Manchester United travel to face Burnley in the Premier League at Turf Moor on Saturday evening in the late night kick off. Following their 4-3 defeat to Bayern Munich in the first group stage match of the UEFA Champions League, Erik ten Hag’s side will be seeking to show their mettle.
United have lost four of the six matches they have played this season, losing the last three with two 3-1 defeats and one 4-3 defeat. United have conceded 14 goals so far this season and Andre Onana apologised for his errors against Bayern and that took balls to do that.
Ten Hag will be seeking for United to turn a corner after a poor start to the season but injuries and off the field problems has left his squad threadbare in some positions but that is starting to get better for the Dutchman. Burnley have their problems too; having one point from four matches.
Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1
Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Reguilon;
Pellistri, Fernandes, Rashford;
Andre Onana made a devastating mistake in the 28th minute against Bayern on Wednesday evening which saw the German side score the opening goal of the game, then five minutes later he conceded another goal – conceding four in total in the match.
The Cameroonian goalkeeper took the blame for the mistake, which was admirable and he really looked like he was annoyed with himself. Hopefully he can kick on against Burnley and aim to keep his second clean sheet of the season – the first came against Wolves.
Onana is a goalkeeper that fits the style of play that Ten Hag wants at United but in terms of keeping the goals out, there is some improvement that he needs to make to do that. David de Gea would have saved a few of the goals he has conceded. This match needs to be better.
Defenders: Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Reguilon
United’s defence continues to have injury struggles with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw out of action for the foreseeable future. This means that Diogo Dalot and Sergio Reguilon will continue in the fullback positions for United against Burnley.
Reguilon was probably the best United player on the pitch against Bayern as it looked like he was determined to play to the best of his ability to create chances and defend for United. And the fact he’s on loan from Spurs is not looking good for the United players.
In the centre of the defence, United could have Raphael Varane back in action as he seems the most likely of the injured players that have trained this week to return. Lisandro Martinez will partner him and hopefully he can start to get back to form as he has not started well this season.
Midfield: Casemiro, Eriksen
United’s midfield should start to have more options in the next few matches. Sofyan Amrabat and Mason Mount have been injured and with both training at stages this week, it won’t be long before they are available. However, Mount may not return for this match.
Amrabat could well be on the bench, but Ten Hag will decide before the 8pm kick off on Saturday if he could start. United will likely start with Casemiro and Christian Eriksen in the centre of the midfield which changes coming in the second half to strengthen United.
With Amrabat on the bench, United could also utilise Scott McTominay, although his performance against Bayern was not the best and he did not flatter himself with his inability to push himself to win a lost ball. Hannibal and Daniel Gore could also be on the bench.
Attacking Midfield: Pellistri, Fernandes, Rashford
United’s attacking midfield area is a little thin with the absence of both Jadon Sancho and Antony. United will likely start with Facundo Pellistri on the right, who did himself proud against Bayern, although he could not get a goal or an assist. It was good for him though.
Bruno Fernandes will start in his favoured central role, although he will roam in the attacking area and drop back when needed. His form will need to be raised though has he was not all that great against Bayern and I expect much better from him at United.
Marcus Rashford will start in his favoured left position, which could see him strive more in attack and feeb Rasmus Hojlund. United have other options with Anthony Martial and Alejandro Garnacho but Ten Hag may need to look to the youth teams to find more options at this time.
Rasmus Hojlund scored his first goal for United against Bayern, on his UEFA Champions League debut. It was a great finish ad there will be a lot more expected from the young Dane. He will be seeking to add to his goal tally this season with Burnley seen as strugglers.
However, Turf Moor has been a hard stadium to go to over time and United will need to be at their clinical best so they don’t continue their run of defeats, which has stretched to the last three matches, losing four of the six they have so far played this season.
Hojlund can play the whole match but it is likely that he will be substituted in the latter stages of the match with Anthony Martial the most likely to replace him. United are short on the striker front but Ten Hag could look to the youth team with Joe Hugill a possible addition to the first team.
Substitutes: Bayindir; Maguire, Evans; Amrabat, McTominay, Hannibal, Gore; Martial, Garnacho
United will be abkle to name nine substitutes on the bench in the Premier League against Burnley and it would seem likely that Turkish goalkeeper Altay Bayindir will be the only goalkeeper on the bench – there were three against Bayern on Wednesday.
In the defence, Harry Maguire could be back with Jonny Evans also on the bench. In the midfield, Sofyan Amrabat, Scott McTominay, Hannibal and Daniel Gore could be on the bench. That would be ideal with United requiring more strength in the midfield.
In attack, United could have just Anthony Martial and Alejandro Garnacho with the likes of Jadon Sancho and Anthony out of the squad with personal problems at this time. United may need to be active in January to replace these players, or replace from within.
Written by John Walker