Match Preview: Manchester United Vs Burnley

When United travelled to Turf Moor earlier in the season they suffered at the hands of the Clatrets fine start to the season. Burnley ran out 1-0 winners that day, and fair play to them they deserved it, but it should be a very different affair this time around.

Back then the Lancashire side were managed by the imposing and impressive figure of Owen Coyle. However, the Scotsman has now made the switch to Bolton and they have a new man in charge – former Sheffield Wednesday boss Brian Laws, who makes his debut as a Premier League manager at Old Trafford, not the easiest of debuts to say the least. Having said that I don’t necessarily think Laws is a bad appointment, he did a decent job on a shoestring budget at Hillsborough but I won’t be offering any betting tips on him leading Burnley to three points in Manchester.

I may have been a bit dismissive of Burnley’s chances so far but they have a decent squad of players who have proven themselves on more than one occasion this season and shouldn’t be taken lightly. I’m sure we all remember former United youngster Chris Eagles, who seems to have toned down his dodgy hairstyles (slightly) since moving to Turf Moor. Granted, Eagles was never going to be a regular at Old Trafford but he is still an accomplished footballer and would no doubt love to cause some problems against his former employers.

Graham Alexander may not be the most skilful player I’ve ever come across but he is hailed by everyone he works with as a great leader and has been vocal since Coyle’s departure. In attack you could hardly describe Burnley as prolific but David Nugent seems to be winning a few people over at his new home and he is probably their most likely candidate to find the net.

After the disappointment of an early FA Cup exit and a draw at Birmingham this is just the sort of fixture United need to get back on track. Burnley have just lost their manager and that will certainly effect them, whether it galvanises the squad or not remains to be seen but needless to say a trip to Old Trafford isn’t exactly what they need. United may welcome back Rio Ferdinand (calf), Ben Foster (back), Federico Macheda (hamstring), Nani (ankle) and Nemanja Vidic (calf) but even if none of the crocked players make it back in time for the Burnley fixture they still have the strength in depth to run out comfortable winners.

One man who definitely won’t play any part is Darren Fletcher after that ridiculous red-card last weekend, I suppose it is just fortunate that the Burnley game is the one he misses and not a team challenging at the top. It would take a brave (and foolish) man to suggest Burnley will get anything at Old Trafford and United should pick up a vital three points this weekend.

Written by Gareth Freeman, a sports writer promoting Cheltenham 2010.

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