At the beginning of the 2020/21 English Premier League season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was under all kinds of pressure.
However, the smiling and affable Manchester United legend has taken all the mud and he is showing there is surely some ‘madness’ to his methods as United have the great chance to go top of the EPL, after 18 match days, overtaking Liverpool.
They can achieve this for the first time since September 2017, with a win over Burnley on Tuesday.
The omens and stats, at least in this season, favour Solskjaer’s team.
In seven away matches, they have won six and drawn one–scoring 21 times and conceding 11 goals. They have beaten Everton, Brighton, Newcastle, Southampton, West Ham, and Sheffield United on their travels and the common characteristic is that apart from Everton, all these teams were below them when they got their victories.
United’s last EPL loss was on November 1, 2020–a 1-0 loss to Arsenal at Old Trafford. In his pre-match interview on the United website, Solskjaer said, “The end of the season starts tomorrow night.”
There are some injury worries, though the good news is the availability of Edinson Cavani, after serving a three-match ban for a racially insensitive post on Instagram. A neck injury forced Eric Bailly off against Watford in the FA Cup while Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba were not named in the matchday squad.
All four returned to training on Monday, and Solskjaer gave an update. “Yeah, all of them trained today [Monday]. Paul [Pogba] and Eric [Bailly] didn’t do all of it, but Luke [Shaw] and Victor [Lindelof] did all of it. I’ve got a decent amount of players to pick from. Let’s see with Paul and Eric and how they are tomorrow,” he added.
Their opponents, Burnley, also have injury concerns for Jimmy Dunne, Jay Rodriguez, Charlie Taylor and Dwight McNeil.
Sean Dyche has only one victory to boast of against United in 10 meetings since the 2014/15 season when he led Burnley back to the EPL and that was in their last meeting when fans at Old Trafford booed the United players off the pitch.
Tuesday creates an avenue for revenge and redemption, and though United fans will not be at Turf Moor, they will applaud their hearts out if the players get all three points and overtake Liverpool to their rightful place at the top of the tree.
Sean Dyche’s matches against United
02/01/20 PRL Man. Utd 0 – 2 Burnley
28/12/19 PRL Burnley 0 – 2 Man. Utd
29/01/19 PRL Man. Utd 2 – 2 Burnley
02/09/18 PRL Burnley 0 – 2 Man. Utd
20/01/18 PRL Burnley 0 – 1 Man. Utd
26/12/17 PRL Man. Utd 2 – 2 Burnley
23/04/17 PRL Burnley 0 – 2 Man. Utd
29/10/16 PRL Man. Utd 0 – 0 Burnley
11/02/15 PRL Man. Utd 3 – 1 Burnley
30/08/14 PRL Burnley 0 – 0 Man. Utd
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