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Ratings: McTominay earned his stripes in Burnley victory; Shaw back on form, Ronaldo scored 14th goal this season – Sancho looks like he’s finding form

Manchester United beat Burnley 3-1 at Old Trafford in the Premier League, hitting back for their dreadful 1-1 draw with Newcastle United at the start of the week. United end 2021 on a high with three more points in the bag following a season riddled with problems. Ralf Rangnick will be happy with his undefeated start. Scott McTominay opened the scoring in the eighth minute of the match with what seemed like a Jadon Sancho goal coming twenty minute later – which was then confirmed as a Ben Mee own goal. Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 14th goal of the season with Aaron Lennon scoring a consolation three minutes later.

United started the match finely against Burnley, seeking to nail them down and dominate the match. It was a clear indication that the players recognised that Monday’s draw with Newcastle United was not good enough. United took the lead through Scott McTominay, scoring his first goal of the season, assisted by Cristiano Ronaldo in the eighth minute of the match with a find finish on goal. There will be some that still criticise the player but his passion and work rate are second to none at times. There is a reason why Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and now Rangnick have all trusted the Scotland international.

United continued to attack Burnley, who had lost many first team players through coronavirus and injury of late. Just twenty minutes after the opening goal, United had scored a second. Jadon Sancho, assisted by Luke Shaw was the player that seemed to score the goal but it was eventually given as an own goal by Ben Mee. It was still a second goal for United – and after Monday’s result, it will be well received. Rangnick seemed happy on the sidelines with his side going 2-0 up before half an hour had passed. It seemed that United were in the mood to attack and score goal, even if they had ‘technically’ only scored one so far this evening.

In the 35th minute of the match, Ronaldo got himself on the scoresheet for the 14th time this season, which shows just how successful he has been as a player – even at the age of 36. McTominay had a shot saved in the split second before Ronaldo scored tapping his shot with his right foot from the centre of the box. United were 3-0 clear and looked set to win another three points in the Premier League, which were much needed this season, especially at a time where United wanted to break into the top four. The clean sheet was short-lived though as Aaron Lennon scored what seemed a consolation goal three minutes later.

There were no changes for either side at the start of the second half but United would need to ensure they kept this lead as Burnley would be seeking to fight back, seeing the weaknesses of this United team against Newcastle, who were in a worse position than them in the league this season. Burley made their first substitution in the 58th minute with Jack Cork replacing Dale Stephens. United made their first substitution eight minutes later with Raphael Varane replacing Eric Bailly, who seemed to receive a knock in the minutes before coming off – which did not look all that good knowing his history of silly injuries.

Before the substitution, United had a good chance through Sancho with McTominay getting the ball and hitting towards the goal, just heading over the crossbar. Edinson Cavani had a good shot on goal around the 70th minute, seemingly hitting Wayne Hennessy in the face with the Welshman being praised for a great save – which I’m not sure he knew all that much about. Matej Vydra replaced Lennon for Burnley in the 74th minute of the match, Burnley’s second substation of the game. In the 81st minute, United made a second substitution with Diogo Dalot replacing Mason Greenwood.

Burnley made their final substitution in the 84th minute of the match with Erik Pieters replacing Dwight McNeil. It seemed clear that no more goals were coming from either side and that United were just playing to keep the lead and the three points up for grabs in the game. Rangnick made his final substitution in added time with Fred replacing Ronaldo. It was a good win for United, who now have a few days rest before their next match. The busy month of December has been completed, despite two matches being postponed because of coronavirus. January is going to be just as busy, even with a week’s rest between the first matches of 2022.

United will welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to the Theatre of Dreams on Monday evening in a 17:30 kick off – more working in the dark for United. A week later they welcome Aston Villa to Old Trafford in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup with United coming up against Steven Gerrard for the first time seeking to remain in the draw for the fourth round of the domestic competition. Rangnick will be positive following his undefeated start at United but that first defeat will always be waiting like it is for any manager in this game. The January transfer window will be open in little more than 24 hours (at the time of writing this). Hopefully United have some plans.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Had a quiet night in goal against Burnley. Was beaten once and could have dealt with it to a point - maybe even kept a clean sheet. It turned out the goal did not do much to take away United's win.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Did well until that pass back to De Gea, which ended up giving Burnley a corner. He was not an upgrade on Dalot, who has to be the main choice in this position right now.

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3 Eric Bailly

He seemingly had to travel back to Manchester ahead of this match despite being on his way to the African Cup of Nations. Seemed to make a mistake for Lennon's consolation goal and came off in the 66th minute with what looked like an injury - he was replaced by Varane. Lennon dispossessed him for the goal, which I thought was made too easy for the Burnley forward.

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5 Harry Maguire

Had his say in many aerial duels against Burnley, so some confidence is being built with him again. Wood made him uncomfortable and Lennon got the best of United's defence for is goal.

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23 Luke Shaw

Great to see him back in some sort of form - which will get better. He was proactive on the left, seemed determined to attack - having been the best attacking outlet for the club in 2021. Perhaps his form is back for 2022 and he will be resurgent for United?

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11 Mason Greenwood

Played well at times and was unlucky not to get something from this match. It is great to see him getting minutes on the pitch again but his form requires some improvement, which will come in time. He was replaced by Dalot in the 81st minute of the match.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Made little impact in the match but Matic usually does what he does outside of the spotlight. He could have stopped Lennon

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39 Scott McTominay

MOTM for me for this game. Opened the scoring with a fine finish in the eighth minute of the match (his first goal since February) and could have scored more goals. He seemed up for the challenge of Burnley and ended the game on a high with another three points in the bag. Sir Alex Ferguson was watching down on him from the directors box with pride etched on his face.

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25 Jadon Sancho

Was sometimes sloppy with the ball but created something and seemed to score the second goal of the match, which later became a Mee own goal. He will be pleased with his efforts though and it looks like he's starting to find his feet at the club and showing his ability on and off the ball.

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21 Edinson Cavani

Seemed to be playing too deep at times but created some space doing that. Could have capitalised on a great goal against Newcastle on Monday but his Hennessy in the face. He will be wanting to make waves in the next match he plays.

