Manchester United are back at home on Boxing Day as they look to get a couple of poor results out their system as Sean Dyche’s Burnley play visitor at Old Trafford.
José Mourinho’s side were dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Championship outfit Bristol City in midweek and were more recently denied a win by Harry Maguire’s stoppage time equaliser in a 2-2 draw against Leicester City.
However, the Red Devils have only lost once at home this season – earlier this month against Premier League leaders Manchester City – and Mourinho should still be optimistic of continuing their good form at the Theatre of Dreams, even against Dyche’s overachieving Clarets.
Shaw to start in defence?
Burnley sit seventh in the Premier League table at the midpoint of the campaign, higher than many would have expected, but their last outing against Tottenham Hotspur, where they went behind in just inside ten minutes in a 3-0 defeat, showed a functioning attack is well capable of beating them.
David de Gea is a no brainer to start in goal but Mourinho ought to be, and might have to be, more attacking with his defensive choices against the Turf Moor side. Victor Lindelöf, who played at right-back against Leicester, is likely to return to his natural centre-back role after Chris Smalling was injured late on versus the Foxes.
And with Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian unavailable at right-back, Ashley Young could switch to the opposite full-back position, after an encouraging run on the left side of defence of late, with Luke Shaw deputising for him. Phil Jones could keep his spot in the centre to complete the back four.
Paul Pogba is another obvious choice to start in midfield, this will only be his third game since returning from suspension, so Mourinho need not worry about resting the former Juventus man. However, Nemanja Matić has played a lot of football this season – this could be a good chance to rest him and bring in Ander Herrera to replace him.
Mata keeps spot after Leicester performance
Few players covered themselves in glory in United’s draw with Leicester, but the two perhaps least deserving of criticism, double goalscorer Juan Mata and striker Romelu Lukaku, should be in line to keep their places.
Jesse Lingard didn’t quite show the form he has over the last month against Leicester, but still looks deserving of keeping his attacking midfield spot. Henrikh Mkitaryan has been substituted on in last two games and could feature from the bench once more here.
With Lukaku starting up top, that leaves the left-wing spot vacant, and Marcus Rashford could be swapped in – despite a disappointing cameo against Leicester – for Anthony Martial.
Predicted XI: De Gea; Young, Jones, Lindelöf, Shaw; Pogba, Herrera; Mata, Lingard, Rashford; Lukaku.