Manchester United’s final Premier League fixture of 2021 pits them against 18th-placed Burnley at Old Trafford on Thursday.
Ralf Rangnick’s side held relegation-battling Newcastle United to a 1-1 draw in their Monday’s league encounter at St James’ Park despite yet another underwhelming performance.
Second-half substitute Edinson Cavani cancelled out Allan Saint-Maximin’s first-half opener to save the day for the Red Devils and maintain Rangnick’s unbeaten start on the touchline.
The German manager has won two of his four competitive matches in charge since replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer earlier in December while drawing the other two.
However, Rangnick spurned a golden opportunity to become the first Man United boss to keep a clean sheet in his first three Premier League matches at the helm on Monday.
Under the ex-RB Leipzig strategist’s stewardship, the three-time European champions defeated Crystal Palace and Norwich City by 1-0 before slumping to a draw at Newcastle last time out.
Solskjaer’s successor will be keen to improve his side’s scoring output after the Red Devils failed to score more than once in all three league games under his tutelage.
Burnley’s visit to Old Trafford certainly looks like a perfect place to start, but before jumping the gun, let’s have a look at the Clarets’ recent showings.
Burnley’s defence deserves the benefit of the doubt
Despite languishing in the drop zone ahead of the kick-off, Sean Dyche’s men have proved hard to crack this season.
Burnley have conceded just 21 goals from 15 Premier League fixtures this term, four fewer than seventh-placed Man United.
Coming into this matchday, the Clarets have kept two clean sheets in their last three league outings (D2, L1), with a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle in early December the solitary exception in this run.
The Clarets cannot catch a break away from home
Though we are already halfway through the season, Burnley are still waiting for their first Premier League win on hostile turf.
Dyche’s players have lost four of their eight league away games this term, drawing the other four as they head into proceedings as one of just two Premier League sides yet to pick up all three points on the road.
Much of the blame for the Clarets’ rather frustrating away record goes to a toothless attack that has averaged a mere 0.75 goals per top-flight trip this season.
Home and away, only rock-bottom Norwich (eight) have netted fewer Premier League goals than Burnley (14) in 2021/22.
The visitors have found the net just once in their three league visits to the current top-seven sides this term, highlighting the absence of scoring prowess.
Manchester United vs Burnley Head-to-Head
Mason Greenwood’s brace and Cavani’s stoppage-time strike fired Man United to a comfortable 3-1 win in their most recent Premier League meeting with Burnley back in April.
The Red Devils registered their first-ever Premier League double over the Clarets last season, having won the reverse fixture 1-0 at Turf Moor back in January.
United have only lost one of their last 13 league matches against Burnley (W8, D4), courtesy of a 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford in January 2020.
But before the aforementioned 3-1 victory earlier this year, Rangnick’s side went four consecutive top-flight home H2Hs without winning (D3, L1).
That should be enough of a warning for Man United not to take Burnley lightly here.
Manchester United Preview
A narrow 1-0 win over Palace on Rangnick’s touchline debut at Old Trafford marked Man United’s first Premier League clean sheet at home in 13 matches.
Before that victory, the Red Devils conceded an alarming 22 goals across their previous 12 top-flight outings at the Theatre of Dreams.
On the bright side, they have scored in their last two Premier League home outings (W2) after drawing a blank in back-to-back league fixtures at Old Trafford beforehand (L2).
Cristiano Ronaldo, who has bagged two of Man United’s last four Premier League goals at home, will be seeking his first goal from open play in three weeks.
Barring his match-winning penalty at Norwich, the 36-year-old forward has failed to hit the net from open play since putting two goals past Arsenal on December 2.
Manchester United vs Burnley Predicted Line-ups
Manchester United (4-2-2-2): David de Gea; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw; Scott McTominay, Fred; Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford; Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani.
Burnley (4-4-2): Nick Pope; Matthew Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor; Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil; Jay Rodriguez, Chris Wood.
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