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7 Cristiano Ronaldo

Got an assist and a goal in the first half, seeing him with 14 goals and three assists so far this season - 17 goal contributions. Not bad for a 36 year old who is considered past it. He missed a great chance in the first half, skying his effort. Should have done much better there.

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Substitutes

19 Raphael Varane

Replaced Bailly 66'. Steady in defence after replacing the Ivorian. Great to see him back and getting minutes under his belt, which will settle him after an injury spell.

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20 Diogo Dalot

Replaced Greenwood 81'. Made a late cameo playing in an attacking position on the right flank. Did what he needed to do on the night.

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17 Fred

Replaced Ronaldo 90+3'. Came on at the death with United seemingly trying to run down the clock.

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Goals: Scott McTominay 8′, Ben Mee 27′ o/g, Cristiano Ronaldo 35′; Aaron Lennon 38′

Assists: Cristiano Ronaldo 8′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly (Varane 66′), Maguire, Shaw; Greenwood (Dalot 81′), Matic, McTominay, Sancho; Cavani, Ronaldo (Fred 90+3)

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Telles; Lingard, Van de Beek; Rashford, Elanga

Bookings: N/A

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Cavani and Ronaldo lead the line against Burnley; Lingard and Van de Beek on the bench

Manchester United welcome Burnley to Old Trafford in the Premier League this evening in what will be the final match played in 2021. It will be shown live in the United Kingdom on Amazon Prime, the second of two match weeks the company had bought in the last television rights auction. United drew 1-1 with Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Monday evening, which was considered a poor result based on the form of the Magpies and their position in the league table. Ralf Rangnick will need to get the best out of this team, which looks very hard at this time as any form they had before a 16-day break in matches seems to have gone.

United have lost just one of their last 13 Premier League matches against Burnley, winning eight and drawing four. The last defeat was in January 2020 with Burnley won 2-0. United will be seeking to end 2021 on a high, avoiding defeat in their last match of the year. This could be the tenth year in a row – they have won six and drawn three so far. Burnley have won six of their ten Premier League points against United at Old Trafford, which will lead to some confidence for them. This will be an important match for both teams with United looking to break into the top for and Burnley seeking to avoid a relegation battle this season.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw;

Greenwood, Matic, McTominay, Sancho;

Cavani, Ronaldo

Substitutes:

Henderson; Varane, Dalot, Telles; Lingard, Fred, Van de Beek; Rashford, Elanga

Burnley:

Hennessy;

Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor;

Gudmundsson, Westwood, Cork, McNeil;

Wood, Lennon

Substitutes:

Norris; Collins, Pieters, Bardsley, Thomas; Stephens; Vydra

United and Burnley have played a total of 14 matches in the history of the Premier League. United have won eight matches, drawing four with Burnley winning the remaining two matches. United have scored a total of 21 goals, winning four penalties and scoring two of them. Burnley have scored nine goals, winning no penalties. United have kept a total of eight clean sheets with Burnley keeping a total of four in these matches. United players have been shown a total of 25 yellow cards and two red cards with Burnley players shown a total of 36 yellow cards and no red cards. United should be winning this match.

There is much history between United and Burnley with no fewer than 15 players having played for both clubs. Phil Bardsley, Luke Chadwick, Andy Cole, John Connelly, Chris Eagles, Richard Eckersley, David Jones, Michael Keane, David May, Willie Morgan, John O’Kane, Mike Phelan, Lee Roche, Colin Waldron and John Walton have all played for both clubs. The more well known players on the list are Morgan who played for United from 1968 to 1975, Mike Phelan, current assistant who played for United from 1989 to 1994 and treble winners Andy Cole, who played for United from 1995 to 2001 and David May who played for United from 1994 until 2003.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-3-1-2] Ronaldo, Cavani and Van de Beek to lead the attack? McTominay, Matic and Sancho in midfield? Shaw to be recalled?

Manchester United welcome Burnley to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Thursday evening in what will be the final match played in 2021. It will be shown live in the United Kingdom on Amazon Prime, the second of two match weeks the company had bought in the last television rights auction. United drew 1-1 with Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Monday evening, which was considered a poor result based on the form of the Magpies and their position in the league table. Ralf Rangnick will need to get the best out of this team, which looks very hard at this time as any form they had before a 16-day break in matches seems to have gone.

United have lost just one of their last 13 Premier League matches against Burnley, winning eight and drawing four. The last defeat was in January 2020 with Burnley won 2-0. United will be seeking to end 2021 on a high, avoiding defeat in their last match of the year. This could be the tenth year in a row – they have won six and drawn three so far. Burnley have won six of their ten Premier League points against United at Old Trafford, which will lead to some confidence for them. This will be an important match for both teams with United looking to break into the top for and Burnley seeking to avoid a relegation battle this season.

Previous meetings with Burnley and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Burnley have played a total of 14 matches in the history of the Premier League. United have won eight matches, drawing four with Burnley winning the remaining two matches. United have scored a total of 21 goals, winning four penalties and scoring two of them. Burnley have scored nine goals, winning no penalties. United have kept a total of eight clean sheets with Burnley keeping a total of four in these matches. United players have been shown a total of 25 yellow cards and two red cards with Burnley players shown a total of 36 yellow cards and no red cards. United should be winning this match.

There is much history between United and Burnley with no fewer than 15 players having played for both clubs. Phil Bardsley, Luke Chadwick, Andy Cole, John Connelly, Chris Eagles, Richard Eckersley, David Jones, Michael Keane, David May, Willie Morgan, John O’Kane, Mike Phelan, Lee Roche, Colin Waldron and John Walton have all played for both clubs. The more well known players on the list are Morgan who played for United from 1968 to 1975, Mike Phelan, current assistant who played for United from 1989 to 1994 and treble winners Andy Cole, who played for United from 1995 to 2001 and David May who played for United from 1994 until 2003.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Burnley in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Thursday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea is the difference to this United team at present. Granted, he conceded a goal against Newcastle United on Monday evening but made many saves, which have also come against all recent opposition. It was expected that Dean Henderson would challenge him for the number one shirt at the club this season but the English goalkeeper has played just two times for the senior team and it would seem that he is once again unhappy because the better goalkeeper is being given the opportunity the majority of the time. It would seem that it is just another time in the history of the club that a younger goalkeeper has been blocked out.

