Burnley welcome Manchester United to Turf Moor on Tuesday night for a Premier League match-up. Mark O'Haire shares his favourite fancy.
"The Red Devils have dropped just four points in their last 10 Premier League outings (W8-D2-L0) to head all the respective form tables, and could move three points clear at the summit with another victory here"
Burnley v Manchester United
Tuesday January 12, 20:15
Burnley progress via pens
Burnley were seconds away from a shock FA Cup third-round defeat by MK Dons before debutant keeper Will Norris inspired a penalty shootout win. The League One visitors were heading for victory with Cameron Jerome's first-half header against the run of play appearing to be enough but Matej Vydra equalised with almost the last kick of the game.
After extra-time, Norris saved two Dons penalties in the shootout and Phil Bardsley scored the decisive spot-kick to send the Clarets through. Burnley boss Sean Dyche had named an experienced side including several of his key players in the club's first outing in a new era under American businessman Alan Pace, although Norris was given his chance to impress.
Having qualified for the fourth round for the fifth time in the past six seasons, attention now turns back to the Premier League as the Clarets look to pull further clear of the drop-zone. Dwight McNeil, Charlie Taylor and Jay Rodriguez are expected to be back in the squad with Jimmy Dunne likely to be the only player absent from Dyche's squad on Tuesday night.
United fail to impress against Watford
Stand-in skipper Scott McTominay scored a fourth-minute header that proved decisive enough to see Manchester United through in their FA Cup third-round tie against Watford on Saturday from Old Trafford. It was an unconvincing victory for the Reds, who fielded a much-changed side from last Wednesday's EFL Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester City.
McTominay found the net early on, rising to meet Alex Telles' corner. The hosts failed to extend their advantage despite creating chances; Juan Mata was unable to find a finish to an excellent three-man move, then Daniel James and substitute Marcus Rashford had shots saved after the break. But United keeper Dean Henderson was also called into action.
Overall, there were few positives for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side as the likes of Mason Greenwood and Donny van de Beek did little to press their claims for a regular starting slot. Jesse Lingard showed glimpses of form but eventually faded, whilst Eric Bailly was withdrawn before the break after a heavy head clash, making the Ivorian doubtful for Tuesday.
Burnley bagged a 2-0 triumph at Old Trafford In their last Premier League meeting with Manchester United but the Clarets haven't claimed successive league victories over the Red Devils since 1968. The hosts are also winless in their last five Turf Moor tussles with United since their 2009 victory, failing to score in each of those five following fixtures (W0-D1-L4).
Burnley 8.007/1 collected only two points before November's international break (W0-D2-L5) but the Clarets have since found form. Sean Dyche's outfit have earned as many points as Spurs over the last nine matchdays (W4-D3-L2) with defensive improvements obvious; nine of their past 10 Premier League opponents have been restricted to fewer than two goals.
Man Utd 1.491/2 are still the only side unbeaten away in the Premier League this season (W6-D1-L0), averaging three goals per-game on their travels. The Red Devils have dropped just four points in their last 10 Premier League outings (W8-D2-L0) to head all the respective form tables, and could move three points clear at the summit with another victory here.
Burnley have returned W3-D3-L20 when entertaining top-six Premier League teams at Turf Moor, with 12 of those defeats arriving by a two-goal margin or more. The Clarets failed to score in 13 of those fixtures but largely kept the scoreline to a minimum as only five contests featured Over 3.5 Goals, and exactly half paid out for Under 2.5 Goals 2.186/5 backers.
Man Utd's away days have been goal-frenzies in 2020/21 - all seven have delivered in the Over 2.5 Goals 1.784/5 market, as well as for Both Teams To Score 1.9720/21 supporters. However, a punt on total goals isn't overly appealing considering the contrasting goal trends and approach from both clubs under their current stewardships.
Instead, backing Bruno Fernandes to score stands out at 2.206/5. The Portuguese playmaker has notched in nine of his 15 Premier League starts this season - including four of five games as guests - is averaging over three attempts per-game and 0.57 Expected Goals (xG), as well as being on penalty duty for the Red Devils.
Mark's 2020/21 Profit/Loss
Staked: 76.00 pts
Returned: 79.59 pts
P/L: +3.59 pts