Manchester United v Burnley
Manchester United return to competitive action in the EFL Cup last 16 having been in good form before the World Cup break. Erik Ten Hag had found the way to get the best out his squad, they have lost just 1 of their last 12 competitive fixtures. However, since their last competitive game was the huge Ronaldo saga and this will be their first competitive fixture since he was released from the club after his explosive interview. Manchester United have actually played 2 friendlies recently against Cadiz and Real Betis, however these were not with their strongest line-ups so can’t be used as a marker for future performances. Manchester United will be without Raphael Varane who will be rested as he played in the World Cup Final but Lisandro Martinez may be available as he did not play in the final. If both those players are missing it will likely be Harry Maguire and Lindelof at centre-back, this could be a weak point for Manchester United in this match.
Burnley have undergone a phenomenal transition under new manager Vincent Kompany. Burnley continue to dominate the Championship, they are placed at odds of just 1.67 to win the Championship and are 1.13 to be promoted in any way. Burnley have lost just 1 of their last 22 matches in all competitions, that only loss be a 5-2 thrashing from Sheffield United. While Burnley may be fancied as dark horses in this match, this 5-2 loss against their only real title rivals suggests they may struggle against teams of a similar ability. Goals from this Burnley team are well spread out but Jay Rodriguez is joint 2nd in the Championship top scorers chart with 9 goals so far. As one of Manchester City’s legends, Kompany will be keen to cause a shock at Old Trafford.
Burnley will be keen to come and play their style of football in this match, they have the benefit of 2 competitive matches under their belt since the World Cup break so will look to use that match sharpness early on in this game. Manchester United will be without Varane and Lisandro Martinez for this match so it will be Maguire and Lindelof at centre back. On top of this Dalot is not fit, therefore at left back Erik Ten Hag will have to decide between Wan-Bissaka or Malacia to cover at right-back. All this means it will be a weakened back four starting for Manchester United. Burnley are the highest scorers in the Championship by far and have scored at least 2 goals in all of their last 7 matches. Away from home against fellow title contenders Sheffield United they lost 5-2, so don’t expect them to sit back just because they are against high quality opposition.
Manchester United are usually involved in lower scoring matches, but with the amount of squad rotation needed for this match they will be more open. The last time they rotated this much was in the last round of the EFL Cup against Aston Villa, a game they won 4-2. Manchester United will likely start with a combination of Martial, Garnacho and Elanga who all have things to prove at this club if they are to start regularly for the rest of the season and they will be keen to impress. This match should be an open attacking game which will likely provide goals, therefore over 2.5 goals seems a smart option.
Teams playing against Burnley average a steady 1.96 yellow cards per game so in this match Manchester United should be expected to receive cards. Furthermore, Manchester United are the most carded team in the Premier League this season and with players like Harry Maguire and McTominay starting, it seems almost guaranteed they will receive a card in this match. In the last round of the EFL Cup, Manchester United received 3 yellow cards and they have received a yellow card in 12 of their last 13 matches, only failing to do so against Omonia in the Europa League.
The referee for this match is Graham Scott, he has averaged 3 yellow cards per match in his 8 refereeing performances this season and is yet to go a match without giving a yellow card this season. One of these matches was the EFL Cup game between Newcastle and Crystal Palace in the previous round, where he handed out 3 cards, so he clearly doesn’t feel less inclined to give cards in this competition.
Garnacho is becoming the next young talent to emerge through Manchester United’s academy and he is expected to be given a chance to impress again in this match. The young Argentinian was not in Argentina’s World Cup winning squad so is primed to start in this game. Garnacho has had an effect in every game he has started for Manchester United this season with 2 shots on target in less than 90 minutes of Premier League game time this season. In the last round of the EFL Cup he played just 33 minutes but assisted 2 goals in that time and in the Europa League he scored against Real Sociedad.
At right-back, Burnley have the option of either Connor Roberts or Vitinho. Vitinho may be the preferred choice in this match, he is more defensively minded however is still predominantly an attacking full-back. Burnley’s attacking full backs may struggle up against United’s wingers and therefore Garnacho will fancy his chance at having at least 1 shot on target.
Manuel Benson has been on excellent form recently, he scored twice at the weekend and has worked his way into Burnley’s starting eleven. Benson has only played around 9 matches worth of Championship football this season but has scored 7 goals. On top of this he has averaged 3.64 shots per 90 and 1.25 shots on target per 90.
Benson is a left footed winger who plays on the right hand side so he will be up against either Malacia or Shaw. As Burnley often play with an attacking right back, they will overlap, occupying the opposition full back allowing Benson to cut in on his stronger foot and get shots away. Burnley will go at Manchester United in this match and considering his recent form Benson is more than good enough to make the difference, at odds over evens he is great value for a shot on target.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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