De Gea still has it in him to remain in his position for the majority of the season. Although it is suggested that Rangnick wants to keep three senior goalkeepers at the club and will not let Henderson leave the club in January and with him signing a new contract recently, there is no reason to let him leave on the cheap. United have some form at the back this season, even if the defence are still being found out match after match. The Spanish goalkeeper has the confidence and ability to make these saves, which is what it saving United once again – it is like the clock have gone back to 2014 again.

Defenders: Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United’s defence was rusty against Newcastle, having not played in the past 16 days because of postponements to the Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion matches. Raphael Varane had returned from a long-term injury, which was actually back to back injuries sustained on international duty and it took a little time to get him fully fit. As soon as he has minutes under his belt, he should improve. Harry Maguire was awful against Newcastle and needs to start showing glimpses of why he’s such a highly-rated footballer. United paid £80 million for him and he needs to start paying something back as the dire performances do not help.

Diogo Dalot was caught out by Allan Saint-Maximin against Newcastle but was involved in the attack which saw Edinson Cavani score United’s only goal of the game. For that reason, and the fact he attacks more than Aaron Wan-Bissaka, he should keep his place in the squad against Burnley. Varane and Maguire should partner in the centre of the defence and perhaps Luke Shaw should be recalled to replace Alex Telles in the left-back role. Eric Bailly could be recalled into the squad for the Burnley match, with Victor Lindelof out with coronavirus and Phil Jones not really involved in the first team so far this season – seemingly him trying to keep fit to be loaned?

Midfield: Jadon Sancho, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay

The 4-2-2-2 formation dies not seem to be working at United, probably because of the players at the club that do not suit it. Granted, Rangnick will need to implement something at the club but it needs to work well. Buying a whole new team is not the best way to accomplish things, but at this time when the dressing room seems to have its cliques, that might be for the best. That said, tweaking the formation could go a long way at this time. Having a three-man midfield, four if you include the attacking midfielder playing behind the strikers, might be a good option against Burnley so United can attack, attack, attack.

Jadon Sancho could be the wide player in the midfield, supplementing the attack and providing width when needed as United will not be able to play through the middle easily. The formation will change at times and it will be easy for United to revert to different formations to get the right measure. Nemanja Matic could play the defensive midfield role as United need some ability and confidence in this area. Scott McTominay could also play in the midfield as Fred was not the best against the Magpies with McTominay able to get forward, although he will need to start doing more with the ball to find goals or play in key passes.

Attacking Midfield: Donny van de Beek

With Bruno Fernandes suspended after accumulating five yellow cards so far this season, he will be suspended against Burnley. Donny van de Beek should start in his advanced position, feeding both Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani. The Dutchman has made just 12 appearances so far this season, playing 361 minutes of football and is yet to play a full 90 minutes in the Premier League. For a player of his calibre, he should be playing more football. However, under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Michael Carrick and now Ralf Rangnick, he has not been played ahead of anyone else in the team, unless it was a match where rotation could happen.

It is expected that he will be seeking to leave United in January, unless he gets more minutes under his belt but at the same time, if he was offering anything good, he would be playing more minutes anyway. This is not an open and closed case that is he being purposefully looked over. There is a reason and it seems to be based on what he offers. He will need to work hard to find his feet at the club, if indeed he does want to stay – which is the main question here. That said, he has never moaned, has been respectful and will understand that he was not guaranteed anything at United. If he takes his chances and plays well – that’s all that matters for him.

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani

United have a great goalscorer in Cristiano Ronaldo but when he has not been getting the service, his frustration is clear to see. Edinson Cavani is another great forward who does a lot on the pitch – even if he is on the wrong side of 30 – he’s been doing better than other attacking players on the pitch since he arrived but his injury record is no the best. He was brought on at half time against the Magpies and scored the goal that saved some of United’s blushes seeing United come back from 1-0 down. Having both Ronaldo and Cavani start together up top could be good for United, as long as the service is there for them both.

Ronaldo is the clubs top scorer so far this season with 13 goals in all competitions and Cavani has scored his second goal so far. Ronaldo has two assists which gives the par of them 17 goal contributions – which is good for this stage of the season and will only get better. Last season, Cavani scored 17 goals and six assists in all competitions and match that would be good for him. Ronaldo scored 36 goals and four assists for Juventus and him coming close to that number would be great for United. There is a long way to go this season and United will be expected to look like they could win a trophy, or at least turn a corner that never seems to come.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Eric Bailly, Alex Telles, Aaron Wan-Bissaka; Jesse Lingard, Fred; Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Anthony Elanga

Rangnick will be able to name nine players on the bench in the Premier League, using three of them throughout the match, unless there is a head injury, in which case another substitute could be used. I expect Dean Henderson to be on the bench again considering the form of De Gea, who is undroppable at this time. It has also been suggested that Eric Bailly has to return to England having left for the Ivory Coast as he could be needed in this match. Alex Telles and Aaron Wan-Bissaka could complete the defensive options on the bench for this match. Phil Jones was on the bench against Newcastle, but perhaps he’s not favoured at this time.

In the midfield, United could have just Jesse Lingard and Fred on the bench, which will minimise the options from the bench unless Rangnick drafts in some youth players like Charlie Savage. We shall have to see what is said ahead of the match on this – probably nothing. In attack, which is United’s strongest position this season, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Elanga could all be available should anything need to be changed. Anthony Martial is still on the sidelines with a knee problem and could well be on his way out of the club if a suitable offer arrives for him – but it is said he will not be leaving on the cheap.

