Manchester United rediscovered their scoring touch in the Premier League by hammering Newcastle United 4-1 on Boxing Day. The result and performance should worry a rugged Burnley team welcoming the Red Devils to Turf Moor on Saturday.
Clarets boss Sean Dyche would have been hoping to face the United side that drew with Everton then limped to a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Watford three days before Christmas. Instead, his players need to find a way to stop a group of strikers who are confident again after dismantling the Magpies.
Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford accounted for all of United's goals against Newcastle. All three possess the pace, perceptive movement and coolness in front of goal to breach a Burnley defence guilty of conceding 30 times during 19 league matches this season.
Date: Saturday, December 28
Time: 7:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET
TV Info: BT Sport 1, NBC
- Burnley: +320 (bet $100 to win $320)
- United: -120 (bet $120 to win $100)
- Draw: +270
Odds per Caesars.
United were able to power through the gears against Newcastle, even while leaving Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba and Daniel James on the bench.
Pogba and Lingard made appearances in the second half, but Martial and Co. had already done the damage by then.
While Martial is growing into the role as a legitimate No. 9, Rashford has thrived from the left flank. A nice header gave the England international his 11th league goal of the campaign, a career-best mark:
Still just 22, Rashford is getting better and better years ahead of his peak. Yet any excitement about his progress will likely be exceeded by the hype building around Greenwood.
The 18-year-old academy graduate is making rapid strides this season:
Dealing with United's speed and power up top will demand discipline from a Burnley back line securely underpinned by centre-backs Ben Mee and James Tarkowski. Both impressed despite being on the losing side during the 1-0 defeat at Everton on Boxing Day.
The Clarets can't allow space in behind and must track the runs from out to in of Rashford and Co.
Burnley's own threat will hinge on quality delivery from wide areas to maximise the aerial prowess of Chris Wood. The striker can be a menace, but he'll have to work hard to win his share of aerial duels against United centre-back Harry Maguire.
Inconsistency will be United's main enemy. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has enjoyed seeing his team beat Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Newcastle, but disappointing results and performances were sandwiched in between.
If a confident United turn up at Turf Moor, it should be another three points for Solskjaer's men and a step closer to the top four.