Manchester United will go top of the Premier League for the first time since 2013 if they can beat Burnley in the Premier League tonight at Turf Moor.
It’s been 7 years since Manchester United last tasted league glory, with legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season in charge at Old Trafford harbouring the top flight title.
Since then the closest the Red Devils have got was in 2018, and despite their second-place finish being heralded by then-boss Jose Mourinho as his greatest ever achievement, they were still some way off eventual winners Manchester City.
Now though it feels there is a bona fide title race on the cards, particularly with arch rivals and current champions Liverpool next up for United at the weekend.
Before attentions can switch to the Merseysiders, however, Burnley stand in the way of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and top spot.
The game at Turf Moor was set to be the season opener, but due to the implications of coronavirus and Manchester United’s extended 2019/20 Europa League campaign, only now has the game been able to be played after its original postponement.
Turf Moor is never an easy place to go as the old cliché goes and a chilly Tuesday in January is arguably as tough as it gets for any visiting side.
Sean Dyche’s men appear to have put their ropey beginning to the season behind them having won three of their last five matches in all competitions, and after frequenting the relegation zone before Christmas, the Clarets have managed to engineer a 5-point gap between themselves and the bottom three.
Burnley also have 2 games in hand over the majority of their closest opponents, too, barring Fulham who are also struggling and face Tottenham on Wednesday.
Manchester United made 9 changes for the visit of Watford to Old Trafford in the FA Cup on Saturday night, with Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire all rested – although all bar Fernandes did feature off the bench.
The much changed lineup from Solskjaer was no doubt with the next two games against Burnley and Liverpool in mind, and the Norwegian is likely to revert back to full strength at Turf Moor in order to capitalise on the opportunity to go top of the Premier League.
A plus for United is that Edinson Cavani has served his three match FA ban and is available for selection again, with it almost guaranteed that he will be amongst the matchday squad against the Clarets.
However, Solskjaer remains without Facundo Pellistri due to a positive coronavirus test, whilst Phil Jones remains injured and Marcos Rojo is still in Argentina where he spent the festive period.
Eric Bailly suffered a nasty knock to the side of the head which resulted in the defender being substituted against Watford with a sore neck – the Ivorian is a doubt for Tuesday’s game.
Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw and Victor Lindelof were all regarded as injured for the FA Cup tie with the Hornets and it remains to be seen whether they are included against Burnley.
As for the Clarets, Sean Dyche is hopeful goalkeeper Nick Pope can shake an ankle injury in time for the game – former United man Dwight McNeil is also rated touch-and-go after a recent groin problem.
Charlie Taylor, Jay Rodriguez and Kevin Long are all expected absentees for Burnley, who might recall duo Ashley Westwood and Josh Brownhill after the two were rested for the cup encounter against MK Dons at the weekend.
Burnley v Manchester United at Turf Moor is an 8.15pm kick off on Tuesday 12th January.