Manchester United will go head to head with Championship side Burnley in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford this evening. It will be United’s first competitive match since the season was placed on hiatus for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar which was won by Argentina, beating France 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw after extra time. United will be without a number of star players for this match with Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane definite absences.
United beat Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage in their last competitive match back in November with Alejandro Garnacho scoring the winner in added time which before that seemed destined to see United suffer a draw. However, the goal from the Spanish-born Argentinian saw United grab all three points and keep their assault on the top four of the Premier League this season. United and Burnley faced each other regularly before the Lancashire clubs relegation to the Championship.
This season, Burnley have been doing well in their bid to regain top-flight status with promotion to the Premier League, winning their last four matches in all competitions following the 5-2 defeat to Sheffield United. Burnley sit at the top of the Championship, three points clear of Sheffield United who beat Wigan Athletic 2-1 on Monday evening as they seek to regain Premier League status this season, still sitting in second-place in the Championship.
Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Casemiro, Malacia;
Fernandes, McTominay, Eriksen;
Rashford, Martial, Garnacho
De Gea; Shaw, Williams, Bennett; Fred, Pellistri, van de Beek; Antony, Elanga
Roberts, Harwood-Bellis, Beyer, Maatsen;
Benson, Brownhill, Gudmundssen;
Muric, Taylor, McNally, Egan-Riley, Twine, Rodriguez, Bastien, Churlinov, Lewis
United put some good form together prior to the FIFA World Cup, despite the defeat to Aston Villa in the Premier League, they looked like a team that was able to take on their opposition and beat them. Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has left, even though it leaves the club with one fewer attacking player, they will be able to play with a high intensity and keep the pressure on their opposition. Whether that works all the time remains to be seen though.
Erik ten Hag will demand the best he can get from this team and his start to his tenure at United has been largely positive. The Christmas period may not be normal this year because of the World Cup in Qatar and the season will drag on slightly longer than usual, but it has been positive for United as they will not be missing a large number of players because of the competition. In a week or so, the majority of the squad will be back together and ready to continue the season.
United will need to get to the top of their game against Burnley as they will be fired up to get a victory at Old Trafford this season, continuing their participation in the Carabao Cup and the bragging rights of beating United despite being in the Championship. It has been suggested that a number of big names could be missing from this match but the next 48 hours or so will tell us more as to what kind of strength Ten Hag has in his United squad ahead of this match. United should be winning this match though.
Written by John Walker