Written by John Walker

Preview: The 4-2-2-2 formation does not work for United, not with this squad – they must beat Burnley

Manchester United -v- Burnley

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Thursday 30 December 2021, KO 20:15 GMT

Referee: Jonathan Moss Assistants: Marc Perry, Timothy Wood

Fourth Official: Paul Tierney

VAR: Darren England Assistant VAR: Dan Robathan

Manchester United welcome Burnley to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Thursday evening in what will be the final match played in 2021. It will be shown live in the United Kingdom on Amazon Prime, the second of two match weeks the company had bought in the last television rights auction. United drew 1-1 with Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Monday evening, which was considered a poor result based on the form of the Magpies and their position in the league table. Ralf Rangnick will need to get the best out of this team, which looks very hard at this time as any form they had before a 16-day break in matches seems to have gone.

United have lost just one of their last 13 Premier League matches against Burnley, winning eight and drawing four. The last defeat was in January 2020 with Burnley won 2-0. United will be seeking to end 2021 on a high, avoiding defeat in their last match of the year. This could be the tenth year in a row – they have won six and drawn three so far. Burnley have won six of their ten Premier League points against United at Old Trafford, which will lead to some confidence for them. This will be an important match for both teams with United looking to break into the top for and Burnley seeking to avoid a relegation battle this season.

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: DWDWWD

Newcastle United 1-1 D, Norwich City 1-0 W, Young Boys 1-1 D, Crystal Palace 1-0 W, Arsenal 3-2 W, Chelsea 1-1 D

Goals: 13 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 5 – Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, 3 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Edinson Cavani, Fred, Jesse Lingard, Jadon Sancho, 1 – Anthony Martial, Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek

Assists: 9 – Bruno Fernandes, 7 – Paul Pogba, 3 – Luke Shaw, 2 – Mason Greenwood, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Cristiano Ronaldo 1 – Fred, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Raphael Varane

Burnley – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: DLDDDW

West Ham United 0-0 D, Newcastle United 1-0 L, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 D, Crystal Palace 3-3 D, Chelsea 1-1 D, Brentford 3-1 W

Goals: 5 – Maxwel Cornet, 4 – Jay Rodriguez, 3 – Chris Wood, 2 – Ben Mee, 1 – Matthew Lowton, James Tarkowski, Matej Vydra

Assists: 4 – Ashley Westwood, 2 – Matthew Lowton, James Tarkowski, Matej Vydra, 1 – Maxwel Cornet, Jóhann Gudmundsson, Dwight McNeil, Jay Rodriguez, Charlie Taylor

Previous meetings with Burnley and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Burnley have played a total of 14 matches in the history of the Premier League. United have won eight matches, drawing four with Burnley winning the remaining two matches. United have scored a total of 21 goals, winning four penalties and scoring two of them. Burnley have scored nine goals, winning no penalties. United have kept a total of eight clean sheets with Burnley keeping a total of four in these matches. United players have been shown a total of 25 yellow cards and two red cards with Burnley players shown a total of 36 yellow cards and no red cards. United should be winning this match.

There is much history between United and Burnley with no fewer than 15 players having played for both clubs. Phil Bardsley, Luke Chadwick, Andy Cole, John Connelly, Chris Eagles, Richard Eckersley, David Jones, Michael Keane, David May, Willie Morgan, John O’Kane, Mike Phelan, Lee Roche, Colin Waldron and John Walton have all played for both clubs. The more well known players on the list are Morgan who played for United from 1968 to 1975, Mike Phelan, current assistant who played for United from 1989 to 1994 and treble winners Andy Cole, who played for United from 1995 to 2001 and David May who played for United from 1994 until 2003.

Team News: United will miss two players due to injury and oe due to suspension with one more having a 50/50 chance of featuring on Thursday. Burnley have two players ruled out, two other doubts.

Paul Pogba (Thigh), Victor Lindelof (Coronavirus) and Bruno Fernandes (Suspension) will all mis the match against Burnley on Thursday evening. Anthony Martial (Knee) has a 50% chance of being fit to face Burnley. Rangnick could be forced to seek to include youth players in the squad for this match, at least in the training group, selecting them if they are needed. United will have been boosted ahead of the Newcastle draw with the return to Raphaël Varane and Edinson Cavani, who have both been out of the squad with longer-term injuries. When they both get full match fitness, they will be integral to United’s squad.

Ashley Barnes (Thigh) and Connor Roberts (Illness) have both been ruled out of the trip to Old Trafford on Thursday evening due to injury. Dale Stephens (Illness) has a 75% chance of featuring against United having met the Covid protocols. Maxwel Cornet (Thigh) has a 50% chance of featuring against United having recovered from injury, suffering from Covid at the same time. It would seem that Burnley will have a stronger team to face United, which could be good for them, especially if they saw how badly United played, especially in the first half, against Newcastle on Monday evening.

Predicted Starting XI: Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani to lead the line against Burnley, supported by Donny van de Beek with Bruno Fernandes suspended. Three-man midfield, no 4-2-2-2 formation.

Rangnick will not have been impressed by the performance against Newcastle on Monday evening. United were worse than poor in that match with the captain suggesting that they ‘ran out of steam’ because of the 16 days between the poor performance against Norwich City and another poor performance against the Magpies. United beat Norwich and drew with Newcastle, conceding just one goal in the two matches, but this squad should have done much better. Changes will need to be made ahead of the Burnley match with two players ruled out through injury/illness and another through suspension. United need to win this match – convincingly.

I would imagine that David De Gea will keep his place as the goalkeeper for this match, despite it coming just three days after he played against Newcastle. Diogo Dalot should keep his position as the right-back, as despite some problems against Allan Saint-Maximin, he persevered. Luke Shaw should perhaps come in at left-back with Raphaël Varane and Harry Maguire partnering in the centre of the defence. A three-man midfield would be better than the 4-2-2-2 formation with Jadon Sancho (wide), Nemanja Matic (defensive) and Scott McTominay all playing. Donny van de Beek should play just behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani.

Match Prediction: United beat Burnley home and away last season, scoring four goals and conceding one. This season needs to be much better than that – despite United’s current form.

In this fixture last season, United won 3-1 with Mason Greenwood, assisted by Marcus Rashford opening the scoring. James Tarkowski, assisted by Ashley Westwood equalised minutes later. Greenwood completed his brace, restoring United’s lead in the 84th minute, assisted by Paul Pogba with Edinson Cavani securing United the win with a two-goal cushion three minutes into added time, assisted by Donny van de Beek. At Turf Moor, United won 1-0 with Paul Pogba, assisted by Rashford, scoring the only goal of the match in the 71st minute. This will be the third time United have met Burnley in 2021.

