Scouting Manchester United’s Opposition: Burnley Better Than Before

Manchester United have won eight consecutive matches under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, six of them in Premier League. The seventh league victory could come as soon as Tuesday, when Manchester United will host Burnley at Old Trafford.

Sean Dyche’s team was unlucky to have the consecutive away matches in Manchester. They played against City this weekend in FA Cup and expectedly lost heavily. The Clarets were beaten 5-0 in a typical match for Pep Guardiola’s side and now another match in the city will follow for them.

The Devils have done very well against Arsenal on Friday night and now the streak of wins should be prolonged for at least another match. The satisfaction in United’s camp is big and no one wants to mess it up in the next match. However, Burnley must be completely respected.

Tom Heaton Is The Man

When we talk about Burnley, it is really hard to not talk about their goalkeepers. Whether that is Tom Heaton or Nick Pope, there is always something positive to say about them. Unless both of them are injured and Joe Hart is in goal. His performances were basically Burnley’s worst performances this season, as they made a horrible run of results which saw them sitting in relegation zone.

However, Tom Heaton is back and Burnley is back too! He played just four Premier League matches since recuperating and all four brought points for Burnley. Ten to be precise, as the Clarets won three and drew one match, conceding just two goals in the process. That reminded us of the old Burnley from last season, which went missing in the first half of the campaign. Now that Heaton is back, everything is working. They are not conceding high quality chances anymore, as their expected goals against (xGA) read 0.66, 0.62, 0.90 and 0.97 in those four matches. All under 1.00, which is an impressive change.

Attacking Issues

Burnley may have scored six in these four matches and won ten points, but they still have certain attacking issues. They have never been synonymous with scoring goals galore, but it is a telling stat when their best goalscorer this season has scored four goals. That was Ashley Barnes, while Sam Vokes, James Tarkowski and Chris Wood all have three.

The three attackers (all of them but Tarkowski) have not been great with getting into chances. Only Vokes is slightly overscoring his xG, but with just three actual goals, you can sense his xG is very low for a striker. Barnes was expected to score between six and seven goals, underperforming the most of the lot. With United’s improved defence, Burnley should definitely worry.

Finding “The Old” Burnley

Manchester United should try and find “the old” Burnley, from earlier of this season. It was a time when Burnley were more chaotic and had a worse defensive structure, without the usual discipline. That changed, but the sides they played against recently are not top six teams either. The Devils should do well do disorganize them with slick and fast movements, while they might be tested against a deep defensive block from Dyche’s team. The favourites are well known here, it is now about not becoming complacent. That is what Burnley love the most about their opponents.

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