Manchester United travel to Burnley tonight looking to at least temporarily narrow the gap to fourth place to a single point. Chelsea currently occupy fourth spot, with Tottenham looking to join them on 32 points, with United down in eighth on 28.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side thrashed Newcastle on Boxing Day to set themselves up for a positive finish to 2019.
And with top-four rivals Chelsea facing Arsenal on Sunday, United will hope to put the pressure on both the Blues and the Gunners at Turf Moor.
Burnley are four points and five positions below United in the table and have lost their last two. Their home form this term has been inconsistent, with five wins and four defeats, three of which have come to ‘big six’ teams in Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City.
And a lack of consistency is also something Clarets boss Sean Dyche thinks United suffer with.
“From the outside in they are mainly looking at consistency,” he said.
“Not just week in week out but also within a game because they have had spells where they have been quiet and spells when they have been electric.
“Hopefully they have a quiet spell against us and we play very well because against the top sides you need to.
“We will prepare properly for us to go and play and see where it takes us.”
Solskjaer, meanwhile, expects a typically feisty test from Burnley this evening.
“It’s going to be what it says on the tin, and we know what we’re up against,” he said.
“We’ve prepared for that; we’ve already started watching the videos and of course we’ve had loads of games lately. But now the boys will be facing different opposition. The front men, [Ashley] Barnes and [Chris] Wood, [are] top centre-forwards as a pairing.
“[There will be] loads of crosses so we’ve got to defend the box but also make sure that we win the second ball [so we can] attack ourselves.
“It’s fantastic what they’ve done and it’s with less resources than many, so he’s doing a great job, Sean.”
Burnley vs Manchester United – Premier League
Burnley XI: Pope; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Hendrick, Cork, Westwood, McNeil; Wood, Barnes.
Manchester United XI: De Gea; Young, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams; Matic, Fred; James, Pereira, Rashford; Martial.
Burnley bench: Hart, Long, Rodriguez, Brady, Drinkwater, Gudmundsson, Lowton.
Manchester United bench: Romero, Jones, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka, Lingard, Mata, Greenwood.