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Starting XI: Manchester United vs. Burnley

Rough-and-tumble Burnley come to Old Trafford in a fight for their Premier League lives

Burnley v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

Everything that you need to know ahead of Sunday’s match:

(1) Manchester United cruised past Granada 2-0 on Thursday night to advance to the Europa League semifinals. An early Edinson Cavani goal all but killed off Granada’s chances — and, importantly, the Reds came through the contest without any new injuries. Plus, Marcus Rashford finally got a day off to rest his ailing foot.

(2) With no midweek fixture looming ahead, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shouldn’t have to juggle his lineup with one eye on the next match. Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw will likely be back in defense after serving their one-match Europa League suspension, while Scott McTominay could also be a midfield option to combat the trademark physicality and bullying of Burnley.

(3) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Marcus Rashford’s chances of playing this weekend:

We hope he is going to be ready. Today wasn’t about risking him and he was on the bench just in case. You never know in a knockout tie. He’s been playing on with a sore foot, but I don’t know yet [if he will be ready for Sunday].

(4) Unless he’s held out on Sunday, Harry Maguire will be on a suspension tightrope:

(5) Burnley suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Newcastle last weekend, despite outshooting their guests 24-10. Steve Bruce’s beleaguered side struck for two second-half goals to claim all three points at Turf Moor — and move further away from Fulham and the final relegation place. Burnley, for that matter, also appear safe. The Clarets remain seven points (with a game in hand) from the drop.

(6) Sean Dyche’s biggest problem is a glaring lack of squad depth. In most matches, he fills his bench with academy players and others that pose little threat when called upon. Case in point: No Burnley substitute has scored a goal or recorded an assist in a Premier League game this season. If new ownership is serious about backing Dyche, allowing him to build a bench that’s more than untested kids would be a pretty good start.

(7) Dyche on Burnley’s injury situation:

We will see on a couple, touch and go. The ones who are missing will still be missing — Robbie Brady, Kevin Long, Ashley Barnes. Popey [goalkeeper Nick Pope] is still touch and go. We will have a call on that one. Dwight [McNeil] has a knock, so we will see on him. Jay Rodriguez — everything is fine with his little one, so he will be back.

(8) With Ashley Barnes sidelined, forwards Chris Wood and Matej Vydra have struck up a surprisingly effective partnership. Vydra’s pace and cleverness, paired with Wood’s power and physicality, give the Clarets some attacking threat — which is important considering they rank third from bottom in goals scored this season. Burnley will probably never be a free-scoring unit, but if Wood and Vydra can keep their recent production up — six goals in their last five matches — that should be more than enough for top-flight survival.

(9) Burnley’s defense takes a more passive approach than most Premier League teams. They mostly back off advancing attackers, preferring to put themselves in position to block shots and keep the penalty box congested with lots of bodies. In particular, this tactic suits the talents of center backs James Tarkowski and Ben Mee, allowing them to stay deep and not get pulled out of position by pressing further upfield.

(10) As Dyche mentioned, goalkeeper Nick Pope remains questionable for Sunday’s match with a shoulder injury. Bailey Peacock-Farrell played between the sticks last weekend and acquitted himself quite well. If Pope can’t go, BPF is a very capable replacement.

(11) While Burnley’s league position is nothing to write home about, they’ve pulled off some big wins on their travels. The Clarets have already beaten Liverpool at Anfield and Arsenal at the Emirates this season, no doubt boosting their confidence ahead of Sunday’s trip. In fact, Burnley are unbeaten in their last four matches at Old Trafford.