Manchester United vs Burnley Preview

Manchester United take on newly-promoted Burnley on Saturday.
Man United will look to return to winning ways when they host Burnley at Old Trafford on Saturday.
English Premier League | Saturday 29 October | Old Trafford | 16:00

Manchester United will look to get their season back on track when they host Burnley at Old Trafford on Saturday. Jose Mourinho’s side come into this fixture off a much-needed 1-0 victory over arch-rivals Manchester City in the EFL Cup in midweek. Prior to that, United suffered a 4-0 thrashing at Chelsea – their worst defeat of the season. Meanwhile, Burnley are coming off a 2-1 win at home to Everton and Sean Dyche’s side will fancy their chances. United are firm favourites but the Clarets will look to upset the applecart, just like they did in victories over Liverpool and Everton.


To Win
Man United 2/11
Draw 11/2
Burnley 16/1

Manchester United

Jose Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge was a miserable one as the Portuguese was handed his heaviest Premier League defeat by his former side. Poor concentration saw Chelsea take the lead in the first minute through Pedro, with a lack of communication between Chris Smalling and goalkeeper David de Gea. United’s heads dropped and they struggled to get back into the game and goals from Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard and a first for N’Golo Kante sealed Chelsea a 4-0 win. 

That defeat left them winless in their last three Premier League games and Mourinho’s side will be desperate to return to winning ways. The Red Devils are on 14 points, six points adrift of Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool, who are all tied on 20 points at the top of the table with Pep Guardiola’s side leading the way on goal difference. 

United have looked a lot more like themselves at home, having lost just once at Old Trafford – 2-1 against Manchester City – beating Southampton 2-0 and Leicester City 4-1, before drawing 1-1 against Stoke. Their home record against Burnley bodes well – unbeaten in their last 12 meetings with eight wins, including three on the spin. United will be targeting their fifth win of the season and they’ll need their players to pull up their socks. 

Eric Bailly is ruled out for two months with a knee injury, so Smalling and Daley Blind are likely to partner each other at the heart of United’s defence. With Blind playing in a more central position, fit-again Luke Shaw will come in at left-back. In midfield, Mourinho must decide whether to continue with the partnership of Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera or bring in the experienced Michael Carrick, who captained United in the Manchester Derby win. 

Paul Pogba needs to step up and prove his worth by creating more goalscoring opportunities as well as shielding the defence. The Frenchman has the ability to create something out of nothing and few defences can live with him when he’s in the mood. Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been struggling in front of goal, having gone five games without finding the net. He is long overdue.



Burnley

Burnley come into this match off a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Everton at Turf Moor thanks to a last-minute winner from Scott Arfield. Sam Vokes put the Clarets in front in the 39th minute, which took his tally to three league goals. The visitors drew level through Yannick Bolasie, who snatched the ball off Romelu Lukaku’s feet and finished into the bottom left corner. The sides looked set to share the spoils, but the Clarets were persistent in finding a winner. In stoppage time, Johann Berg Gudmundsson struck the crossbar and Arfield finished off the rebound with a fine effort. 

That was Burnley’s third win of the season which leaves them on 10 points after nine games – hovering just above the drop zone in 14th place. All 10 points have come in their home fixtures with Sean Dyche’s side losing all three away games against Chelsea, Leicester City and Southampton, conceding three goals in each match. Burnley will be looking to emulate their 1-0 victory over United in the 2009/10 season, but it will have to be their best performance of the season. 

Tom Heaton has been superb between the sticks, while defender Michael Keane, Manchester United youth product, looks a top talent with some of the big teams – Chelsea in particular – reportedly watching his development. Dyche will be sweating on the fitness of midfielder Steven Defour who remains a doubt due to a hamstring problem. The Belgian has been key for the Clarets, recording three assists while scoring once in seven appearances. Up front, Vokes will be the focal point in attack and will look to capitalize on United’s defensive frailties. 

Probable line-ups:

Manchester United: 4-2-3-1
De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Blind, Shaw; Carrick, Herrera; Rashford, Pogba, Mata; Ibrahimovic. 

Burnley: 4-2-3-1
Heaton; Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward; Hendrick, Marney; Kightly, Arfield, Gudmundsson; Vokes.


Prediction: Man United Win + BTTS (16/10)
After beating rivals Manchester City in midweek, United will be in good spirits and will look to put Burnley to the sword. Burnley have struggled on their travels and Mourinho’s side are tipped to bounce back strongly. That said, there’s very little value on the straight home win, so I’ll recommend backing United to Win + Both Teams To Score at 16/10.