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Burnley will take on Champions League hopefuls Manchester United on Sunday at Turf Moor in Matchweek 34 of the Premier League.
Sean Dyche’s side find themselves at 14th place in the league, 8 points clear off the relegation zone and look set for another season in the top tier of English football. However, with still 5 games left to be played, they would not want to find themselves involved in a late scramble to survive the drop in the closing stages of the season.
A positive result against Jose Mourinho’s side could go a long way in confirming Burnley’s status as a Premier League club for the upcoming season. Here are three things that they could do to claim maximum points against the Red Devils:
United’s weakest link in defence this season has been the left-back position, with Mourinho failing to identify his best player.
The Portuguese has used Matteo Darmian, Daley Blind and Luke Shaw on the left-side over the course of the season and at times has even called upon winger Ashley Young to deputise. None of the players have been able to convince him of their abilities and seal the place. Darmian did put in a strong showing against Chelsea last week but has been vulnerable against pacey wingers.
If Burnley use someone like the young Dan Agyei, instead of a less mobile George Boyd on the right-flank, and get Dan running behind the United left-back, they could manage to get balls in for Andre Gray and Ashley Barnes to attack.
United’s star ensemble midfield has been performing admirably in recent weeks with the exception of record signing Paul Pogba.
Marouane Fellaini has found a new lease of life, Michael Carrick has rolled back the years, while Ander Herrera has become the beating heart in the middle of the park. When their midfield settles into a nice rhythm, it allows them to control the area, which in turn allows their front men to make runs behind the opposition defence.
If Burnley manage to unsettle the Red Devils’ midfield, by closing them down and putting in tackles, it could go some way in helping them deny United a chance. And they have the right man in Joey Barton to do the job for them.
Goals have been a big problem for United this season, with none of their primary attackers getting into double figures in the league, barring summer arrival Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Swedish maestro has scored 17 goals in 28 league appearances in his very first season when most seemed to have written him off due to his age. Often, it has been the case that if he doesn’t score, United don’t win. But with him picking up an injury against Anderlecht in the Europa League clash on Thursday night, the onus of goal-scoring will fall upon Marcus Rashford.
The 19-year old has found form in recent weeks and has scored thrice in his last four appearances across all competitions. His confidence will be sky high after the late winner he scored on Thursday against Anderlecht.
In Michael Keane, Burnley have one of the best centre-halves in the league this season. He will be keen to impress against his former side and if he manages to keep Rashford quiet, surely, Burnley can achieve their objective of beating Manchester United.