Manchester United’s Christmas season has been more frustrating than festive and the Red Devils have another chance to change things when they host Burnley at Old Trafford on Thursday.
United (7. Close and unconvincing 1-0 wins against Crystal Palace and Norwich City were followed by two COVID-19 postponements of the games against Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion.
The latest slip, a 1-1 draw against Newcastle on Monday, in which the fighting Magpies were unlucky to score all three points, puts interim manager Ralf Rangnick in a delicate position after following the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer . A convincing win over Burnley would go a long way towards ushering in 2022 on a grand note and alleviating negative press.
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Burnley (18th place, 11 pts) meanwhile desperately needs a positive result and the Clarets will smell blood in the water. Seeing relegation-threatened Newcastle put in a positive performance against the Red Devils will no doubt shake up a Burnley squad in need of momentum.
As with United, Burnley’s vacation schedule has been shattered by COVID-19 postponements, with three games being postponed meaning it has not played a game since the December 12 0-0 draw with West Ham on two stoppages, so Burnley’s plan for almost three weeks without a game could make the attack flow for the guests problematic. That for a club that has not scored a goal in three games in a row and Burnley is desperately looking for a sign of life.
Sporting News will follow the game live and provide the latest scores, comments and highlights.
Man United v Burnley live ticker
(All times east)
2:31 p.m. ET: Manchester United are hoping to have history on their side tonight against Burnley.
9 – Manchester United have been unbeaten in their last league game in each of the last nine calendar years since losing 3-2 to Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford in 2011 (S6, D3). Memories. pic.twitter.com/yyY8HwICmG
– OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 30, 2021
2:15 p.m. ET: The line-ups are in. There are a host of surprises for Man United as Ralf Rangnick tries to change things. He changes both full-backs and brings in Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw, while Raphael Varane sits in the middle for Eric Bailly. Fred switches to the bench for Nemanja Matic, while Mason Greenwood moves into the distance against Jadon Sancho. Edinson Cavani starts alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. That’s about as many changes as you will see from one league game to another at Manchester United. Rangnick is not happy.
For Burnley, Wayne Hennessey comes in as goalkeeper for Nick Pope while Aaron Lennon is on the line-up, not Maxwel Cornet, who was expected to return but didn’t.
1:56 p.m. ET: The weather will be a factor today. It is currently raining in Manchester.
1:20 p.m. ET: This is the kind of shame Manchester United have endured since the Newcastle game, with all the talk of negative body language and speculation that the players don’t take Ralf Rangnick’s late training sessions well. We’ll see if it triggers a response.
BREAKING: Manchester United’s game against Burnley was canceled as Rangnick’s side refused to go out after 5pm. pic.twitter.com/2QkZLpKTrx
– Sky Sports News 🅙 (@SkysSportNewsHQ) December 30, 2021
Man United line-up against Burnley
Paul Pogba is absent for Manchester United with thigh problems, but overall the Red Devils are still quite healthy.
Victor Lindelof tested positive for COVID-19 before the game in Newcastle and will not appear during Bruno Fernandes takes place for the collection of the yellow card. An away game could do the Portuguese striker well. Even when Fernandes is outside Donny van de Beekonly makes the bench, still does not fit into Rangnick’s 4-4-2 system with two holding midfielders and no 10.
Rangnick has rung a whopping six changes in the starting XI that stuttered against Newcastle. Nemanja Matic comes from the bank to replace Fred in midfield while Edinson Cavani is rewarded with a start next door for his goal against Newcastle Cristiano Ronaldo. Rangnick changed both full-backs there Luke Shawand Aaron Wan-Bissaka stopped by for Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles , and Eric Bailly acts as central defender and replaces Raphael Varane.
Man United starting grid (4-4-2): De Gea (GK) – Shaw, Maguire, Bailly, Wan-Bissaka – Sancho, McTominay, Matic, Greenwood – Ronaldo, Cavani.
Man United Submarines (9): Henderson (GK), Telles, Dalot, Varane, Fred, Lingard, van de Beek, Elanga, Rashford.
Burnley’s injury list was believed to have been eased by the long COVID-19 layoff, however Maxwel Cornet still doesn’t make it to the squad despite the belief that he would return. Ashley Barnes and Connor Roberts Both still have long-term problems, the only known absences for the Clarets in this game. Dale Stephens will likely have shaken off his battle with COVID-19 in time to be available and he makes it to the bank.
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The biggest question for Burnley boss Sean Dyche was what to do with it Jay Rodriguez , and he misses everything. The former Southampton man was a benching option for most of the season, winning just two starts, including the last time against West Ham. But he’s still without a goal this season. It’s clear that regular minutes would continue to help him, but even if Cornet is still out, he won’t even make it into the day’s squad. Instead of this, Aaron Lennon sees the beginningChris Wood the lonely striker at the top.
Burnley starting grid (4-5-1 diamond):Hennessey (GK) – Taylor, Mee, Tarkowski, Lowton – McNeil, Westwood, Cork, Gudmundsson, Lennon – Wood.
Burnley Submarines (9):Norris, Collins, Bardsley, Pieters, Stephens, Thomas, Vydra.
How to watch Man United versus Burnley
- Date:Thursday December 30th
- Time:3:15 p.m. ET
- TV channel:NBCSN
- Spanish speaking television:Universo
- Stream:fuboTV, NBCSports.com (authenticated subscribers)
The Manchester United v Burnley matchup will be broadcast on NBCSN (English) and Universo (Spanish) and both channels will be streamed on fuboTV, with new users receiving a free 7-day trial.
The game will also be streamed on NBCSports.com for authenticated subscribers from cable, satellite or telecommunications packages.
Man United Burnley Bet Selection and Prediction
Quotas courtesy of DraftKings
Both teams have been inconsistent so far this season and it’s hard to say which version of either team we’ll get, especially given the layoffs they have suffered lately. Because of this, this would normally be an away game.
What is certain is that Burnley will think defense first and then hope to score at the other end at Old Trafford. That tactic didn’t work that well for Burnley manager Sean Dyche in 12 career games against Man United. The Red Devils have scored 18 times in these games, including 10 in six games at Old Trafford. Despite avoiding embarrassing, one-sided results, the Burnley defense is still regularly breached by United.
For those who have to decide to play this game, losing may be the best strategy as both sides continue to work towards better form.
Choose:Under 2.5 goals (+125)
Forecast:Manchester United 1-0 Burnley
- Money line:Man United -275 / Tie +425 / Burnley +750
- Spread:Man United -1.5 (+110) / Burnley +1.5 (-125)
- O / U 2.5 total goals:Over -155 / Under +125
- Both teams meet:Yes -105 / No -120