Match Preview: Manchester United vs Burnley

Manchester United were made to rue their number of missed goalscoring opportunities as they dropped two vital points in a 2-2 draw with Leicester City on Saturday night, but will have to be at their clinical best when they welcome Burnley to Old Trafford on Tuesday. The Red Devils fell 13 points behind league leaders Manchester City due to their failure to see off the Foxes coupled with the Blues’ resounding 4-0 victory over Bournemouth.

Having fallen behind to a Jamie Vardy strike against the run of play at the King Power Stadium, United turned the game on its head thanks to two brilliant Juan Mata strikes. However, Jose Mourinho’s side missed a number of gilt-edged chances to kill off the ten men of Leicester, with Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard particularly wasteful, before Harry Maguire equalised for the Foxes deep into injury time.

On Sunday, United will take on an in-form Burnley side that have made an impressive start to the campaign and despite suffering a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur last time out, currently find themselves sitting in seventh place in the league standings, just three points off the top four.

In terms of team selection, Antonio Valencia may yet again sit out this fixture due to a hamstring injury, so summer signing Victor Lindelof may be handed his second successive start at right-back. Centre-back Chris Smalling is a doubt for the visit of Burnley after picking up a muscular injury towards the end of the clash at the King Power.

In attack, Mata could expect to maintain his place in the starting XI following his fantastic two-goal performance, although it will be interesting to see whether Martial or Lingard will be dropped to the bench following their meekness in front of goal.

Forgotten man Henrikh Mkhitaryan came off the bench to feature for United in the league for the first time in nearly a month and could potentially be the player brought in from the start. Up front, Romelu Lukaku put in a decent performance against Leicester and whilst he failed to find the net, is likely to once again lead the line against the Clarets, despite having Zlatan Ibrahimovic waiting in the wings.

With United playing 24 hours before City’s tricky trip to Newcastle United, the Red Devils have the chance to temporarily reduce the gap between the two sides at the top to 10 points, although Pep Guardiola’s men go into their clash with the Magpies as heavy favourites and in search of their 18th consecutive league win.

Following the visit of Burnley, United end the year with a home clash against Mauricio Pellegrino’s Southampton on Saturday, before facing a tricky trip to a resurgent Everton side at Goodison Park on New Year’s Day.