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Preview: Beating Burnley is necessary to continue progression under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Manchester United -v- Burnley

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Sunday 18 April 2021, KO 16:00 BST

Referee: Jonathan Moss Assistants: Marc Perry, Harry Lennard

Fourth Official: Robert Jones

VAR: Darren England Assistant VAR: Lee Betts

Manchester United welcome Burnley to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday just three days after reaching the UEFA Europa League semi-finals where they will face AS Roma. United’s 3-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday saw United open up a lead in second place in the league, giving them space over Leicester City, who are currently third in the league. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking to see the same from his squad, who have only lost to Leicester City (Emirates FA Cup), Sheffield United (Premier League) and Manchester City (Carabao Cup) in 2021. That is good form but still some moan about this.

If United beat Burnley, which is their 32nd Premier League match of the season and levelling up with the number of matches City have played, it will leave United just eight points from City in second place with six matches left to play in the league before the end of the season. Granted, United’s chance of winning the league has long been gone but they can show good form between now on the end of the season, which could add some pressure on City and who knows what could happen. To see United finish the season strongly would benefit them next season, where they will need to start strongly, which is not what happened this season.

Manchester United: WWWWLW

Granada 2-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 W, Granada CF 2-0 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 W, Leicester City 3-1 L, AC Milan 1-0 W

Burnley: LLWDDL

Newcastle United 2-1 L, Southampton 3-2 L, Everton 2-1 W, Arsenal 1-1 D, Leicester City 1-1 D, Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 L

Top Scorers: United have scored 100 goals so far this season and Burnley have scored just 32 goals, which is terrible.

Manchester United Goals: 24 – Bruno Fernandes, 20 – Marcus Rashford, 9 – Edinson Cavani, 7 – Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, 5 – Own Goal, Daniel James, Paul Pogba, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Amad Diallo, Fred, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Donny van de Beek

United have scored 100 goals in all competitions this season, five of them being own goals. In their last six matches, Solskjaer’s side have won five and lost once. United have scored 11 goals, conceding five and keeping three clean sheets. For that that suggest United have not progressed this season, you need to look at the results, the number of goals and the different levels of achievement. Many will suggest that Solskjaer has lost five semi-finals, like they are stuck in the past. Trophies are not the only marker of progress. It seems that some ‘supporters’ only see a trophy as progression. United’s mentality has changes this season.

Burnley Goals: 7 – Chris Wood, 6 – Matej Vydra, 3 – Ashley Barnes, Jay Rodriguez, 2 – Jóhann Gudmundsson, Dwight McNeil, Ben Mee, 1 – Robbie Brady, Josh Brownhill, Jimmy Dunne, Own Goal, Kevin Long, Matthew Lowton, Ashley Westwood

Burnley have not done too well in all competitions this season. Currently, they sit 16th in the Premier League table and exited the Emirates FA Cup in the fifth round and the Carabao Cup in the fourth round. Their Premier League status is not slipping away at this time, but it could if they don’t start getting better results. In the last six matches, they have won once, drawn twice and lost three times, scoring seven goals, conceding 12 and keeping no clean sheets. They have scored 32 goals this season, one of them being an own goal, which is terrible form for a club that is just seven points away from the relegation zone in the Premier League.

Team News: United boosted with returns for Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay. Eric Bailly could be back in action this weekend too.

Anthony Martial (knee) is the only player that is currently on the sidelines through injury. Phil Jones (knee) probably will not feature but he has stepped up his recovery after undergoing knee surgery, not playing a single minute of football this season. Marcus Rashford (foot) will continue to be assessed after featuring on the bench for United in their 2-0 victory over Granada on Thursday evening. Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay will be back in action after being suspended for Thursday’s match. However, if Maguire ends up getting booked this weekend, he will be suspended for two matches. Eric Bailly could be back too.

Robbie Brady (Achilles), Ashley Barnes (thigh) and Kevin Long (knock) have all been ruled out of the visit to Old Trafford this weekend with Nick Pope (shoulder) and Dwight McNeil (knock) both doubts. Jay Rodriguez has been out due to personal reasons and his fit to face United, should he be included in the squad this weekend. Burnley have done well at Old Trafford in their last five visits with one victory and four draws. United will have to be in good form this weekend to stop them leaving the Theatre of Dreams with any points at all – which is what Solskjaer will be aiming for. United have many rested players to achieve that though.

Predicted Starting XI: Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood to continue up to with Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay and Donny van de Beek in midfield?

Solskjaer has the benefit of being able to bring in four players who did not feature for the club on Thursday evening. Dean Henderson was on the bench in the 2-0 victory over Granada whereas Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay were all suspended for the match. Against Burnley, who have left Old Trafford undefeated in their last five matches, United will need to put in a big shift to take all three points as the club are just seven points away from a relegation place but have scored just 32 goals in all competitions this season. Edinson Cavani is on good form, scoring twice in his last two matches for the club, he will be seeking more.

Match Prediction: United and Burnley have met 13 times with United winning seven, drawing four and losing twice

United and Burnley have played 13 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won seven times, drawing four times with Burnley winning the remaining two matches. United have scored 18 goals with Burnley scoring just eight. The Red Devils were awarded four penalties, scoring two of them with Burnley yet to win a penalty against them. United have kept eight clean sheets with Burnley keeping four. In terms of discipline, United’s players have been booked 24 times and were shown two red cards. Burnley’s players have been shown 34 yellow cards with no red cards at this time.

This season, United beat Burnley at Turf Moor in a 1-0 victory with Paul Pogba, assisted by Marcus Rashford, scoring the only goal of the match. This was a match that was delayed from earlier in the season as it was supposed to be the opening Premier League match for United. At the time this match was played, United were flying high in the league table and topped it after this result. United have been in second place since Manchester City took the top spot. In the fixture at Old Trafford last season, Burnley won 2-0 with Chris Wood, assisted by Ben Mee and Jay Rodriguez, assisted by Wood, scoring the goals.

Manchester United 2-0 Burnley

Written by John Walker

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copyright: JW

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