January 20, 2020
Manchester United will be back in Premier League action welcoming Burnley to Old Trafford on Wednesday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat away to Liverpool taking on a Burnley side who beat Leicester City on Sunday. United, fresh from more disappointment with Marcus Rashford confirmed as the latest player to sit on the sidelines for a period of time with an injury, which takes more quality away from a side who cannot afford it.
Solskjaer will need to look to the transfer market in order to guide the club through the remainder of the season otherwise it could all be over before he knows it. United will be back in Emirates FA Cup action on Sunday, despite not yet knowing whether they will face Tranmere Rovers or Watford away from home. Next week they head to the Etihad for the second time this season looking to overcome a 3-1 Carabao Cup first leg defeat. Next month, the UEFA Europa League commences once again too.
Here is my predicted starting XI to face Burnley in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening…
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
The goalkeeper showed some good signs against Liverpool on Sunday performing a few good saves finding himself beaten from a set-piece at the start of the game, something he may need to find improvement in and late in the game, seeing an over the top ball find Mohamed Salah and him double Liverpool’s lead at the death. De Gea is a player who should be doing much better but so are United as a club. The squad is thin and needs attention to address the quality, which in many places is not good enough.
Defenders: Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Brandon Williams
The defence have leaked a total of 27 goals in the Premier League along this season – this being after the investment of Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Last season they leaked 54 goals in the league alone – averaging 1.17 goals per game this season. Diogo Dalot mat start at right-back with Tim Fosu-Mensah not yet fully match fit, giving Wan-Bissaka a rest he desperately needs. Eric Bailly, who was on the bench versus Liverpool, should replaced Victor Lindelof, in turn giving him a rest too. Harry Maguire, the new club captain and Brandon Williams will keep their places in the back four.
Midfield: Fred, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata
Solskjaer needs to change the tactics of the team and the formation. the 4-3-3 formation might be ideal – although it would be much better if they had a full squad to choose from. Fred and Nemanja Matic will keep their places in midfield as there is not many rotation options for the duo right now with Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay likely to be out for a month yet. Juan Mata, a player who scored once and assisted twice in his last two matches, should be drafted back into the starting XI after playing just 16 minutes against Liverpool.
Forwards: Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Daniel James
United need to be getting the best out of the forward line with the absence of Marcus Rashford, which is a devastating blow at this stage of the season, especially when he was having his best season at the club, scoring 19 goals. Mason Greenwood should be starting on the right with Daniel James on the left, in place of Rashford, which is where he started the season, scoring his three goals so far this season. Anthony Martial should lead the line as United have no other experienced options. The transfer market should be looked into as reinforcement, especially in this area and the midfield are so desperately needed.
Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Phil Jones, Tim Fosu-Mensah; Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong
United need to have players on the bench who can bring in the quality required to beat their opposition – taking one game at a time. Burnley will be boosted with their victory over Leicester City on Sunday which could be problematic for United. Sergio Romero will most likely keep his place on the bench, as will Phil Jones. With the lack of fullback cover, Tim Fosu-Mensah could see himself on the bench with a view to finding match fitness. Jesse Lingard did not pay against Liverpool and does not deserve a starting place so the bench will beckon for him too. Andreas Pereira should be on the bench – I am unsure where he fits into the club right now. The talented youth of Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong could be brought into the fold once again this season, if needed.