Jose Mourinho will be praying to avoid any further slip-ups and bumpers as they attempt to improve their league position after a mixed start to the season. They expect to have an easy win after a string of difficult matches and will have the chance to do that when they take on Burnley at Old Trafford.
The derby win in midweek, admittedly against a weakened Manchester City side, has made amends for Mourinho after their humiliating loss last weekend at the hands of Chelsea.
Manchester United are currently in the 7th place with 14 points in their opening 9 games. Burnley are in 14th position with just 10 points in their opening 9 games, but considering the teams they have played so far, Dyche would have taken such a start.
Burnley have been absolutely terrible at away games failing to get even a single point in their 3 games this season. However, United can ill-afford to take them lightly as they have beaten both the Merseyside clubs so far this season. Here are three battles United will have to win if they are to avoid a slip-up and pick up the three points.
Juan Mata vs Jeff Hendrick
The Spanish midfielder has proved how crucial he is to the United side after snatching the winning and only goal for United in their derby against City. Mourinho was heavily criticised for leaving him on the bench against Chelsea but he is not expected to repeat that mistake. Juan Mata has been a saving grace in what has been quite an erratic season for United.
Since Mata has joined United, he has been involved in the second most number of goals for United only after Wayne Rooney. Burnley will be well aware of the little man’s prowess to unlock the defence.
Jeff Hendrick has been a crucial figure in Burnley’s five man midfield and will be responsible for helping out with the defensive rigidity than attacking and he will be looking to stop Mata from working his magic. His work rate is immaculate when Burnley don’t have the ball and that’ll come to the fore once again
Zlatan Ibrahimović v Michael Keane
The towering forward has been so far unable to produce any quality move up front forcing many to believe he is not that strong. However, his brilliant use of physicality to provide space for his teammates was seen against City in the midweek. It is quite clear that he is not just a goal machine but someone who can bring the other attackers into play.
Keane will have the uphill task of covering the forward. Burnley don’t have the best of records in away games and Keane will be looking to change that this weekend. The former United man will have a point to prove of course as United let him ago in 2015. He has developed into a fine top flight defender under the tutelage of Dyche.
Sam Vokes v Daley Blind
Vokes has scored 3 goals for Burnley so far in 8 appearances and has shown moments of prowling on the ball and sending it to the back of the net out of nowhere quite often. United’s defence is weakened due to Eric Bailly’s injury and Vokes could hit the weak duo of Blind and Rojo to snatch a goal.
Even though Andre Gray is available, it’s likely that Vokes will start considering how well the 27-year old has done of late.