Burnley have had a very poor season so far, and are firmly rooted at the bottom of the table now, although they have two games in hand over their relegation rivals. After an encouraging draw against Arsenal, they drew against Watford again on Saturday, keeping cleansheet in both games in the process. Manager Sean Dyche will be happy with his side’s defensive showing, but will want more from the attacking department now, especially with the return of forward Maxwel Cornet and new signing striker Wout Weghorst. They did not threaten the Hornets much in the game, and had only a couple of opportunities to score. Dyche will no doubt look at it as two points dropped against a relegation rival. They now face a much superior side in Manchester United, who have been in fine form under Rangnick in the league. However, they have are prone to a shock result, and Sean Dyche and his side will be hoping to spring a surprise or two on the visitors from Manchester.
Manchester United were left shocked over the weekend, after they lost their FA Cup fourth round tie against Championship club Middlesbrough. They were by far the more dominant team, and had just under 30 shots on target on the Boro goal. However, a lack of clinical finishing and some bewildering calls by the referee saw the game finish 1-1 after extra time. The game went to penalties, where youngster Anthony Elanga missed a penalty as the shootout ended 7-8 in favor of Boro. There were a few positives to take from the game for the Old Trafford faithful, with the team looking smooth in attack and transition, and also the return of midfield maestro Paul Pogba to the side. The Red Devils now turn their attention back to the league, and to the all-important race for a top 4 spot. United sit in 4th currently, having defeated West Ham United at home last time out, they will be looking for three points again on Tuesday night. Much has been made about the unsettled United dressing room, but manager Ralf Rangnick will want to put those qualms aside and focus on getting the crucial points. They face a team at the bottom of the table, on a ground they have had a lot of success at in recent times.
WHEN AND WHERE?
Date: Tuesday, 8th February 2022.
Time: 8.00 pm BST.
Venue: Turf Moor, Burnley.
Referee: Mike Dean.
Assistants: Ian Hussin, Eddie Smart.
Fourth official: Tony Harrington.
VAR: Stuart Attwell.
Assistant VAR: Dan Robathan.
Burnley will be without forward Matej Vydra and midfielder Johan Berg Gudmundsson on Tuesday night. There are doubts over the availability of Ashley Barnes and Charlie Taylor, but both look unlikely to make the matchday squad against Man United. However, the Clarets will welcome back midfielder Josh Brownhill, as he returns from his one-game suspension. It remains to see if Sean Dyche makes any changes to the XI he fielded against Watford on Saturday.
Manchester United’s defeat against Middlesbrough over the weekend saw the long-awaited return of French midfielder Paul Pogba. The 28-year-old played for the Red Devils for the very first time after suffering an injury on international duty back in November 2021. It remains to see if he will start again on Tuesday, after a positive showing against Boro. Brazilian duo of Fred and Alex Telles returned to United after their international exploits, but both tested positive for COVID-19, meaning they will miss out on the trip to Burnley and will have to isolate. The Red Devils are set to be without Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof with an ankle injury and an illness respectively. However, Edinson Cavani and Jesse Lingard have returned to the squad, providing a boost for the United attack.
CAN UNITED CONTINUE STRONG RECORD AT TURF MOOR?
United have a strong record there, having played at Turf Moor 7 times in the league, winning 5 games and only losing once. They have scored 8 goals, and have restricted the Clarets to a paltry one goal in 5 games, including keeping cleansheet in the last 6 games played at Turf Moor.
It will be a very tough ask for Burnley on Tuesday night, with United playing fluidly in the attack. Burnley’s defence has been weak, despite keeping as many clean sheets as United’s multi-million-pound defence. They have let in 27 goals in 23 games in the league, including conceding 3 against United at Old Trafford in the return fixture in December. For the Red Devils, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho are slowly hitting their forms, and playing at the level that the world knows they are capable of. The two wingers will look to wreak havoc upon the Burnley flanks, while Cristiano Ronaldo is always a threat from anywhere on the pitch.
However, United have shown their weakness against smaller teams this season, and there is no reason for the Clarets to believe they cannot walk away from the game with three much needed points. The likes of Newcastle, Watford, Norwich and Everton have given positive performances against the Red Devils, and have gone toe-to-toe with the English giants. Burnley are in the midst of a tough relegation battle, and they need to believe and put it all on the line if they want to have any hope of surviving yet another season in the top-flight of English football. Middlesbrough’s win against the Red Devils proved yet again that anything is possible in football, and Burnley will hope to take their chances against an unsettled United side.
Burnley’s summer signing has certainly hit the ground running and is enjoying life in the Premier League. The club’s record signing had a brilliant start to life at Turf Moor, scoring 3 goals in 4 appearances in the league. He has been a standout figure in the Burnley attack, and is the club’s top scorer with 6 goals in 11 appearances, playing just over 800 minutes. The Ivorian winger is a ray of sunshine in the gloom that Burnley are in right now, and is performances have been admirable for a player who was given very little time to settle into the rough and tough of the Premier League.
The Burnley attack has been boosted since the arrival of Dutch striker Wout Weghorst in January to replace Chris Wood, and Cornet will be happy with the signing of a tall and clinical striker. Weghorst is a huge menace in the box, and with Cornet’s ability to carry the ball forwards and cross perfectly, those two could form a great partnership and score a few goals that could help Burnley stay up.
Marcus Rashford came into the United side at a young age and since then has been a consistent goal scorer for the team. He has come up with goals in big moments and big games, and had his best seasons under former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The forward flourished under the Norwegian manager, putting up brilliant numbers in his 2-and-a-half seasons at Old Trafford. The Englishman missed the first few months of the 21/22 season with surgery, and has not looked his former self since his return. He is again slowly finding his feet under new manager Ralf Rangnick, and has scored in the last two league games for the Red Devils, including a crucial winner against West Ham United at Old Trafford. He had made the left-wing his own in the past two seasons, and the United faithful will hope he hits the same form again, with the team now in shortage of wingers. Against a defensively weak Burnley, Rashford will be looking to score a goal or two, at
BURNLEY XI: Nick Pope; Connor Roberts; James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Erik Pieters; Dwight McNeil, Ashley Westwood, Dale Stephens, Josh Brownhill; Maxwel Cornet, Wout Weghorst.
MANCHESTER UNITED XI: David de Gea; Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw; Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba; Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford; Cristiano Ronaldo.