Manchester United aim to bounce back from the disappointment of conceding a last-gasp leveller at Leicester on Saturday when they welcome surprise package Burnley to Old Trafford on Boxing Day. Mark O'Haire previews the encounter.
"Sean Dyche’s blueprint for frustrating Burnley’s opposition rarely alters on the road and therefore goals tend to be at a premium away from Turf Moor"
Manchester United v Burnley
Tuesday 26th December, 15:00
Manchester United suffering at the back
Manchester United fell 13 points behind league leaders Manchester City - the biggest points gap between first and second at Christmas in English top-flight history - after conceding a 94th-minute equaliser at 10-man Leicester on Saturday.
Jose Mourinho criticised his side's "childish" errors and felt his team missed "joke chances" as they shipped a stoppage-time goal for the second time in the space of a week. Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard were particularly guilty of missing golden opportunities in the second half with the Red Devils seemingly in full control.
Mourinho's problems were exacerbated by a groin injury to Chris Smalling. With Matteo Darmian, Antonio Valencia and Eric Bailly also absent, United may recall Luke Shaw and/or Marcos Rojo on Boxing Day to freshen up an already depleted defence.
Burnley never in the running against Kane-inspired Spurs
Harry Kane proved the difference as Burnley fell to only their fifth Premier League loss of the season on Saturday, suffering a 3-0 home reverse to Tottenham. Kane grabbed a hat-trick leaving Clarets boss Sean Dyche to admit the England international "was by far the best player on the pitch and that was one of the best performances I have seen this season".
Most of the Clarets' nine Premier League wins this term have been built on the foundation of defending in numbers, not giving up the first goal and getting ahead so their opponents have to chase the game. Tottenham's early penalty threw that tactic into disarray and Burnley felt understandably aggrieved at the soft award of the spot-kick.
Dyche's men have won none of the 46 Premier League games under him in which they have conceded the first goal and never really looked like turning the contest around. Chris Wood was forced off with injury whilst Jonathan Walters still isn't match fit. Elsewhere, the visitors will again be without James Tarkowski.
United hot favs but Burnley boast fine away form
Burnley haven't tasted victory at Old Trafford since 1962 but the guests will be encouraged by their excellent efforts at top-half teams this season. The Clarets have already travelled to six sides in the upper echelons of the Premier League, returning a very respectable W4-D3-L2 record on the road.
Dyche's troops have picked up five points from trips to Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea, only suffering defeats at runaway leaders Man City and narrowly at Leicester, and have been chalked up as huge 15.50 outsides to pocket maximum points on Boxing Day.
However, Manchester United 1.282/7 can boast an almost impeccable home record this term. The only blemish in nine Old Trafford outings came when welcoming near neighbours City as the Red Devils have tabled eight triumphs here, seven of which arrived alongside a clean sheet.
With odds-on quotes for a repeat win 'to nil', it's worth looking elsewhere for a value selection. Considering Burnley have been level at the interval in seven of their past nine away encounters with Big Six clubs, it may pay to back Man Utd to for victory in the Half-Time/Full-Time market with the Draw/Home available at 3.1511/5.
Low goals total looks likely
Sean Dyche's blueprint for frustrating Burnley's opposition rarely alters on the road and therefore goals tend to be at a premium away from Turf Moor. Indeed, six of the Clarets' past eight games as guests have featured fewer than three goals.
Under 2.5 Goals has also occurred in three of Man Utd's last four at Old Trafford, excluding the Manchester Derby, so the price of a repeat at 2.1011/10 appears generous. Meanwhile, more adventurous punters may wish to consider the 1-0 home success at 7.006/1; it's proven a profitable selection in three of Burnley's five defeats and United's last two home league triumphs.
Staked: 202.00 pts
Returned: 226.76 pts
P/L: +24.76 pts
Back Draw/Manchester United @ 3.1511/5 in Manchester United v Burnley
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 2.1011/10 in Manchester United v Burnley