Preview: Burnley will not be happy coming to Old Trafford after City mauling, which could happen again…


Manchester United -v- Burnley

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Tuesday 29 January 2019; KO 20:00 GMT

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Manchester United welcome Burnley to the Theatre of Dreams on Tuesday evening in the final match of January. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has been resurgent in the eight matches he has led the club, winning each one; six in the Premier League and two in the Emirates FA Cup. Sean Dyche’s Burnley may not be looking forward to their visit to Old Trafford after their mauling at the hands of Manchester City in the FA Cup this weekend.

These are matches that United should be winning, both on paper and on the pitch but recently, United had found it hard to beat Burnley on occasions. Under Jose Mourinho, United had drawn two of the last five matches against the Lancashire club – one of those a 0-0 draw which saw United having chance after chance and failing to score. United and Burnley have played a total of 127 matches with United winning 61, drawing 22 and losing 44 times – the last defeat was back in 2009.

United will be looking for their ninth win in a row in all competitions in this game, putting the pressure on Arsenal, who they have matches in total points accumulated so far this season, sitting behind them with two goals fewer in goal difference. Arsenal faces Cardiff City at the Emirates Stadium on the same night, kicking off just 15 minutes before United. If Cardiff plays it clever, they could get a good result against Arsenal, which could see United move above the North London side, who they beat in the FA Cup.

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Pre-Match Opinion: Confidence is at an all-time high and after that victory away to Arsenal, Burnley will be worrying about being beaten again

Solskjaer has United’s confidence at an all-time high at this moment in time. Eight wins from eight matches, 22 goals scored, six goals conceded, three clean sheets, 18 points won in the Premier League and two wins in the FA Cup, putting United into the fifth round of the competition this season. This is the final match of January and United will be seeking to end the month on a high. There are some great goals which could be up for goal of the month and Solskjaer could even be nominated for manager of the month yet.

It is amazing to think that this side, who were devoid of confidence at the start of September and playing a poor standard of football, are playing the way they are right now, scoring so many goals and turning a poor season into one that could end with United getting somewhere, which may not have happened under Mourinho. At the start of December, Mourinho suggested that his side would be in the top four by 2019, which then turned into the top six.

The Norwegian has shown that he could well be a contender for the next permanent manager at the club, meaning that there will be little change as the coaching staff could remain, which is something that should have happened when David Moyes took the role at the club. The players seem to love playing for Solskjaer, the fans love Solskjaer and if the hierarchy of the club does not love Solskjaer, then there is something wrong somewhere.

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Form: United are in much better form than Arsenal, winning their last six matches with Arsenal winning just three

Manchester United: WWWWWW

Arsenal 3-1 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 W, Reading 2-0 W, Newcastle United 2-0 W, Bournemouth 4-1 W

In the last six matches, United have won them all – two of which being in the Emirates FA Cup. Under Solskjaer, United have been in great form and they seem to be worlds away from the team they were under Jose Mourinho. United has scored 14 goals in these matches, conceding just three goals, keeping three clean sheets. This will be the final match on January and the Red Devils will then enter a tough February, which includes matches against Leicester City, Fulham, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool and Crystal Palace.

Burnley: LDWWWW

Manchester City 5-0 L, Watford 0-0 D, Fulham 2-1 W, Barnsley 1-0 W, Huddersfield Town 2-1 W, West Ham United 2-0 W

Burnley have won only four of their last six matches, scoring seven goals and conceding seven goals. They have kept three clean sheets, the same number as United in the same number of fixtures. The defeat to Manchester City in the Emirates FA Cup will be humiliating for Sean Dyche’s side and they will not be looking forward to visiting the Theatre of Dreams on Tuesday evening as the in-form side could well cause the same amount of problems for the side who are currently 16th in the Premier League table.

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Team News: Solskjaer has a selection headache after players starred against Arsenal, a headache any manager would like…

Solskjaer held his press conference ahead of the Burnley match on Monday morning. It was confirmed that Marouane Fellaini and Marcos Rojo were still out on the sidelines but Chris Smalling has been training for a week and will so return to full fitness. Against Arsenal, Sergio Romero, Eric Bailly, Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku all impressed in the 3-1 victory in the Emirates FA Cup but Solskjaer could still make changes for the Burnley match. Solskjaer, speaking about injuries and rotation, said:

“Chris [Smalling] has trained for a week now, so he’s looking good. It’s about when do we get him into the team. So far, it’s been no problem [rotation]. We’ve got so many games. As soon as it becomes one game a week, it might be a problem.

“We rotate even during games. When we can put Anthony [Martial] and ‘Rashy’ [Marcus Rashford] on for Alexis [Sanchez] and Romelu [Lukaku], who did a fantastic job [at Arsenal], it is only going to help us. The players have been very, very good at staying ready and being ready when they get on.”

Burnley manager Sean Dyche has some injury problems to contend with ahead of the visit to the Theatre of Dreams. Robbie Brady, a former United Academy player, returned against Manchester City following suspension, went off injured with a groin strain in the 5-0 defeat. Matt Lowton (toe) and Aaron Lennon (cartilage knee injury) will both miss the match whilst another former United player, Phil Bardsley (muscular injury), could make the game. As could Johann Berg Gudmundsson (thigh muscle strain).

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Predicted Starting XI: Marcus Rashford to lead the line against Burnley or has Romelu Lukaku done enough to start again?

Romelu Lukaku assisted two goals against Arsenal on Friday evening which helped United to a 3-1 victory over the North London club. Marcus Rashford has recently scored five goals and one assist for United, which has seen him emerge as the main striker, at least at this moment in time, for the club. Lukaku may have played himself into the mind of Solskjaer to start against Burnley, but given the fact he was rested, at least a little bit, Rashford may lead the line again.

I do not think there will be many other changes in the squad. David De Gea will probably replace Sergio Romero and Eric Bailly should keep his place in the team, given the time for form a competent partnership with the resurgent Victor Lindelof, who has really risen in stature this season, both under Mourinho and Solskjaer. United can, at last, be confident about their form and go into their last fixture of January full of confidence and ready to gain another three points.

Match Prediction: Burnley seem to be out of form which could well lead them out of the Premier League this season

United are in fine form at this important stage of the season and it is important that they keep that form and keep this unbeaten run going. Solskjaer has managed to turn this side into a team capable of getting the best out of themselves, which is a long way from where Mourinho left the team. Eight wins in eight matches show the level of confidence in this team right now. It will be daunting for Burnley, who conceded five goals against City this weekend, which could see them conceded more on Tuesday.

Manchester United 3-0 Burnley

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