Home again and it’s Saturday night football
Manchester United are at the Turf tomorrow and we’ve a wait with the game kicking off at 8 p.m. for live coverage by the newly named TNT Sports.
This is a game between two teams in the bottom half of the Premier League table with United having won just two of their five games to date, but they will undoubtedly provide tough opposition as is usually the case do when they come to the Turf.
We all remember the Robbie Blake goal and the win in our first ever home game in the Premier League. That was back in August 2009 and since that night, we’ve only been able to score once in this fixture, a Jay Rodriguez goal two seasons ago.
I think we can go into the game with some confidence after Monday’s draw at Forest. We deserved a win, and we’d have got a win but for the bizarre decisions from the officials. It’s got us off the mark with our first point.
It’s been a difficult start but I don’t think anyone would have expected us to concede eleven goals in the first three games, more so with them all being at home although two of those games have come against teams still unbeaten in their opening five games. It couldn’t have been much tougher.
I was taking a look at previous Premier League seasons to see how things had gone in the opening four games. The best two seasons were 2017/18 when a season that ended with a European trip started with seven points in those first four games. The next best was six points, including three against United, in 2009/10, a season that ended in relegation with our lowest ever points total in this league.
This season is the fourth time we’ve had just one point at this stage. The first of them came in 2018/19 with the other two in our two most recent Premier League seasons. One point from the first four games is not what we hoped for. It’s not fatal but we do have to start picking up points soon.
Moving on to tomorrow, he added: “For us it’s a great event but at the end of the day it’s a game like everything else. There’s nothing to be scared of. We just go out there and try to do our best and enjoy the time on the field because you never know how many times you are going to play them. So, we try to do our best and put everything in that game and see where it goes from there.”
Beyer is very much first choice in the centre of our defence, as he was last season while on loan, and has missed just the one game against Aston Villa due to an injury picked up between games. He’ll play tomorrow, that’s a certainty.
Three players definitely won’t be involved tomorrow. Michael Obafemi and Hjalmar Ekdal are long term injury victims and Lyle Foster will now have to sit out the next three games having been sent off in the Robert Jones/Darren England show at Forest.
Will there be changes to the team that drew at Forest? I suspect the line-up will be close to that which was: James Trafford, Connor Roberts, Ameen Al-Dakhil, Jordan Beyer, Charlie Taylor, Josh Cullen, Josh Brownhill, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, Zeki Amdouni, Luca Koleosho, Lyle Foster. Subs: Arijanet Muric, Hannes Delcroix, Jack Cork, Sander Berge, Aaron Ramsey, Mike Trésor, Manuel Benson, Anass Zaroury, Jay Rodriguez.
Manchester United have lost their last three games so it has become something of a national crisis. That’s the club they are and even the smallest piece of news to come out of Old Trafford becomes headline news.
The truth is, they’ve played five Premier League games and won two of them while losing three. Two of the defeats have come against North London pair Spurs and Arsenal; the other loss was last time out in the Premier League against Brighton.
There two wins, both at home, have come amidst controversy. They beat Wolves 1-0 when anyone with an interest in the game knows that Wolves should have been awarded a penalty only to see it refused by match referee Simon Hooper who was astonishingly backed up by VAR official Michael Salisbury.
The other win saw them beat Nottingham Forest 3-2, coming back from 2-0 down but again fingers were pointed at the match officials, this time referee Stuart Attwell and, wait for it, VAR official Robert Jones.
Despite everything, they have a strong squad, of that there is no doubt. They ended last season in third place in the table, qualifying for the Champions League and there is no reason to suggest they won’t have another good season, having added some new signings including Mason Mount, Andre Onana and Rasmus Højlund (pictured below).
For their last league game against Brighton, their team was: Andre Onana, Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelöf, Lisandro Martínez, Sergio Reguilón, Casemiro, Scott McTominay, Bruno Fernandes, Christian Eriksen, Marcus Rashford, Rasmus Højlund. Subs: Altay Bayindir, Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial, Alejandro Garnacho, Facundo Pellistri, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Jonny Evans, Daniel Gore, Hannibal Mejbri.
LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE
Tuesday 8th February 2022, that’s when Manchester United last came to Burnley. They were, at the time, fourth in the Premier League, behind Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea. We were bottom and two points behind the next two Watford and Newcastle.
It didn’t start well for us and three times we were picking the ball out of our net in the opening twenty minutes or so. Thankfully, only one of them, from Paul Pogba, counted and we managed to stay in the game until half time with the score still at 1-0 in the visitors’ favour.
The game really had changed. De Gea denied Weghorst with a brilliant save and Burnley were looking the more likely. United brought on Cristiano Ronaldo but they couldn’t turn things around and we were so unfortunate not to go on and win it. But there were so many positives. This had been a much better performance and we even saw a return from injury from Ashley Barnes who had really been missed.
The teams were;
Burnley: Nick Pope, Connor Roberts, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Erik Pieters, Dwight McNeil, Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Maxwel Cornet (Aaron Lennon 69), Wout Weghorst, Jay Rodriguez (Ashley Barnes 88). Subs not used: Wayne Hennessey, Matt Lowton, Phil Bardsley, Nathan Collins, Kevin Long, Jack Cork, Dale Stephens.
Manchester United: David de Gea, Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay (Jesse Lingard 80), Marcus Rashford (Anthony Elanga 85), Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho, Edinson Cavani (Cristiano Ronaldo 68). Subs not used: Dean Henderson, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelöf, Phil Jones, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata.Follow UpTheClarets:
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