Believe it or not, but Manchester United haven’t beaten Burnley at Old Trafford in four attempts. Their last home victory over Sean Dyche’s side came all the way back in 2015 when Chris Smalling, of all people, scored a brace in a 3-1 win. Must be the red banners.
On that day, United’s attacking options consisted of Radamel Falcao, Robin van Persie, Adnan Januzaj, Angel di Maria and Wayne Rooney. In fact, only two men from that squad are still on the Glazers’ payroll: David de Gea and Phil Jones.
United’s attacking personnel has changed over the years and statistically, the current crop of players have done better than their predecessors. Solskjaer’s men have scored 61 times this season – the second-highest goal tally in the Premier League this season.
Burnley have struggled defensively in recent weeks and if they’re not careful, the likes of Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes will have a field day.
The Clarets will sit back and wait for an opportunity to utilise Chris Wood and Matej Vydra, most likely from set pieces. The question is, can they hold out defensively and give themselves a chance in what promises to be a tough evening at Old Trafford?
Key battle zone
It’s often said that Man United don’t tend to perform well against teams who sit back and invite pressure. But is that beginning to change?
In their last Premier League outing, Solskjaer’s men were forced to unlock a Tottenham side which for large parts of the second half sat deep in their own half. Nevertheless, United ended up finding a breakthrough and left north London with all three points.
We saw a similar scenario in their Europa League quarter-final first leg against Granada. The Spaniards were playing on their own turf but showed little attacking incentive. In spite of their defensive efforts, United came away with a convincing 2-0 win.
Burnley’s last visit to Old Trafford saw them use a similar strategy – only on that occasion, it proved successful as the Clarets famously claimed a 2-0 win.
That may not be enough this time round as United are in decent goalscoring form and have the tools necessary to unlock Burnley’s defence.
Keep an eye on… the scoreboard
Burley have conceded five goals in their last two outings. On its own, that stat may not sound so bad. However, when you see that their two opponents were Southampton and Newcastle, the alarm bells begin to ring.
Man United, on the other hand, have not experienced many problems in finding the back of the net. This is a side that hasn’t lost a Premier League game since January and they’re more than capable of taking advantage of Burnley’s defensive vulnerabilities.
One to watch… Bruno Fernandes
In his 70 games since joining Manchester United, Fernandes has played his part in 58 goals.
The Portuguese international scored 36 times and has 22 assists to his name. The midfielder has been a revelation for the Red Devils and is the driving force behind a lot of their recent successes.
If United are to unlock Burnley’s defence, Fernandes will undoubtedly play a major role. What’s more, if there’s a penalty to be taken, he’s the man to do it.
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