United need to find some form. They have been terrible of late, drawing with Newcastle United in their last match, beating Norwich City 1-0 in the match prior to that, which had 16 days in-between because of coronavirus, seeing the matches against Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion postponed and costing United any kind of form. Rangnick will need to get his team working hard, despite playing again just three days after the dire draw with the Magpies. United will face Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford on the 3 January 2022 then have seven days break before welcoming Aston Villa in the Emirates FA Cup.

Manchester United 3-1 Burnley

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Greenwood’s brace and Cavani’s tap-in sees United send Burnley packing

Manchester United beat Burnley 3-1 at Old Trafford to close the gap between them and Manchester City to just eight points with six matches remaining this season. Mason Greenwood opened the scoring in the 48th minute of the match with James Tarkowski equalising 114 seconds later. Greenwood then fired his second for United in the 84th minute of the match, scoring his ninth goal of the season. Burnley looked to be mounting a charge for an equaliser but United cut out their attack and launched on themselves with Edinson Cavani scoring his tenth goal of the season. Watch out Manchester City!

It was not the best start for United with Burnley kicking the match off and immediately finding the back of the net. However, it was ruled out by offside and VAR confirming that. When United started to attack, Burnley seemed to get all their players in their own half, many in their own box, which shows why they are in the position they are in this season with only 32 goals to the name in all competitions. It was a quite frustrating match as despite United getting chances, they never seemed to threaten as much as they should have, which is a shame. Burnley were being praised for being better off the ball, which seems ridiculous to state.

Paul Pogba probably had the best chance in the half after Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who was booked for a clumsy fouls in the 26th minute of the match, played the ball into the box with the Frenchman heading towards the top corner of the goal and not finding the target. United were on the attack in the 33rd minute of the match with Mason Greenwood rushing to receive the ball on the right, but he was flagged for offside. United seemed to have something to moan about after Marcus Rashford seemed to be fouled by the goalkeeper, but looking at the replay, there was nothing untoward there.

It was 0-0 at the end of the first half which finished with some pain for Dean Henderson as Burnley played the ball into the box, James Tarkowski headed the ball towards Chris Wood, who came in low ons Henderson with his studs up on both feet, colliding with his hip. It seemed to be a very cynical challenge but it was not a foul as Wood was offside.. United would need to get something going in the second half, otherwise Burnley will leave Old Trafford undefeated for the sixth time in their last six visits and if that happened, it would be embarrassing as Burnley are a terrible team that plays park the bus football.

Solskjaer made his first substitution at the start of the second half with Edinson Cavani, who had been warming up for the final few minutes of the half and during the break, replacing Fred who completed 100% of his passes against Burnley with ten of them in the attacking third of the pitch. United opened the scoring in the 48th minute of the match after Luke Shaw burst forward, played the ball to Rashford with Matthew Lowton committing to but missing the ball and Rashford finding Mason Greenwood, who scored his eighth goal of the season, meaning he is one aways from Wayne Rooney’s 15 Premier League goal haul as a teenager for United.

However, United’s lead lasted just 114 seconds before United conceded their 1000th Premier League goal as James Tarkowski received the ball from an Ashley Westwood corner from the left, Tarkowski was sandwiched by Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire, with the defender showing brilliant strength to remain in the air and glance his header past Henderson from six-yards. It was a goal that should have been defended and one that will be rued by all United players. United will need to be a lot better to get three points in this match with them back to the drawing board in this match with Burnley looking up for the challenge to keep their Old Trafford record.

With around 15 minutes remaining, after having a few chances here and there, United were still pushing for a winner. However, Burnley were getting forward and threatening too, which was something that United needed to deal with more robustly. United got their second goal through Greenwood, who got his ninth goal of the season. Burnley did not look all that settled from the corner as United recycled play. Pogba worked the ball out to Greenwood one the far side and he cut in to get a shot away from his left foot. Bailey Peacock-Farrell committed to the dive but a deflection off Jack Cork gave the keeper no chance to make the save.

That was not it for United though as they pushed for another goal which came three minutes into the four minutes added at the end of the match. Burnley committed players forward in search of an equaliser and nearly got one after punishing an error. United broke up the attack to wrap up the game with United taking all three points. Greenwood played the ball into Bruno Fernandes, who then played to Van de Beek – which combined to a lovely flowing move. Edinson Cavani, assisted by the Dutchman, tapped in his effort to scored his tenth goal of the season and complete this match with a 3-1 victory over Burnley who could be relegation contenders.

United will now have a six day break before they face their next opposition. United will travel to Elland Road to face Leeds United for the first time in the Premier League since 2003. United beat Leeds 6-2 at Old Trafford in December 2020 and will be seeking to do the double over the club, who were promoted from the Championship last season. Leeds have some good results this season and do seem to be a capable team, who have secured themselves as a Premier League club heading into next season. United will be thankful of the rest before they enter the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League the following week.

Manchester United

26 Dean Henderson

Could have conceded a calamitous goal in the first minute, but an offside flag saved his blushes. Conceded 114 seconds after United took the lead. It will be a learning curve for the goalkeeper, who was calm and composed and commanded his area well throughout the match.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Booked in the 26th minute for a clumsy foul. Completed 25 out of 27 passes in the attacking third. He was not really an outlet of attack on the right though.Did his job defensively though.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Did well against Burnley although his aerial ability was countered and perhaps the the best way to get balls into the box to threaten.

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5 Harry Maguire

Coped (just) with Wood but was beaten by Tarkowski for the equaliser. Will be thankful of the break this week, despite not playing for the past week himself.

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23 Luke Shaw

Lacked adventure at times and needed to be told by the manager. His second half performance was better than the first.

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39 Scott McTominay

Had a chance on goal in the first half but that came to nothing. Could to set the tempo with Pogba playing further forward.

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17 Fred

Played the first half of the match before being replaced by Cavani at half time. Completed 100% of his passes (35) with ten of those in the attacking third of the pitch. It was not a positive performance but one for him to at least build upon.

