Manchester United will be looking to return to winning ways and close the gap to the top four when they welcome Burnley to Old Trafford on Wednesday.
Gameweek 24 of the 2019-20 Premier League season continues on Wednesday, with three games on show. Manchester United are one of the teams on show, with the injury-ravaged Red Devils hoping to quickly move on from their defeat to Liverpool when they play hosts to Burnley at Old Trafford.
For Manchester United, it has been a disappointing start to 2020. The Red Devils have managed to win just two of their six games since the turn of the year, although the drop in their levels has largely been restricted to their travels. Each of the two wins have come at home, with the last such outing at Old Trafford in the Premier League ending in a 4-0 win over Norwich City.
Burnley, on the other hand, had been on a steady slide over the past month, but arrested their slump this past weekend, as they came from behind to beat Leicester City 2-1 at Turf Moor. The Clarets, though, will be eager to embark on a solid run of form, seeing as they find themselves precariously close to the relegation zone.
The reverse fixture, played at Turf Moor last month, saw Manchester United slog it out before beating Burnley 2-0, courtesy goals from Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
The list of absentees keeps on growing for Manchester United. The big concern for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of the visit of Burnley is the absence of the team’s talisman Marcus Rashford, who has been ruled out for the foreseeable future due to a stress fracture in the back.
Other than Rashford, the Manchester United boss will also be without the services of key players Scott McTominay (knee) and Paul Pogba (ankle). Meanwhile, Victor Lindelof is a doubt due to illness, with the Swede’s issue being another source of concern for Solskjaer.
In case Lindelof is unable to recover ahead of the Burnley game, Phil Jones or Eric Bailly could replace him as Harry Maguire’s partner at the heart of the Manchester United defence. A shift in formation will see Brandon Williams start as a traditional left-back after being deployed as a wing-back last time out against Liverpool. Luke Shaw drops down to the bench.
In midfield, Fred and Nemanja Matic have struck up a solid partnership, with Matic, in particular, impressing since returning against Burnley last month. The duo will partner up in the midfield double pivot once again, providing the base for Manchester United to dominate the game.
Rashford’s absence leaves Anthony Martial with more responsibility than ever before and after missing a goal from point-blank range last time out, the Frenchman will be intent on doing better. Mason Greenwood, meanwhile, ought to start, with Solskjaer iterating that the teenager will get more minutes as a result of Rashford’s injury-enforced layoff.
Greenwood will start on the right side of the Manchester United attack, with Daniel James moving out to the left. Juan Mata has been in fine touch lately and is likely to replace Andreas Pereira as the playmaker, with the Spaniard set to reprise the no. 10 role.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams; Fred, Matic; Greenwood, Mata, James; Martial
Unlike his counterpart in the Manchester United dugout, Sean Dyche is not troubled by as many injury concerns. On Wednesday, the Burnley manager will be without just two first-team players, with Ashley Barnes (hernia) and Johann Berg Gudmundsson (thigh) sidelined.
Dyche is unlikely to make a lot of changes, if any, with the manager expected to keep faith in the 4-4-2 formation instead of reverting to the 4-4-1-1 once again. Jay Rodriguez has been decent in recent outings and will be Chris Wood’s strike partner in the absence of Barnes.
Aaron Lennon could come into the side in place of Jeff Hendrick, in what might be the only change made by Dyche to the starting lineup. On the left flank, Dwight McNeil is a certain starter, with the young midfielder providing the creative impetus for Burnley. Jack Cork and Ashley Westwood will be stationed in the central areas, with the duo looking to keep things tight in the middle of the park.
At the back, Phil Bardsley and Charlie Taylor are expected to keep Matthew Lowton and Erik Pieters, respectively, at bay to form the full-back pairing. At the heart of the Burnley defence, there is no looking past Ben Mee and James Tarkowski, while Nick Pope will be the man in goal once again.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Pope; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Lennon, Westwood, Cork, McNeil; Rodriguez, Wood
- Manchester United are aiming to do the league double against Burnley for the first time since 1976, following a 2-0 win at Turf Moor last month. The Clarets have drawn on their last three Premier League visits to Old Trafford, throwing away a two-goal lead in the past two seasons.
- Manchester United have scored four goals in each of their last two home league games, picking up wins against Newcastle (4-1) and Norwich (4-0). They last scored 4+ goals in three consecutive home league games back in November 1997.
- Burnley have won only one of their last 30 Premier League matches against the ‘Big Six’ sides (D6 L23), a 2-1 home victory against Tottenham last season.
- Burnley have failed to score a single first half goal in any of their last 11 Premier League matches, with each of their last 10 league goals being netted in the final 45 minutes of the game.
- Anthony Martial has scored in all three of his Premier League games against Burnley, though those goals have all been at Turf Moor. Three different Manchester United players have found the back of the net in their first four Premier League appearances for the club against a specific side – Ruud van Nistelrooy (vs Tottenham and Newcastle United), Wayne Rooney (vs Newcastle) and Robin van Persie (vs Stoke City).
Player to Watch
It has been a season that has seen Greenwood rise to the occasion plenty of times. The teenage prodigy is just one goal away from reaching 10 goals for the season and what better way to reach the landmark in his maiden full season with the first-team than when Manchester United most need it.
With Marcus Rashford set to be missing for a long time, Greenwood will need to shoulder a lot of responsibility, seeing as he is one of just two regular goalscorers remaining in the side, the other being first-choice striker Anthony Martial. What a perfect time for Greenwood to make a statement.
Manchester United 1-0 Burnley
This is a game that is hard to call. Burnley bounced back to winning ways against Leicester City to end a run of four Premier League games without a victory, but their overall form has been dismal. Manchester United are on a solid run at home in top-flight football, but are missing key players, including talisman Marcus Rashford.
So, the game could really go either way on the night. One thing is certain, though. There is unlikely to be a lot of goalmouth action, with the solid duo of Nemanja Matic and Fred even helping United to keep a clean sheet.
In the end, Manchester United ought to have the X-Factor in the form of Mason Greenwood, whose impact could help them eke out a narrow win for the hosts. The Hard Tackle predicts a 1-0 victory for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer & co.