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Preview: Manchester United vs. Burnley - prediction, team news, lineups
30/12/2021 15:36:26

Manchester United will be looking to return to winning ways in the Premier League when they welcome Burnley to Old Trafford on Thursday night.


The Red Devils played out a 1-1 draw with struggling Newcastle United in the league on Monday night, but Burnley have not been in action since drawing 0-0 with West Ham United on December 12.


We say: Manchester United 2-0 Burnley


Man United's poor performance against Newcastle could work against Burnley here, as the Red Devils will be desperate to return to winning ways. The visitors have had a long time to prepare for this match, but that could end up being a disadvantage, and we are expecting Rangnick's side to pick up all three points.


Match preview


Man United were back in action on Monday evening against Newcastle, having seen their previous two games against Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak in the camp.


The 20-time English champions were going in search of a fourth straight Premier League victory against the Magpies but were forced to settle for a point in an underwhelming performance, as Edinson Cavani cancelled out an opener from Allan Saint-Maximin in a 1-1 draw at St James' Park.


Man United have now picked up seven points from their three league matches under interim boss Ralf Rangnick, but the German was critical of his team's performance on Monday, and the Red Devils now face back-to-back home fixtures against Burnley and Wolverhampton Wanderers either side of the new year.


The hosts are currently seventh in the table, seven points behind fourth-placed Arsenal but with two games in hand on the Gunners, while they are two points behind sixth-placed Tottenham Hotspur on the same number of fixtures after Antonio Conte's side were held at Southampton on Tuesday.


Man United have won their last two league games against Burnley, including a 3-1 success at Old Trafford last term, but the Clarets recorded a 2-0 victory in Manchester during the 2019-20 campaign.


The Red Devils were able to blow away the cobwebs on Monday, but Burnley have not been in action since drawing 0-0 with West Ham on December 12, as their last three matches against Watford, Aston Villa and Everton have all been postponed due to COVID-19 outbreaks.


As a result, the 18th-placed Clarets are in the incredible position of having four games in hand on both 19th-placed Newcastle and 20th-placed Norwich City, while they are only two points behind 17th-placed Watford and have two games in hand on the Hornets.


Burnley have only won one of their 15 Premier League matches this season, but they have been beaten on just six occasions, which is the same as top-four challengers Arsenal and West Ham and only one more than Man United, who have suffered five league defeats this term.


Sean Dyche's side have back-to-back away games against Man United and Leeds United either side of the new year before facing Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup on January 8.


Burnley have only ever won once at Old Trafford in the Premier League, but they will hope to use their unplanned mid-season break as an advantage, with the Red Devils struggling for long stages against Newcastle on Monday.


Team News


Man United will again be without the services of Paul Pogba due to a thigh problem, while Victor Lindelof is absent, having recently tested positive for coronavirus.


Bruno Fernandes will also miss out here, with the Portugal international picking up his fifth yellow card of the campaign against Newcastle, which could open the door for Donny van de Beek to feature.


Jadon Sancho and Cavani both impressed off the bench against Newcastle and could now earn starts, with Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford potentially dropping to the bench.


Nemanja Matic and Luke Shaw are also in contention, but Rangnick is expected to resist the temptation to change his midfield two or defensive unit for Thursday's contest.


As for Burnley, Ashley Barnes and Connor Roberts remain unavailable for selection, but the break has allowed the Clarets to recover Maxwel Cornet from injury, and the Ivorian should be in the starting side.


There are not expected to be any surprises in the away side's XI, with Chris Wood joining Cornet in attack, while Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Dwight McNeil will play in the wide areas.


Dyche must decide between Jack Cork and Josh Brownhill to play alongside Ashley Westwood in midfield, and the latter is just expected to get the nod at Old Trafford.


Manchester United possible starting lineup:

De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Telles; Fred, McTominay; Sancho, Van de Beek; Ronaldo, Cavani


Burnley possible starting lineup:

Pope; Lowton, Mee, Tarkowski, Taylor; Gudmundsson, Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil; Cornet, Wood

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