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10 Marcus Rashford

I thought he would be rested for this match but he seemed to be fitter and more in play against Burnley. Got his 13th assist of the season which saw Greenwood open the scoring - 114 seconds before Burnley equalised.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Burnley got under his skin. They wound him up. He got the better with a dummy for Greenwood's goal.

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6 Paul Pogba

Should have scored in the first half with a precise header into the top corner. Did what he needed to do at times and got the ball forward as much as possible.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Scored his eighth and ninth goals of the season and also made it three goals in his last two Premier League matches. Rashford played the first into him, getting the assist, Pogba played the second in but there was a slight deflection for the goal. but the assist stood too. He has matched Wayne Rooney's 15 goals for the club as a teenager.

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Substitutes

21 Edinson Cavani

Replaced Fred 46'. Came on at half time to add more threat on the attack. Sealed the victory with a tap in which became his tenth goal of the season.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Rashford 84'. Got his second assist of the season playing the ball into Cavani for United's third goal. Good to see him able to raise his confidence. Needs to be playing more football though.

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Goals: Mason Greenwood 48′, 84’, Edinson Cavani 90+3’; James Tarkowski 50′

Assists: Marcus Rashford 48′, Paul Pogba 84’, Donny van de Beek 90+3’; Ashley Westwood 50′

Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred (Cavani 46′); Rashford (Van de Beek 84′), Fernandes, Pogba; Greenwood

Substitutes Not Used: De Gea; Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; Mata, James, Matic

Bookings: Aaron Wan-Bissaka 26′; James Tarkowski 89′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Greenwood, Rashford, Fernandes and Pogba to lead United against Burnley

Manchester United welcome Burnley to Old Trafford in the Premier League this afternoon 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:

Henderson;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

McTominay, Fred;

Rashford, Fernandes, Pogba;

Greenwood

Substitutes:

De Gea; Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; Mata, James, Matic, Van de Beek; Cavani

Burnley:

Peacock-Farrell;

Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor;

Cork, Westwood, Brownhill;

Gudmundsson, McNeil;

Wood

Substitutes:

Norris; Pieters, Barnsley, Nartey, Dunne; Stephens, Richardson; Rodriguez, Vydra

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.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-3-1-2] Cavani, Greenwood, Fernandes and Pogba to help United push Burnley into peril

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.

How United have faired against Burnley in the Premier League.

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.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Burnley in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson

Dean Henderson was rested on Thursday evening with David De Gea playing in the UEFA Europa League clash with Granada, which saw United win 2-0, 4-0 on aggregate to earn a place in the semi-finals of the competition. Henderson is probably seen as the number one goalkeeper at the club which will give the manager a headache about De Gea’s future at the club. Henderson last played against Tottenham Hotspur last week and despite conceding in the 40th minute of the match, did well and helped United in victory. Henderson is a very good goalkeeper and many will be excited to see what he can achieve at the club.

The player knows his talents and has always been vocal in that way and his loan spells away from the club with his last two seasons being played out at Sheffield United, defined his career in showing what United had on their books which resulted in him showing what he’s got this season and challenging De Gea for his place in the team. Henderson has 21 appearances to his name at United this season and he has only conceded 15 goals, keeping 12 clean sheets. It is only a matter of time before other clubs start to see what a player he is and I truly believe that he will silence a lot of his critics.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United were back to barebones in terms of defenders for Thursday’s match which saw Victor Lindelof and Axel Tuanzebe start together, playing well for the 90 minutes – which was great to see. Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw were both suspended for the clash, which has allowed them just about a week’s rest before playing again, which at this stage of the season will be good for them. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will end up playing through, which I am sure he is happy with, although Solskjaer has the strength in depth to bring in Brandon Williams, just like he did one Thursday.

Against Burnley this weekend, I feel that Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire and Shaw will all feature against the team which is unbeaten in their last five trips to the Theatre of Dreams. United will need to be the better of the 16th placed club in the league who are seven points away from the relegation places. Ideally, United will be seeking to keep a clean sheet in the match, knowing that Burnley have only scored 32 goals this season with United scoring their 100th goal on Thursday evening, which was an own goal – one of five own goals scored for them this season. United’s defence needs some work but these players are able to achieve this season.

Midfield: Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba

United have played with a three-man midfield in the last two matches, which has also featured Bruno Fernandes playing inn the number ten position. I think United have played better inn this formation, which has seen them dominate and positions them strongly in the areas that they have been weak in this season. I would like to see Donny van de Beek, Scott Mctominay, who was suspended for Thursday’s match and Paul Pogba all play in the midfield as I feel the Burnley will play the majority of their player’s being the ball for much of the match as that is what these teams do when they come to the Theatre of Dreams.

Van de Beek should be starting as he has not played a lot of football this season. He has played 30 times for United this season, scoring one goal and one assist but in terms of minutes played, he has only been on the pitch for 1,174 minutes, which is an average of 39 minutes per appearance – which is not good enough for a player of his calibre. Solskjaer has tried to smoothen the transition of the rise form the Eredivisie to the Premier League but even he is capable of performing at a high level. Pogba has been in form inn his last few matches, getting three assists in his last four. McTominay gives his all when on the pitch too, which is good to see.

Attacking Midfield: Bruno Fernandes

Brunno Fernandes is the Portuguese magnifico and has been the best signing of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s. He is definitely the player that will be awarded the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award this season and has a good chance of winning the PFA Player of the Year and being shortlisted for the Ballon d’Or – but maybe not in the top three. Fernandes has been inspirational and only Eric Cantona has had a similar start to his United career as the Portuguese midfielder. Recently though, Fernandes has been laboured and probably needs a rest but he has a player that will not want special treatment either.

He has scored 24 goals this season, also achieving an additional 14 assists meaning that he has a goal contribution of 38 goals this season, which is magnificent. United are reliant on the player being in good form which is why they need to balance the squad and make the club less reliant on him. Many opposition supporters will be jealous to see a player like Fernandes in United’s squad. As much as they mock him, you have measure that level in jealousy that their club does not have him. I would not change anything and think he has been a great addition to the club and the squad and he loves it at Manchester United – which is great.

