Manchester United welcome Burnley to Old Trafford on Wednesday evening for a 20:15 GMT kick-off that will be shown live on BT Sport. One of two games set to receive the live TV treatment on the night, it’s great news for armchair fans who want to catch up on the Premier League before attentions switch to the FA Cup Fourth Round over the course of the weekend. It promises to be a thrilling night of action from the top flight of English football.
The schedule will also catch the attention of sports bettors, those who enjoy backing their predictions with cash and aiming to create a profit from the occasion. Bookmakers roll out the red carpet for punters, offering prices on the winner of this match as well as over 100 specials. Have your say on first goalscorer, correct score, handicap, half time/full time and both teams to score. Our team of football betting experts trawl through the mountain of odds before making our predictions and tips on the result. Follow our thinking in the preview below, paying close attention to the firms offering the most generous odds.
Pressure on Solskjaer to Deliver Top Four Finish
Manchester United aim to finish in the top four of the Premier League this season and that’s still a possibility. There is plenty of football yet to be played and they have the talent in their ranks to achieve their pre-season goal. They do have their work cut out for them, however, as the league is as competitive as ever behind leaders Liverpool. The Reds are on-course to end their drought and win the title, but what happens in behind is still anyone’s guess. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been tasked with returning the team to the Champions League and was backed by a hefty transfer budget in the summer. Will he be given more cash to spend in January?
The manager is very lucky to still be sitting in the Old Trafford hot-seat in the opinion of most critics. There have been times and results so far this season that suggested he would be lucky to make Christmas and the whole thing would be marked down as a failed gamble by the board. The money men kept faith under pressure, however, perhaps remembering the time and trust Sir Alex Ferguson was given in the early part of his career at Old Trafford. Ole has put his faith in youth and despite making several expensive purchases, the new players can’t be expected to hit the ground running.
The Red Devils made a poor start to the year when losing to Arsenal at the Emirates. That 2-0 home win was the first victory for new Gunners boss Mikel Arteta, and it was achieved without too much resistance along the way. Arsenal scored early that day and it set the pace for the rest of the game. Man Utd was forced, once again, to take it on the chin and move forward. They bounced back when beating bottom club Norwich next time out, taking their recent tally to three wins in four games, the spare being that loss at the Emirates. Man Utd is closing the gap on Chelsea and the top four. A home win here is 4/11 favourite at Betfred.
Clarets Battling Against the Drop
Burnley certainly won’t have any sympathy for the plight of their hosts as they have their own problems to contend with and are stuck in a battle to beat the drop. They can be found hovering dangerously close to the bottom three, flirting with relegation. Keeping their place in the top flight for another season at least will be the club’s priority in what’s left of this season. Recent results suggest they have a job on their hands achieving that, however.
Burnley lost to Aston Villa on 1 January, a relegation rival. They were beaten 2-1 at home that day to pile pressure on. They then travelled to Stamford Bridge where they were chewed up by a rampant Chelsea who scored three goals without reply. It was a walk in the park for the Blues that day and they won’t find too many wins quite as easy as that. Defeat in London was Burnley’s fourth loss in as many games and it set alarm bells ringing.
The away win shouldn’t appear in too many bet slips and that’s despite bookies offering a big price on Burnley causing an upset. They are available at 8/1 with most firms, including 888Sport.