Reds trio ruled out of Burnley game
Manchester United's very last game of 2021 is almost upon us, with Burnley being the final visitors to Old Trafford during the current calendar year.
The Reds ground out a 1-1 draw against a spirited Newcastle United outfit on Monday – our first game in 16 days due to a spate of positive COVID-19 tests that have disrupted both fixtures and training patterns.
But the Christmas and New Year schedule is finally set to intensify for Ralf Rangnick's men, with Burnley on Thursday (20:15 GMT) our second game in four days, and another home fixture, against Wolves, set to follow on Monday 3 January (17:30 GMT).
We can confirm that the Reds will be without at least three players for the Burnley clash.
Victor Lindelof was ruled out of the trip to St James' Park
earlier this week due to a positive COVID-19 test the day before the match, and this result will rule him out of our next game too. Paul Pogba will also miss out, due to a thigh problem which is keeping him sidelined.
Meanwhile, Bruno Fernandes will be unavailable due to a one-match suspension, after collecting his fifth yellow card of the Premier League season on Monday night.
Beyond those three absentees, there was more positive news for Rangnick earlier this week.
The German was able to welcome back two prominent first-teamers at Newcastle, after lengthy spells out of action.
Raphael Varane started the match on Tyneside – his first appearance since he left the field injured during our 2-2 draw with Atalanta in Bergamo, back in early November. The Frenchman managed to complete the entire 90 minutes, too, while Edinson Cavani played the whole of the second period
following his own injury issues.
The Uruguayan scored his second goal of the season to earn us a point in the North East, and fans would love to see him start against Sean Dyche's always competitive, always physical Burnley.
There were concerns elsewhere, however, with Scott McTominay appearing to go down in discomfort before being replaced by Nemanja Matic with 12 minutes remaining.
The Scotland international is famously robust, however, so it would be no surprise to see him take to the field at Old Trafford on Thursday, but we must wait for further news from Ralf on that front.
The interim manager gave his pre-Burnley briefing to the press following the match at Newcastle, but comments from that press conference are embargoed until 13:30 GMT today (Wednesday). Stay tuned to our Official App and ManUtd.com to find out what the boss said.
If Rangnick chooses to rotate, given the busy schedule, the likes of Juan Mata and Amad Diallo should be available to freshen things up. Prior to the Newcastle game and Lindelof's positive COVID-19 test, the German had been working with 25 players in training, Pogba being the only absentee.
BURNLEY TEAM NEWS
As for the Clarets, our opponents have not played since a goalless draw against West Ham United on Sunday 12 December, because their subsequent fixtures against Aston Villa and Everton were postponed.
Ahead of that expected encounter with the Toffees on Boxing Day, Dyche gave an update on several players who could, in turn, be doubts for the United game.
“Maxwel [Cornet] is training on the grass but not with the squad yet,”
said the Burnley boss. “He’s an outside chance so we’ll have to make a judgement call on how he is feeling.
“Barnesy [Ashley Barnes] is making good progress and we knew it would be a long one. Connor Roberts is still coming out of a real nasty infection and Dale Stephens is back in the building and going well.”