Forwards: Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani is in form right now. He scored against Spurs (twice) and was one of the figures behind the comeback from 1-0 down in the first half of that match. He also has a good game against Granada ons Thursday evening, scoring his second goal of the week and extending his record to nine goals this season, and he has two assists from earlier in the season, meaning he has a goal contribution of 11 goals this season. It might not please some but the Uruguayan is inn form at the right time – the business end of the season. United will be seeking to achieve something and set the pace for next season which will hopefully continue with him.

Mason Greenwood is also a player that has moved on in strides this season. His goal contribution is not like it was last season but he has upped his progress at the club and is seeking to move into more of a strikers role, which has been the case in the last two matches with him playing up top in periods or on Thursday, for much of the match. Greenwood has scored 13 Premier League goals for United and is only better by Wayne Rooney in the teenage goalscoring rankings, which means another two goals before he’s 20, which won’t happen until the 1 October 2021, will see him achieve what Rooney did, in terms of league goals in his teenage years.

Substitutes: David De Gea; Alex Telles, Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe; Juan Mata, Fred, Amad Diallo, Nemanja Matic; Marcus Rashford

Substitutes could play a big part in this match, keeping the squad fresh – despite having a week to ready themselves for their next match which is a trip to Leeds United, which United have not endured since 2011, although that was in the League Cup. The last Premier League match at Elland Road was in October 2003 with Roy Keane scoring the winner. Solskjaer will only be able to name nine players on the bench for Premier League matches, using three of those during the course of the match. I expect David De Gea to be back on the bench after his clean sheet against Granada with Henderson starting the match.

In defence, Alex Telles, Brandon Williams and Axel Tuanzebe will be available but it is possible that Eric Bailly could be back after missing the last few matches after the international break because of coronavirus. He may not be fit enough to take part though. In midfield, Juan Mata, Fred, Amad Diallo and Nemanja Matic could all be called upon should they be needed. In attack, which is an area that United have a lack of cover for right now, Marcus Rashford could be available, although he was on the bench on Thursday and was not used. If he is not able to take part, Anthony Elanga, who faced Manchester City at U23 level on Friday, could be involved.

Written by John Walker

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

Ratings: Pogba’s second half performance drove United to victory; United are top of the league – bring on Liverpool

Manchester United beat Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor in the Premier League on Tuesday evening. It puts Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side three points clear of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table. Paul Pogba scored the only goal of the match after playing the ball out to Marcus Rashford on the right with the England forward playing back to the Frenchman whose effort was slightly deflected into the back of the net. Bruno Fernandes did not have the best of matches, but played a part. Anthony Martial will be a worry, coming off injured late into added time. The positivity is that United are top of the league and deserve it.

Burnley started well at Turf Moor with former United academy player Bobbie Brady getting forward immediately after a diagonal cross into Ashley Barnes before the forward was outmuscled by Aaron Wan-Bissaka which saw Brady receive the ball on the right but he then shot wildly over the target. Burnley had another chance in the seventh minute but Harry Maguire made a crucial block. United got a chance in the 17th minute with Luke Shaw fizzing a cross from the left with Anthony Martial dummying the ball for Bruno Fernandes, who shot straight at Nick Pope.

United then got another chance in the 19th minute with Marcus Rashford slipping the ball into Fernandes behind the Burnley defence. Martial then peeled away from his marker and went for an overhead kick which was blocked before it reached the target. Burnley had the chance to open the scoring again in the 22nd minute after Fernandes gave away possession but Eric Bailly, deflecting the ball with it eventually going wide of the target despite David De Gea being wrong-footed. United had another chance in the 25th minute with Nemanja Matic firing into Martial, whose shot was poorly placed wide of the target.

In the 28th minute, there was some drama. Brady was booked for a challenge on Edinson Cavani after a foul on the edge of the box. Then, the referee was called to the VAR screen to see a challenge by Shaw moments earlier, to cut a long story short saw Shaw booked and Brady have his card eradicated for the challenge. United found the back of the net through Maguire in the 37th minute of the match through a header but the goal was scrapped by VAR for a foul in the box. There was a penalty shout the next minute after Cavani attempted a bicycle kick which struck Ben Mee, but it was not a penalty.

Martial found Fernandes in the 42nd minute in space at the edge of the box. He sent a teasing ball to the back post which Cavani attacked. Rashford did not gamble as the Uruguayan send both central defenders out towards him as the ball went out of play. Pope then stopped Martial in the 45th minute com curling an opener into the top corner. In added time at the end of the half, Fernandes was booked for dissent at the end of a frustrating period for United, who should have perhaps done more than they did in their quest to top the Premier League table ahead of their clash with Liverpool on Sunday.

United had a chance in the 52nd minute after De Gea picked out Paul Pogba on the halfway line with a long throw and Pogba then worked hard to drive away from three Burnley players before finding Fernandes in the final third. The Portuguese midfielder released Martial on the overlap and he centred a low cross that was begging to be swept in but Cavani failed to get on the end of it with Pope making an easy save to deny United once again. United needed to be much better than this, especially with Liverpool on the horizon and the fact they will ensure they take all of their chances.

Pogba started to have more of an impact in the 57th minute after skipping away from two challenges in the area before crossing to Cavani, but he had the ball whacked off his foot by Martial as the two United forwards got in each others way, which was frustrating to see. Fernandes then pressed Burnley, who stood off and he sent a dipping effort on target which Pope spilled before gathering it the second time. In the 64th minute, Pogba slipped the ball into Rashford but was never onside with the flag going up after the move came to an end. United then had another chance, which again came to nothing in the 67th minute.

In the 69th minute, United had a penalty shout after Fernandes fired the ball into Martial in the area. His deft back heel threatened to play Pogba in on goal. The Frenchman then went to ground after a challenge from Josh Brownhill and United’s appeal for a penalty was considered by VAR. However, there was insufficient evidence to give a spot kick. Two minutes later though, United had opened the scoring through Pogba, who started the attack, played the ball to Rashford on the right, who then delivered the ball to the edge of the area with Pogba now in a good area, receiving the ball and hitting the back of the net with a slight deflection.

