Match Preview: Burnley vs Manchester United
United have begun the new year in the best possible way, with three wins from three games in all competitions without conceding a goal.
The Reds will look to continue our perfect record in 2018 so far, when making the relatively short trip to East Lancashire to face Burnley. The Clarets have been the Premier League’s surprise package this season but have experienced a dip in form recently.
Although a tough test is still in prospect at Turf Moor, Jose Mourinho’s men head into the game on the back of Monday’s convincing 3-0 win over Stoke City and must be confident of recording a third successive league win while extending our unbeaten run in the top flight to eight games.
Is it on TV? Saturday’s game will kick-off at 15:00 GMT and will, therefore, not be broadcast live in the UK. However, subscribers to MUTV on Sky or Virgin Media, the club’s MUTV app or online at MUTV.com will be able to watch the build-up from 13:15 GMT on the Match Day show. You will also be able to listen to radio commentary of the game before watching it in full on Sunday at 18:00 GMT.
What’s the team news? Ashley Young could return after serving his three-match suspension but the boss confirmed in his pre-match press conference on Friday that Daley Blind is ruled out with a little injury sustained in training. United’s only other current absentees are captain Michael Carrick, defender Eric Bailly and striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Carrick is edging closer to a return to action after an extended absence following a heart problem, while Bailly and Ibrahimovic could be back training by the end of the month. Meanwhile, Burnley are without former Reds Tom Heaton and Robbie Brady, left-back Stephen Ward, forward Jon Walters and top scorer Chris Wood through injury but Scott Arfield could return after three games out with a hamstring injury. On-loan Tottenham forward Georges-Kevin N’Koudou could be in line for his first start after making his debut as a substitute against Crystal Palace last weekend.
How have Burnley been doing? After comfortably avoiding relegation in their first season back in the top flight last term, Burnley have enjoyed a remarkable campaign so far under Sean Dyche and are comfortably in the top half of the table. But despite boasting the third-best defensive record in the Premier League, the injury-hit Clarets have endured a poor run of form recently which has halted their momentum. The Lancashire side haven’t won in their last seven games since a 1-0 home victory over Stoke in mid-December, which briefly took them into the top four, and have lost all three of their matches in 2018 including a 1-0 reverse at a resurgent Crystal Palace last Saturday.
What happened in the previous meeting? United were frustrated but showed powers of recovery to come from two goals down and draw 2-2 with Burnley at Old Trafford on Boxing Day. Half-time substitute Jesse Lingard scored both goals, including a stoppage-time equaliser, after Ashley Barnes and Steven Defour had netted in the first half for the Clarets. The visitors’ performance showed they are dangerous, despite the fact they haven’t won in their last seven matches.
How is our record against them? We’ve previously met Burnley 125 times in all competitions, stretching back to 1892, winning on 59 occasions, but Saturday’s match will be only the eighth time we’ve locked horns with the Clarets in the Premier League. United have a strong record – winning three and drawing three, with the only defeat a 1-0 loss away from home in 2009 – while goals from Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial in a 2-0 win last April ensured our first Premier League victory at Turf Moor.
Strong at the back: United are yet to concede a goal in 2018 and have kept four clean sheets in a row. Ironically, Burnley were the last team to find the net against the Reds in the Boxing Day draw. Meanwhile, Monday’s shut-out against Stoke was David De Gea’s 13th in the Premier League this season – more than any other keeper – and the Spaniard hasn’t conceded on his previous two visits to Turf Moor.
Danger man: Paul Pogba put in another top performance during the comfortable victory over Stoke. A dominant and dynamic presence in midfield, the influential Frenchman has been named the club’s Man of the Match twice already in 2018 and has been our chief creator in recent weeks. Pogba set up the first-half goals for Antonio Valencia and Anthony Martial against the Potters, which took his tally of assists to nine in 13 Premier League games this season. He also has an impressive record of not being on the losing side for the Reds in 35 league games – since a defeat at Chelsea on 23 October 2016.
One to watch: An unsung hero, Johann Berg Gudmundsson has more than played his part in Burnley’s impressive season so far. A key member of the Iceland team which reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 and qualified for their first World Cup finals this summer, he creates lots of chances and has registered five assists in recent weeks. He also scored his second Burnley goal in their 2-1 home defeat by Liverpool on New Year’s Day and the United defence will have to keep a close eye on the former Charlton man.
Who’s the referee? Mike Dean will take charge of his third United game this season after handling our 4-0 home win over Crystal Palace in September and Carabao Cup quarter-final defeat at Bristol City. He will be assisted by Simon Long and Ian Hussin, with Mike Jones appointed as the fourth official.
Rivals Watch: As always, there’s an action-packed Premier League weekend in store, spread across three days. Here’s the full fixture list…
Saturday 20 January (15:00 GMT unless stated)
Brighton v Chelsea (12:30 GMT)
Arsenal v Crystal Palace
Burnley v Manchester United
Everton v West Bromwich Albion
Leicester City v Watford
Stoke City v Huddersfield Town
West Ham United v Bournemouth
Manchester City v Newcastle United (17:30 GMT)
Sunday 21 January
Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur (16:00 GMT)
Monday 22 January
Swansea City v Liverpool (20:00 GMT)`