May 14, 2021

Man Utd

News

Man United could do something they have not done since Solskjaer was caretaker

2 min read

Clear and obvious back five back

Dean Henderson is expected to return and Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw are certainties to be back in the XI. The clear-and-obvious back four Ole Gunnar Solskjaer settled on with the signings of Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka in 2019 has been extended to a five, with Henderson now the number one.

Burnley double?

It is a quirk of the Premier League era United have never done the double over Burnley. Tommy Docherty was the manager the last time United beat Burnley home and away in the top flight in 1975-76 and Burnley are not just unbeaten in their last four at Old Trafford, but have gone 2-0 up on their last three visits.

United ground out victory at Turf Moor in the New Year and are a win shy of five straight league victories for the first time since January 2019, sparked by Jose Mourinho’s sacking and Solskjaer’s caretaker appointment.

Midfield dilemma

If Pogba plays off the left then logic would dictate the midfield axis will comprise of two from Fred, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay. That would be extreme for the visit of a side with one win in their last eight games but the aforementioned trio are ahead of Donny van de Beek in the midfield pecking order.

Van de Beek was enterprising in the second-half against Granada, albeit from a wide role, and Solskjaer has seldom started him from deep. If he is to force his way into the United XI as a regular it will have to be further back.

Three in a row for Cavani?

Edinson Cavani has started three successive matches just once this season and a repeat seemed unlikely during his fitness woe in February and March.

Two goals in as many games makes his selection a no-brainer against Burnley, who have one of the league’s underrated defensive spines with Ben Mee and James Tarkowski shielding Nick Pope between the sticks. Cavani was up for the fight against them at Turf Moor in January.

Pogba’s positioning

Solskjaer kept Paul Pogba on the left against Granada and his last two performances would suggest it is inadvisable to relocate him. Pogba is currently United‘s best left-sided option and the timing is ideal, with Anthony Martial sidelined and Marcus Rashford sore.

United have a free midweek next week for the first time all season, allowing additional time for Rashford to rest his foot ahead of a first Premier League visit to Elland Road since 2003.

Persisting with Pogba provides Solskjaer with an excuse to keep Rashford wrapped up in cotton wool.

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