Manchester United presented huge chance to go three points clear at top though face tough Burnley
Manchester United to win 2-1
After winning eight of the last 10 matches, Manchester United pulled themselves level with Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table, the first time they had done so at this stage of the season since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
Despite a disappointing defeat to City in the League Cup semi-final last week, United’s form remains excellent and they capped off a strong start to the year with a 1-0 win against Watford in the FA Cup over the weekend.
They have found a way of starting well in matches, having previously needed to come from behind to win the majority of their matches.
Burnley themselves are in a good run of form – having spent the majority of the early part of the season in the bottom three, the Clarets have now put a respectable run of form together and now sit five points clear of the drop.
This should be an entertaining game of football with plenty at stake.
Form Guide (all comps): DWLWW
Reasons to be cheerful:
16th is their highest league position since opening weekend
Three wins out of four in all competitions represents good form
Reasons to be fearful:
Their opponents are winning games for fun right now
Nine goals scored from 15 matches is a poor return
Burnley secured their place in the 4th round of the FA Cup, being one of three teams requiring penalties to go through.
This takes their unbeaten run of form to just one defeat from their last seven matches, with three wins coming from the last four. Sean Dyche will be mighty pleased with how they’ve turned their season around having not won a league match in any of their first eight attempts.
He will know that his side must score more goals, however, especially against a side like United who score plenty themselves. Just nine in the league is a poor showing and it is only their solid defence which has seen their position improve.
Nevertheless, there is less pressure on Burnley right now and they’ll feel they can go and have a real go at United in this one.
Star Man – Ben Mee
Their centre back captain has been crucial to their improvement, and will need to keep up his good run of form against United’s attackers.
Form Guide (all comps): DWWLW
Reasons to be cheerful
• 10 league matches without defeat has seen them rise to top
• Incentive to go three points clear of Liverpool is huge
Reasons to be fearful
• Still need to improve against teams who sit back
• Several injuries to contend with
Manchester United were workmanlike rather than spectacular in their FA Cup win over Watford. They scored early and defended well from there.
They will be disappointed to have lost against Man City in the League Cup semi-final last week, but know that there will be other opportunities ahead, especially if they continue to play like they have recently.
In their fantastic run of form, they have become the league’s second top scorers, with 33, just four behind Liverpool.
They’ll need to be at their attacking best against Burnley, however. The Clarets are a side who will sit back and absorb pressure, something which United have not always found a way to deal with.
They also face being without the likes of Pogba, Shaw, Bailly and Lindelof, who all face late fitness tests.
Star Man – Bruno Fernandes
United’s best, and most influential, player was given a rare rest against Watford. The creative midfield should be ready to go here.
United will dominate possession
Likely to be two or more goals in the match
Cavani could return up front for United
United, despite having a few injury concerns, could be boosted by the return of Cavani after suspension.
He gives them a different quality up front, something which they could use as Burnley are likely to sit deep and restrict United’s chances.
Burnley will have an opportunity or two themselves, but with the form United are in, the Red Devils are favourites to move three points clear at the top.
Manchester United to win 2-1