Manchester United vs Burnley Preview

United have to wake up and beat Burnley

Manchester United host Burnley in their final game of 2021. A fixture United have always struggled in and one that has rarely seen them come out on top. The current mood of the team fails to help build confidence. Following an awful performance against Newcastle, Ralf Rangnick must make drastic changes to improve the performance level. Mistakes, shoddy passing, little to no chemistry. It was diabolical from top to bottom. Only thanks to De Gea and Cavani did United salvage a point at St James’ Park.

Now despite getting 7 points from 9, there is already a concern over United again. The team isn’t functioning how it should and looks both lathargic and toothless. Something needs changing and this match against Burnley can help that in many ways but Rangnick needs to be ruthless. Here’s all you need to know:

Match Information

Teams: Manchester United vs Burnley
Date: Thursday 30th December 2021
KO Time: 20:15GMT
Stadium: Old Trafford
Managers: Ralf Rangnick and Sean Dyche
Referee: Jon Moss

Team News:

6 ways Manchester United can replace Bruno Fernandes v Burnley
Manchester United will be without talisman Bruno Fernandes due to suspension (5 yellow cards).

Manchester United are without three with Paul Pogba still out with a thigh injury. Victor Lindelof is out with COVID and Eric Bailly has been flown back to Manchester to help with squad rotation before his departure to the AFCON. Bruno Fernandes has picked up five yellows and will sit out this match. Arguably this is a good thing as Bruno has struggled to adapt to this new system and maybe taking him out of the firing line would be best for him right now.

As for Burnley, Maxwell Cornet is fit and ready to feature but Ashely Barnes and Connor Roberts remain out.

Interesting Facts:

  • Burnley have more points at Old Trafford than they do at Turf Moor when facing United. Before this year, Burnley had not lost at Old Trafford since a 3-1 defeat in 2015 (W1 D3).
  • Manchester United have not kept a clean sheet at home to Burnley since a 0-0 draw in 2016 under Jose Mourinho. They have conceded seven in their last four home games against Burnley.
  • Manchester United will be without Bruno Fernandes for only the second time in the Premier League since his arrival. The last time United were without Fernandes for a league game at Old Trafford was a 0-2 defeat to…Burnley.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo has never faced Burnley having left United the summer before Burnley’s Premier League debut in September 2009 including a 1-0 win against United at Turf Moor.

Manchester United vs Burnley Predicted XI:

I think Rangnick will make a few changes. He has to. Fernandes will obviously not be available but I think he will change the fullbacks and forwards too. Shaw needs to come in as he is far more competent in the build-up and playing out of the press than Telles. If Wan-Bissaka played that many poor crosses as Dalot did against Newcastle there would be riots. He has to start too.

I think Rangnick needs to adapt the 4-2-2-2 to have a deeper striker along with the number 9. With Fernandes out, Donny van de Beek supplies a perfect option as one who can drop and press but also drift into space in the box as a striker would. Again, whether this happens or not is up in the air. It wholly relies on whether Rangnick drops Ronaldo.

Will Rangnick drop Ronaldo?

Cavani has to start along with Sancho and Greenwood for me but Ronaldo got little service and offered very little when not picked out. He could do with rotation whether he likes it or not and quite frankly a reality check wouldn’t go a miss too. He is one of the greatest players to have ever played this game and so has to be a leader and not an aggressor to the young players we have.

He needs to lead from the front and that means run, press, get in the box for chances and not loiter around the number 10 area and stifle the players trying to play there. At points it even seems he’s trying to offer an option for a player who is in a better position. I can see he makes lots of runs and isn’t found but isn’t it the trademark of a world class forward to keep making those runs and not give up? I think this is a game he can afford not to start and we’ll see where that leaves the team and performance.

Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; Greenwood, van de Beek, Sancho; Cavani

Predicted Score:

I don’t expect a lot based on the Newcastle performance and Cornet and McNeil could cause a lot of problems for United if they are not switched on but this Burnley side have been poor so far this season. They haven’t leaked goals and actually have conceded fewer than United but have not scored many and have drifted through games at times. I can see United reacting and winning but I can’t see this being a big win. I hope I’m wrong and United truly reignite.

United to win 1-0

Author: Arjun Handa

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