Old Trafford beckons as we go in search of points
It’s almost 55 years since I first stepped inside Old Trafford to watch Burnley play Manchester United. That was for an FA Cup tie that turned United’s way with two late goals.
Nothing much has changed since. I’ve been to every game we’ve played there since and I’m still awaiting a first win there. Looking back, I thought I’d seen it in 1965. There have been other occasions too when late goals have cost us and it’s been the same in each of the last two seasons when we’ve held 2-0 leads and eventually drawn with stoppage (Fergie) time goals. The Boxing Day game two seasons ago was hard enough to take but last season’s was cruel given their two late goals came from a soft penalty and an offside goal.
Tonight though, with the boost of the win against Leicester, we might be going as underdogs as we always will there but with some confidence back and who knows what might happen.
We go there having brought and end to the losing streak that had lasted four games. Prior to Sunday we hadn’t picked up any Premier League points since the 1-0 win at Bournemouth but, despite going behind, we were able to beat third place Leicester and the whole place seems to have got a lift.
“I’ve been here about two years and I noticed as soon as I got here. A couple of bad results and this team still comes in the next day, we move on and are ready for the next one. ”
Lennon has been on bench mainly this season having recovered from injury but remains a key member of the squad although he’s likely to be on the bench again tonight with possibly the threat of a Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson return set to make things even more difficult for him.
I doubt JBG will start but Sean Dyche hinted he was all but ready and could make the subs bench. There have been no reports of any injuries, although Phil Bardsley was struggling with a back problem towards the end of the game. Should Bardsley be OK, I don’t envisage any changes to the side.
We should then line up: Nick Pope, Phil Bardsley, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jeff Hendrick, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil, Jay Rodriguez, Chris Wood. Subs from: Joe Hart, Matt Lowton, Kevin Long, Ben Gibson, Erik Pieters, Aaron Lennon, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson, Robbie Brady, Matěj Vydra.
Manchester United are supposedly having a difficult season but they still sit fifth in the league ahead of tonight’s game and only the top three have picked up more points at home. They are unbeaten at Old Trafford since they suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace in August although there is concern that they have also dropped points in draws against Arsenal, Liverpool, Aston Villa and, most recently, Everton back in mid-December. They’ve played just twice at home in the league since that Everton draw and have bagged eight goals with wins against Newcastle (4-1) and Norwich (4-0).
Last time out, three days ago, they were beaten 2-0 at Liverpool yet they remain the only team to have prevented the current league leaders from winning this season when they held them to a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford back in October.
The Manchester United team at Liverpool was: David de Gea, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelöf, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Brandon Williams, Nemanja Matic, Fred, Andreas Pereira, Daniel James, Anthony Martial. Subs: Sergio Romero, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Jesse Lingard, Diogo Dalot, Mason Greenwood, Juan Mata.
LAST TIME WE WERE THERE
It was another heartbreaking trip to Old Trafford just a week short of a year ago. As had been the case in the previous season, we’d gone 2-0 up. Ashley Barnes again scored the opening goal with Chris Wood adding a second with nine minutes of time remaining.
I honestly thought that was it. I thought I was finally going to see us win at Old Trafford, but I’d forgotten about what happens at that ground time and time again, that Manchester United, one way or another, come back to get points and they did just that with a little bit more than a helping hand from the dreadful officials.
We did have some defending to do, as you would expect. We were playing a United side who had won every single game under caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and they weren’t going to let that go without a fight.
Yes, there was contact from Jeff Hendrick on Jesse Lingard but the way Lingard went down, I thought we must have had a sniper in the stand who had shot at him. Paul Pogba stepped up with his nonsensical penalty routine but in it went with only three minutes remaining.
Into stoppage time. Tom Heaton saved from Alexis Sánchez but Victor Lindelöf scored from the rebound. The flag should have gone up for offside. It didn’t and once again we had to come home with just a point.
The teams were;
Manchester United: David de Gea, Ashley Young, Victor Lindelöf, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Andreas Pereira (Jesse Lingard 62), Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku (Alexis Sánchez 67). Subs not used: Sergio Romero, Diogo Dalot, Chris Smalling, Fred, Ander Herrera.
Burnley: Tom Heaton, Phil Bardsley, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jeff Hendrick, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil (Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson 78), Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood. Subs not used: Joe Hart, Ben Gibson, Stephen Ward, Josh Benson, Matěj Vydra, Sam Vokes.Follow UpTheClarets:
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