Manchester United make the short journey north to Turf Moor to take on newly-promoted Burnley in a must-win Premier League showdown on Saturday evening.
Vincent Kompany’s side thought they were on the verge of posting their first victory on their Premier League return when Lyle Foster struck home to give them a late lead at Nottingham Forest on Monday.
However, they had to settle for a gut-wrenching 1-1 draw after VAR controversially disallowed the South African forward’s goal. The 23-year-old subsequently received his marching orders in stoppage time.
Frustration boiled over at the City Ground in the final moments, with Foster awarded a straight red for elbowing an opposition player, which will force him out of this contest.
Kompany can at least draw some confidence from arresting a dreadful three-game losing start to the new top-flight campaign, leading him to believe more points could be on the way.
Man United’s visit to Turf Moor looks ominous for the Clarets on paper, but the visitors have struggled at the beginning of what promised to be a more convincing season.
Erik ten Hag’s side slumped to a heartbreaking 3-1 defeat at Arsenal on the eve of the recent international break after seeing Alejandro Garnacho’s late goal disallowed for a narrow offside.
Unfortunately for the Red Devils, the psychological repercussions of that loss came back to bite United last weekend as high-flying Brighton & Hove Albion thumped them 3-1 at Old Trafford.
Having relinquished a jaw-dropping 31-game unbeaten streak on home soil, Man United took a midweek Champions League trip to Bayern Munich with low expectations.
Andre Onana had a shocker and United generally underperformed against Bayern but they kept the clash at Allianz Arena competitive, at least on the scoreboard if not in spirit.
Rasmus Hojlund’s first goal in the red jersey and Casemiro’s late brace proved insufficient for a point in Munich as Thomas Tuchel’s team eked out a dramatic 4-3 win.
Burnley’s hopes of getting into the win column for the first time in the 2023/24 Premier League campaign rest on their capacity to plug massive defensive holes.
Kompany’s side have been leaking goals at an alarming rate this term, conceding a league-high 12, including 11 at Turf Moor, where they’ve lost all three games via multi-goal margins.
Despite facing English big guns in that sequence, including Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, it takes nothing away from Burnley’s disastrous defensive showings.
Man United’s visit could deepen the crisis at Burnley, considering this fixture hasn’t been kind to them down the years, as evidenced by a dismal run of two draws and five defeats in their last seven home H2Hs.
Turf Moor has been a happy hunting ground for Man Utd mainly because of the Red Devils’ ability to fend off Burnley, resulting in six clean sheets on their last seven visits to Lancashire.
Against this backdrop, it’s been a while since United last gave the impression of being a formidable opponent on hostile turf, with Ten Hag’s lads losing all three competitive away matches this term.
The Dutchman’s backline, crippled by the absences of Raphael Varane and Luke Shaw, conceded multiple goals in each of those three outings.
Burnley’s troubled start could be an ideal opportunity for Ten Hag to address his side’s travel sickness and put three points on the board after becoming the first Man Utd manager to lose four of the opening six season fixtures since 1986/87.
In addition to Foster, Burnley will be without Darko Churlinov, Hjalmar Ekdal and Michael Obafemi.
Varane and Shaw have plenty of company in United’s treatment room, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Mason Mount and Sofyan Amrabat all dealing with injuries.
Jadon Sancho is not in contention for the matchday squad after having a fallout with Ten Hag. Neither is Antony, who’s facing criminal charges in his homeland.
Burnley potential starting line-up:
(4-2-3-1): James Trafford; Charlie Taylor, Jordan Beyer, Ameen Al-Dakhil, Connor Roberts; Josh Brownhill, Josh Cullen; Johan Gudmundsson, Luca Koleosho, Mike Tresor; Zeki Amdouni.
Manchester United potential starting line-up:
(4-2-3-1): Andre Onana; Diogo Dalot, Lisandro Martinez, Victor Linedelof, Sergio Reguilon; Casemiro, Christian Eriksen; Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Alejandro Garnacho; Rasmus Hojlund.
We Say: Burnley 0-1 Manchester United
Ron Atkinson was the last Man Utd boss to suffer four defeats in the first six games of a new campaign, and Sir Alex Ferguson replaced him. Ten Hag will undoubtedly be feeling the heat.
United’s underwhelming results on the road are long-standing, as they’ve lost 18 of their last 35 away matches across all competitions, which cannot inspire much confidence.
But the Red Devils have won their last five away encounters against newly-promoted clubs, and we expect them to maintain that trend on Saturday.
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