Man Utd v Burnley: Back Burnley to bag but Utd too good

Burnley have a good recent record at Old Trafford and should find the net but Man Utd will be too strong, says Paul Higham...

Perception over reality at Ole's Man Utd

With some of the criticism aimed at both the team and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at times you'd be forgiven for thinking that Man Utd are really struggling as in this social media age perception can often trump reality.

In reality they're having about as good a season as possible as they're into the semi-finals of the Europa League and on Sunday then can move to within just eight points of Man City with a fifth successive Premier League victory.

Nobody is suggesting City can be caught, but finishing a relatively close second will be a huge improvement on last season, and if Solskjaer can also deliver that crucial first trophy then even the remaining doubters may be won over.

United last won five in a row when Solskjaer first took over with that flying start as United boss - if he can finish off this season of promise and have a good transfer window there's no reason why they can't get even closer next season.

Clarets consistently inconsistent

Sean Dyche has never really had money to spend, and I do wonder how long he'll be happy to keep continually getting the very most out of his group of players - with the Clarets flirting with relegation again this season.

The last five results sum up this inconsistent group, draws with Leicester and Arsenal, a win over Everton then defeats to Southampton and, worst of all, Newcastle! Just two wins out of 12 (D5 L5) after beating Liverpool and Aston Villa back-to-back show that this problem has been going on all season.

It's perhaps what happens when you're living on scraps as a manager, able to put out an 11 that can compete but not having the squad to deal with injuries, in this long season, without the ferocious backing of a home crowd.

Surprisingly, Man Utd haven't done the league double over Burnley since 1975-76, but on current form that record looks like being broken on Sunday.

Man Utd hugely fancied

It'll surprise nobody to see United as overwhelming 1.3 favourites with even the draw seemingly being discounted at 5.0A Burnley win is rated unthinkable at 9.5 as although United have been more effective away from Old Trafford, they've still got the third-best home return in the league.

Chris Wood may just fancy his chances though after scoring on his last two visits to the Theatre of Dreams - he's 3.75 to bag again and become just the sixth player to score in three straight away games at Old Trafford.

Mason Greenwood is likely to start on the bench but after coming on as a sub to assist and then score at Spurs he could still make an impact. He's bagged in his last two Premier League games, and with 13 league goals this season the 19-year-old needs just two more to match Wayne Rooney's record as a goalscoring teenager for the club.

Greenwood is 2.6 to score anytime.

Back Burnley to bag a goal

It was easy for United in the Europa League, but with the likes of Pogba, Fernandes and Cavani playing then there's still a case for Thursday football making the hosts a little leggy in the opening stages here.

Burnley have a decent recent record at Old Trafford (W1 D3) and a fast start, including them scoring first at 4.0 is certainly within the realms of possibility.

United have come from behind to win nine league games this season, it's 9.0 on that happening here and for those who fancy an outside punt on these games that's not a bad way to go at all. The hosts have only led at half-time four times this season so are hardly fast starters.

For those more risk-averse though, Man Utd and over 2.5 goals at 2.0 looks solid enough with Burnley's last four away games all going over 2.5. The Clarets should also come to play as well, they dominated against Newcastle but the radar was off with just one goal and four shots on target from a whopping 24 attempts.

United have won tight games time and time again though and still have enough firepower to get themselves over the line regardless of how the game goes, but I do think Burnley will score and a home win with both finding the net at 3.2 looks generous enough to take on.

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