Verdict: Under 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 11/10
Fresh from the disappointing setback at King Power Stadium that acted as another blow to their title hopes, Manchester United face high-flying Burnley in what should be an exciting Boxing Day clash. The Clarets saw their impressive run of results come to an end last weekend, but they, nonetheless, head to Old Trafford in very good spirits.
Midway through the new league campaign, Manchester United may sit 13 points behind relentless Manchester City, but they are looking pretty in second place and boast an eight-point advantage over fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur. The Red Devils have had their share of problems this term, with key midfielder Paul Pogba missing no fewer than 10 games through injury and suspension, while the likes of Ibrahimovic, Bailly, Blind and Fellaini also missed some crucial fixtures. Taking everything into consideration, Jose Mourinho can be pretty happy with how his team have performed so far, but there is obviously room for improvement. The Red Devils looked to be heading towards a third straight league triumph as they came from a goal behind to take a lead at King Power Stadium, but some very poor defending saw them concede a last-gasp equaliser. The Portuguese manager will certainly demand a response from his players and make sure Man Utd remain ahead of Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal in the overall standings. The Red Devils managed to win three of last five meetings with Burnley, with the Clarets only scoring one goal in the process.
Michael Carrick, Antonio Valencia, Marouane Fellaini and Eric Bailly are definitely out, whereas Matteo Darmian and Chris Smalling will be assessed.
Burnley will spend the Christmas Day in 7th position in the Premier League standings, mere three points behind Champions League positions, which is a remarkable achievement for Sean Dyche’s side. The Clarets are just few points away from securing survival and can spend the remainder of the campaign playing without any pressure and attempt to achieve a top table finish. It was a serious of impressive defensive performances that played a key role in recent success, with Burnley winning remarkable 32 points by scoring mere 16 goals in 19 games. On the other hand, the Clarets boast fourth best defensive record in the league with 15 goals conceded and they will be hoping to keep things tight at the back for as long as possible. Burnley’s excellent run of results came to an end last weekend as they were trashed at home by Tottenham Hotspur, with Harry Kane bagging a hat-trick. Those were the first goals that the Clarets conceded after three Premier League matches, but having scored just twice in last five, they will have to improve in attack if they want to continue the good run of results.
Striker Chris Wood is rated doubtful after picking up a knock against Tottenham, while Stephen Ward, Robbie Brady and James Tarkowski miss out.
Key Factors to Consider
- Burnley scored two goals in last five matches
- The Clarets scored once in last five meetings with Man Utd (D2 L3)
- Burnley kept three clean sheets in last four
- Man Utd won nine of last ten home games in the league (D1)
- The Red Devils kept a clean sheet in eight of those matches
Manchester United have not been on top of their game of late as the busy schedule appears to be affecting their performances and they will not have an easy job breaking rock-solid Burnley. The Clarets, on the other hand, are struggling up front but remain solid at the back, so don’t expect to see too many goals at Old Trafford.
Verdict: Under 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 11/10
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