Wednesday, 11th February, 2015; 19:45 GMT
Having narrowly escaped defeat against West Ham United, Manchester United host 17th placed Burnley FC as Van Gaal looks to get back to his winning ways at Old Trafford. Sitting on the 4th spot, 12 points behind Chelsea and 5 points behind Manchester City, United will be keen to earn three points as the race for Champions League football heats up. Burnley FC on the other hand are only a single point away from the relegation zone and will be desperate to not drop points as they visit the formidable fortress at Manchester.
Another insipid performance by Manchester United against West Ham United has left the fans wanting for more. A late strike by new signing Daley Blind once again rescued Louis Van Gaal whose team is refusing to show any improvement in their style of play since the start of the season. Speaking ahead of the match, Van Gaal defended himself against Sal Allardyce’s criticism regarding United’s style of football and claimed that his team relies more on possession than on direct crosses to score goals.
Manchester United have an impressive home record under Van Gaal who will be looking to put forward a strong display against Burnley on Wednesday. Luke Shaw remains unavailable for the fixture after picking up two yellow cards against West Ham United. Ashley Young is expected to be fit for the game while Michael Carrick remains unavailable due to a calf-muscle injury.
It will be interesting to see if Van Gaal tinkers with his starting line-up, particularly with the likes of Robin Van Persie, Radamel Falcao and Wayne Rooney. Falcao has been relatively quiet ever since his return from injury and missing a golden chance against West Ham United definitely added to his woes. Wayne Rooney on other hand has been largely ineffective in the midfield and has failed to stamp his authority as the Manchester United captain. Van Gaal could be persuaded to allow Rooney to partner Van Persie up front with Di Maria playing at the head of the diamond formation in the midfield. Juan Mata could make a return to the starting line-up, partnering Ander Herrera in front of Daley Blind.
Expected Starting Line-Up: De Gea (GK); Valencia, Young, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo; Blind, Mata, Herrera, Di Maria; Rooney, Van Persie
Sitting on the 17th spot in the Premier League, Burnley have won only one of their last 5 fixtures and have a tall task ahead of them as they visit Old Trafford. Sean Dyche will be keen to avoid a defeat and is expected to organise his defence in a manner that will keep a check on the likes of Angel Di Maria, Robin Van Persie and Radamel Falcao. Burnley will be without the services of Dean Marney, Kevin Long, Stephen Ward and Matt Taylor.
Tom Heaton is expected to start between the posts and will be assisted by the likes of Jason Shackell, Michael Keane,Ben Mee and Kieran Trippier in the defence. David Jones, Michael Kightly, Scott Arfield and George Boyd will start in the midfield . Barnes and Ings will lead the team’s attack and will hope to stretch the likes of Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones.
Manchester United will be expected to pile on the pressure on the visitors and Burnley will look to exploit Van Gaal’s men on the counter-attack. United have shown themselves to be vulnerable in the defence this season and Ings will be keen to test David De Gea who has been heroic for the Red Devils under Louis Van Gaal.
Expected Starting Line-Up: Tom Heaton; Jason Shackell, Michael Keane,Ben Mee, Kieran Trippier; David Jones, Michael Kightly, Scott Arfield, George Boyd; Ings, Barnes
Manchester United 3-0 Burnley FC
Player To Watch Out For
Daley Blind and Angel Di Maria are the players to watch out for as Manchester United host Burnley at the Old Trafford. Blind has been sensational for Van Gaal and pulls the strings for the team playing deep in the midfield. Angel Di Maria on the other hand has the ability to get Old Trafford up on his feet with his mesmerizing dribbling abilities.