Manchester United's predicted XI to face Burnley on Sunday
As the dust settles on United’s dismal Monday night, it is time to look ahead to the next game. After the loss at the hands of Tottenham at home, there were a lot of talking points. The disorganized defense, to say the least, remains a huge concern. Similarly, Pogba’s inability to influence the game is worrying. And the least we say about Lukaku the better. To make matters worse, Mourinho lost his cool in the post match press conference and went on a self acclamation trip across the Premier League. But nothing can alter the truth, and the truth is that United lost to a better team and even though it was painful, everyone must move on now and start preparing for the next game.
United travel to the Turf Moor to face Burney on Sunday and it is the game that whole world will be closely monitoring. Burnley are in the middle of a crisis themselves right now; they have drawn one and lost two of their three games in the Premier League so far, as involvement in the UEFA Europa League seems to have knocked the wind out of their sails. This includes a 4-2 drubbing at the hands of Fulham last Sunday. However, United were already outplayed in their first away match this season and Mourinho will not be taking the Clarets lightly.
This game is quietly turning out to be perhaps the most vital match in Mourinho’s time at Manchester United and the Portuguese manager will be hoping that his team will be ready to bounce back by Monday. A win, either scrappy or resounding, would ease everything. It would relieve the pressure from the club, the players and Mourinho himself. It would give them a vital uplift before going into the international break. A defeat would be catastrophic, and would put everything in disarray. A defeat could even cost Mourinho his job.
As such, the team that Mourinho puts on field becomes ultra important and we take a look at the probable lineup to face Burnley in this article.
Goalkeeper and Defence
David De Gea has let in seven goals in three games so far, yet none of those have been goalkeeping errors. The Spaniard has been suffering for some poor defensive displays by the United back four and even with his poor start to the season, remains vital to the Red Devils. He is indispensable to the team and remains in goal.
Mourinho claimed that he does not know his best back four yet, but one thing is certain so far, Luke Shaw deserves to start his fourth consecutive game as the left back. Phil Jones' injury means that Eric Bailly should be drafted in alongside Chris Smalling, and Antonio Valencia should continue at right back. Smalling was decent in the first half but a series of errors combined with Jones injury cost United the game. Bailly was stellar in the first game, but was culpable against Brighton. The two have played together at length last season and are the best possible option for United right now. Valencia looks better suited in a back four than as a wingback, and should provide cover for his centre backs, while also bombing forward to combine with his attackers.
After a strong first half against Tottenham, the United midfield faded in the middle and a reason for that could be that the three were playing together for the first time this season. But even in defeat, there were welcoming signs from each of them. Nemanja Matic was decent as he continues his return to full fitness and should continue as the defensive screen. Fred had a lively game and looks to be getting better. He was very active offensively, getting into pockets of spaces, finding teammates, tracking back, taking shots. And even though Paul Pogba seemed to be off, he should continue in the middle as well.
United controlled the tempo of the game very well in the first half. The Spurs midfield was played out of the game and the three in the middle should try to replicate that first half at Turf Moor again. The return of Matic from injury freed Pogba, but the Frenchman looked a bit off on monday. United need a stellar outing from Pogba at Turf Moor, and as always, he shall be their most important man.
Alexis Sanchez has to return. For one thing, Luke Shaw excels in his presence and also the Chilean’s experience will be vital as United look to get back to winning ways. Sanchez will make himself available for Pogba to spray the passes, he will look to release Shaw on the overlap and he will try to find Lukaku with the crosses.
Romelu Lukaku was poor in front of goal in all the games his started, but he has scored a goal for United so far. The other strikers available to Mourinho cannot lead the line as well as the Belgian does and for that, he has to continue in attack. United will also be desperate for him to get back with the goals and against, Burnley, who have already let in seven goals so far, Lukaku will have his chances.
The right side of the attack continues to be the weak link. Ideally, Juan Mata has done well and should start to provide the creative spark from there, but Mourinho’s defensive concerns mean that Jesse Lingard gets the nod before the Spaniard. The Englishman was decent against Spurs and would not be a bad addition to the team at all.
United do have enough fire power to get all three points at Turf Moor, however, it will be up to Mourinho to find the perfect balance between attack and defense. Only by being prolific in attack and ruthless in defence can United get a win that can kickstart their season.
Do you think United can beat Burnley at Turf Moor? Let us know in comments.