Renewed confidence has come the way of United this week and seems to have slightly revitalised the fan base as they travel to face Burnley who caused an upset on Boxing Day just 25 days ago.
Two contrasting bosses meet in two contrasting runs of form as José Mourinho is looking forward and Sean Dyche looking back to try to rediscover last year’s unprecedented form.
It should be far from a simple game on a rare Saturday regular kick-off time for the visitors.
Kick-off: 15:00 (GMT)
Location: Turf Moor
Referee: Mike Dean
Current run: LLDDL
Top scorer: Chris Wood (4)
Top assists: Johann Berg Gudmondsson (5)
One to watch: Steven Defour
Injuries/suspensions (estimated return date)
- Robbie Brady; knee (5 months)
- Tom Heaton; shoulder (day to day)
- Jonathan Walters; knee (unknown)
- Stephen Ward; knee (day to day)
- Chris Wood; knee (day to day)
The always entertaining Sean Dyche told the press this week that he doesn’t “eat worms” or have “gravel for breakfast” but despite those interesting quotes, he likely still remains the “proudest man in ‘Proudsville'” as he reaches this 100th Premier League match milestone.
Stopper Nick Pope has shown quality for weeks on end replacing the injured ex-United goalkeeper Tom Heaton between the sticks and will want to prove himself even more in order to keep his spot when his colleague returns.
The injury to Stephen Ward at left back hasn’t helped the team at all as the back line has suffered conceding 12 goals in 7 games since his absence.
Scott Arfield should be fit to return to the squad following a small hamstring injury.
Jonathan Walters has this week undergone knee surgery and will miss possibly the rest of the season.
Industrious and disciplined.
A strong core of five midfielders means the lone forward there is protection is there for a depleted back line despite great defensive stats – especially at home – for the first half of the season in which they shining.
The set-pieces of Steven Defour (which United know all too well) could cause problems as well as Jeff Hendrik and Gudmondsson’s ability to get goals from the middle of the park also helps but their contributions have dried up lately.
Playing as a target man up front, Sam Vokes has a lot to deal with and will have an extremely tough task on paper in this one as fellow big striker Chris Wood remains injured.
The Red Devils
A first League defeat of the season for Manchester City last weekend gave United new-found hope of challenging for the title.
Only one name as regards to transfers has been in the limelight this week; and that’s Alexis Sánchez. It seems United have won the race over City and possibly Chelsea for the Arsenal man, in what looks like a straight swap deal of the Chilean and Henrik Mkhitaryan who incidentally praised possible new manager Arsene Wenger earlier in his career.
Injuries/suspensions (estimated return)
- Eric Bailly; ankle (1 month)
- Daley Blind; knock (day to day)
- Zlatan Ibrahimović (2 weeks)
It’s unknown as to whether Sergio Romero will be in the squad due to his absence from the warm weather training camp and Monday’s match.
Both full backs Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw earned public praise from Mourinho in midweek so they should start.
Ashley Young might not regain his place after completing his suspension.
Mkhitaryan will not be in the squad due to his involvement in the potential transfer.
The regular front four of consisting of Jesse Lingard, Romelu Lukaku, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial are set to start once again.
Last 5 meetings: DWDWD
Reverse fixture: 2-2
- Burnley have won just 1 of their last 24 games against United
- United were 12 points behind Newcastle 20 years ago to the day at the top of the league and are now 12 points behind City
- Burnley are on the 2nd longest winless run of all teams in the Premier League and haven’t lost 3 home games in a row since 2010 when they lost 4 on the bounce
- United boast their own record of scoring at least 2 goals in their 5 away games and if they do it again this time out, they’d equal their record in 2013 of 6 away games
- Paul Pogba is the Premier League’s top assist maker with 9 (an average of 1 every 126 minutes – the best ratio in Europe’s top 5 leagues)
- Robbie Blake’s powerhouse of a strike in 2010 early in the season was the last time a goal was scored by Burnley against United at Turf Moor
- Mike Dean refereed the reverse of this fixture last season in which United had a record 38 shots on goal (and drew 0-0) but Ander Herrera was sent off for two dubious yellow cards.
Enjoy the match!