Solskjaer made his first substitution in the 80th minute of the match with Mason Greenwood replacing Rashford. United then had a chance to double their lead two minutes later with Martial preparing to pull the trigger from close-range, saw James Tarkowski make a brilliant last-ditch challenge to deny the Frenchman. United should have done much better there. Burnley then looked to start to push themselves into the match to get an equaliser. Solskjaer brought on Scott McTominay for Fernandes in the 89th minute of the match, seemingly trying to pack the midfield to deal with Burnley.

Martial seemed to be injured in added time, possible his hamstring. He was replaced by Axel Tuanzebe which might add some problems for the Liverpool match at the weekend. United just needed to keep a clean sheet and finish the match with the victory, which is what happened. United move three points ahead of Liverpool, level on matches played with goal difference a factor if Liverpool beat United at Anfield. Solskjaer will be pleased with his team, who some will say has topped the table in spite of him, not because of him. Agendas eh? United deserve to be in the position they are in right now. Bring on Liverpool.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Will be happy with another clean sheet and United going top of the Premier League and three points clear of Liverpool going into the clash with them on Sunday.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Played well both defensively and in attack. United got forward a lot of the time with Burnley no really pushing the right-back defensively.

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3 Eric Bailly

Good to see him recover quickly from the injury which looked like it could sideline him. Lindelof could have a problem getting back into the starting XI with Bailly doing well so far. A big game is coming up though and Bailly will be ready for it.

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5 Harry Maguire

Headed the ball into the back of the net in the first half but it was ruled out for a foul. Led his team positively and broke forward when he could, especially in set-pieces.

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23 Luke Shaw

Booked in the first half for what seemed like a follow through. Did well at times throughout the match, pushing forward with United seeking that elusive goal.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Had a shot on goal in the first half but put it straight through to Pope instead. It seemed like an off day for the Portuguese magnifico. He played his part though with Pogba being the one to guide United in this match. Was replaced by McTominay in the 89th minute.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Played the defensive role in the midfield well. Burnley had a few chances in the first half, but in the second, the seemed well behind. Matic did what he needed to do and helped to protect the defence, when they needed it.

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6 Paul Pogba

Opened the scoring in the 71st minute of the match, playing the ball into Rashford, who drove forward and eventually passed to the Frenchman on the edge of the box. His effort was deflected (slightly) past Pope to put United ahead in the match. His first half was uneventful but he started to get into the game in the second half.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Playing on the right is not an area that Rashford does well in. He struggles but in the second half, received the ball and played it back to Pogba to open the scoring. He was replaced by Greenwood in the 80th minute.

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21 Edinson Cavani

Good to see him back after a three match suspension. Seemed fit and raring to go but it was a day that United needed to do more. He had a few attempts on goal, never getting there though.

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9 Anthony Martial

Did not have the best of matches. Had a fair few chances to break the deadlock before Pogba scored, but the quality was not really there. Martial has scored a few goals against Burnley in his time at United though. Came off injured in added time with Tuanzebe replacing him.

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Substitutes

11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Rashford 80'. Used his pace late in the game but it was Burnley who were pushing to get back into the match.

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39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Fernandes 89'. Came on late in the game to add more in midfield for United.

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38 Axel Tuanzebe

Replaced Martial 90+5'. Replaced an injured martial who seemed to struggle with an injury late in the match. Had little time to have much involvement.

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Goals: Paul Pogba 71′

Assists: Marcus Rashford 71′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Fernandes (McTominay 89′), Matic, Pogba; Rashford (Greenwood 80′), Cavani, Martial (Tuanzebe 90+5′)

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Telles; Mata, Fred, James, Van de Beek

Bookings: Ashley Westwood 62′; Luke Shaw 32′, Bruno Fernandes 45+3′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Cavani, Pogba and Fernandes start against Burnley as United look to top the league

Manchester United will face Burnley at Turf Moor in the Premier League this evening, the match that was originally supposed to start the season with United and Manchester City both having a further week to recover after participation in European competition from last season, which was delayed because of the coronavirus lockdown. This match could result in United rising to the top of the Premier League just days before taking on Liverpool for the first time this season – providing they beat Burnley, of course. This would show that there has been lots of improvement at United this season – who’d have thought that!

There seems to be a lot of hostility on social media from the supposed supporters of the club that seem to think United are moving forward in spite of, not because of Solskjaer, which just shows the pathetic nature of these supporters whose agenda seems to be as deep as some in the political world right now. That said, those who back the process and support the manager and all of the players representing the club, will rightly so bask in the improvement which has seen United start to challenge in the Premier League once again, no matter how long it continues – it is the closest United have come in seven years to competing.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw;

Fernandes, Matic, Pogba;

Rashford, Cavani, Martial

Substitutes:

Henderson; Telles, Tuanzebe; Mata, Fred, James, Van de Beek, McTominay; Greenwood

Burnley:

Pope;

Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters;

Brady, Brownhill, Westwood, Gudmundsson;

Wood, Barnes

Substitutes:

Norris; Bardsley, Long; Cork, McNeil, Stephens, Benson; Rodriguez, Vydra

United and Burnley have played 12 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won six of the meetings, drawing four and losing twice. United have scored a total of 17 goals, winning four penalties and scoring two of them. Burnley have scored eight goals, winning no penalties. United have kept seven cleans sheets with Burnley keeping just four. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 22 yellow cards with two red cards being shown. Burnley have been shown 33 yellow cards with no red cards. This is an important match for United, who could sit at the top of the league before they face Liverpool next weekend.

Last season, in this encounter at Turf Moor, played on the 28 December 2019, United won 2-0 with Anthony Martial opening the scoring in the 44th minute, assisted by Andreas Pereira and with Marcus Rashford securing the victory in the 90+5th minute, assisted by Daniel James. United will be seeking for a similar result against Burnley this season, which will help them pile the pressure on Liverpool ahead of their clash next weekend. At Old Trafford, a match played on the 22 January 2020, it was a 2-0 victory for Burnley with Chris Wood opening the scoring in the 39th minute and Jay Rodriquez securing the victory in the 56th minute.

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW