Manchester United’s draw against Newcastle just two days ago was riddled with talking points, and none of them were good for the Red Devils.
While Ralf Rangnick’s team was rotten in front of the net against a defensively disorganized Magpies team, actual football was only half of the post-match discussion. Instead, the focus was on the body language and mental state of Manchester United players, who constantly complained to the referee and their teammates, expressing widespread frustration as the match progressed.
With another shot at a lower-level Premier League side in Burnley (18th, 11 points), can Manchester United (7th, 28 points) produce a correct performance, or will the struggles continue and the frustration continue to grow? This game is critical to ending any discussion of Rangnick’s control of the team as interim coach.
MORE: Why Man United struggled against Newcastle
However, there is another team playing in the game, and Burnley will see an injured animal and look to capitalize. But three consecutive postponements due to COVID-19 could leave the Clarets incredibly rusty, as their opponents experienced in Newcastle. Burnley has not played since a 0-0 draw against West Ham on December 12, and the games against Watford, Aston Villa and Everton required a make-up.
Burnley has also seen three games come and go without a single goal scored. Sean Dyche’s team has not scored since a 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace on November 20. Forward Jay Rodriguez is on a losing streak and overall, Burnley has scored just 14 goals in 15 games, the second-worst streak. in the league ahead of just eight for Norwich City.
How to watch Manchester United against Burnley
- Date: Thursday December 30
- Hour: 3:15 pm ET
- Television channel: NBCSN
- Spanish television: Universe
- Transmission: fuboTV, NBCSports.com (authenticated users)
Thursday afternoon’s game between Manchester United and Old Trafford’s Burnley will be broadcast on NBCSN (English) and Universo (Spanish) in the United States.
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Man United vs. Burnley Projected Lineups
Paul Pogba is still out of Manchester United with a thigh problem, but overall the Red Devils are still pretty healthy.
Victor Lindelof tested positive for COVID-19 before the Newcastle game and remains out, while Bruno Fernandes takes his seat due to accumulation of yellow cards. A game away could do the Portuguese attacker good. You could also see an opening for Donny van de Beek, who has seen precious minutes since arriving at Old Trafford. But it remains a question whether he fits into Rangnick’s 4-4-2 system, which includes two holding midfielders and no number 10s.
Ralf Rangnick could also shake up the attack, as the team looked much more incisive with Edinson Cavani and Jadon Sancho off the bench against Newcastle. Could you see openings for Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford, who fought mightily? Luke Shaw is also hoping to return to the starting lineup, but Alex Telles currently has a strangulation at the left-back spot.
Man United Projected Starting Lineup (4-4-2): De Gea (GK) – Telles, Maguire, Varane, Dalot – Sancho, McTominay, Fred, Rashford – Ronaldo, Cavani.
Burnley’s disabled list is relieved by the long break from COVID-19, with Maxwel Cornet on the mend and able to return. Ashley Barnes and Connor Roberts still have long-term problems, the Claret’s only known absences in this game. Dale Stephens likely recovered from his fight with COVID-19 in time to be available.
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The biggest question for Burnley boss Sean Dyche is what to do with Jay Rodriguez. The former Southampton player has been a bench option for most of the season, getting just two starts, including the last time against West Ham. But it remains unmarked this season. It’s clear that regular minutes will continue to help him, but with Cornet seen as “a judgment call,” it is also possible that Rodriguez will rejoin the substitutes.
Burnley’s Projected Starting Lineup (4-4-2 Diamonds): Pope (GK) – Taylor, Mee, Collins, Lowton – McNeil, Westwood, Cork, Gudmundsson – Wood, Cornet.
Man United vs. Burnley Betting Selection and Prediction
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Yes, it is probably fashionable right now to bet against Manchester United. But it is also true that Burnley is a candidate for relegation. On the other hand, that was also the case with Newcastle, but Man United still couldn’t handle the Magpies. Joelinton’s command of the Red Devils midfield was an indicator of the great task Rangnick faces, and two days won’t solve all the problems.
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On the other hand, Burnley could suffer many of the same problems that plagued Manchester United against Newcastle after their own long COVID-induced break. The lack of rhythm won’t help an already sputtering Burnley attack.
In 12 career games against Manchester United, Burnley manager Sean Dyche has found results, winning one in January 2020 and taking another four draws. Still, Burnley’s generally robust defense has been breached 18 times in those 12 games against the Red Devils, including 10 times in six games at Old Trafford. Burnley is hardly a ghost side for United.
Normally, given all this conflicting information, it would be advisable to stay away from this game entirely. However, if you intend to make a selection, taking the bass could be the best strategy for a match between two teams that are far from convincing.
To choose: Under 2.5 goals (+120)
Prediction: Manchester United 1-0 Burnley
- Money line: Man United -270 / Draw +400 / Burnley +850
- Spread: Man United -1.5 (+110) / Burnley +1.5 (-120)
- O / U 2.5 total goals: Over -145 / Under +120
- Both teams will score: Yes -105 / No -125
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.