fine free-kick - the closest either side came to scoring.

PLAYER RATINGS

Burnley: Heaton 8, Trippier 8, Duff 8, Shackell 8, Mee 8, Arfield 8, David Jones 9, Marney 8, Taylor 8, Ings 8, Jutkiewicz 8. Subs: Reid 7, Barnes 7.

Manchester United: De Gea 7, Jones 6, Evans 6, Blackett 6, Valencia 7, Young 6, Fletcher 6, Di Maria 8, Mata 5, Rooney 6, Van Persie 6. Subs: Januzaj 7, Welbeck 7, Anderson 4.

THE MATCH IN A TWEET

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