Burnley vs Manchester United: Three key battles
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Marcus Rashford of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford on January 01, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

It would be the first time that United climbed to the Premier League summit in three seasons, but Burnley’s fight at the bottom of the table means that it won’t be easy. As they prepare for a battle, let's take a look at three key matchups between the two sides.  

  • Marcus Rashford vs Matt Lowton

United's no.10 has scored in two of his last three Premier League games – grabbing the late winner against Wolves having netted away at Leicester City – and made a real impact off the bench in the win against Watford at the weekend.

Rashford may have electrifying pace and a lock full of tricks, but Lowton is a solid full back defensively and is capable of threatening going forwards, so Marcus will have to put a shift in to make sure he comes out on top. If he does, I think we win the match.

  • David de Gea vs Nick Pope

This one obviously isn’t a one-on-one battle, but the two ‘keepers will ultimately make the difference. They always do. David has had a tricky couple of seasons, but is still one of the league’s best goalies. Pope, however, is arguably the most consistent shot-stopper in the top flight, hardly ever making a mistake and regularly hit double figures in saves.

Both were rested in the FA Cup a few days ago, so fatigue won’t be an issue. It may come down to which defence plays best, but it’s a goalkeeper’s job to marshal his troops. One thing’s for sure, it won’t be a high-scoring game.

  • Bruno Fernandes vs Ashley Westwood

Our Portuguese sensation is in unbelievable form, with four goals and three assists in his last four league outings. Fernandes scored the winner from penalty spot in our last Premier League game against Aston Villa and all eyes will be on him to repeat the feat.

Westwood is a tricky customer, though. He works tirelessly and is just as strong on the ground as he is in the air, so Bruno will have to be on top form to get the better of him regularly. Often overlooked, Westwood is also key to building Burnley’s attacks with a good long-range strike in his locker, so this battle really is one to watch out for.

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