United’s surprise defeat at Turf Moor back in August was the first signal that Burnley meant business in the Premier League but with Owen Coyle gone fresh questions are being asked about the Claret and Blues’ survival.
Former Sheffield Wednesday manager Brian Laws was the surprise choice to replace Bolton-bound Coyle and a trip to Old Trafford is hardly an ideal opening fixture.
The champions’ home is still a fortress with a lone defeat and draw against eight wins from ten league games. Under Coyle, there were stark differences between Burnley’s home and away form – 19 points at Turf Moor, one on the road – and the question for bettors is whether that will continue in the Laws era.
For those considering a bet, the odds point to an overwhelming home victory to cheer the Old Trafford faithful so how should we approach this game?
With United’s dominance reflected in the match odds, the value will lie with taking an extreme position – for instance, backing a slimmer than expected victory or going hell for leather on the number of goals scored.
The quote of 2.28 (5-4) that there will be over 3.5 goals in the game suggests an avalanche is on the cards. But remember, as long as the game kicks off with a few goalless minutes those odds will only get bigger. Since a 5-3 defeat at West Ham, all five of Burnley’s games have finished under 2.5 goals. A small lay of over 3.5 is recommended.
With United’s walking wounded making their way back to a stricken home defence, it’s doubtful whether Burnley will manage to score any goals of their own. A clean sheet for the Reds is skinny at 1.8 (4-5) but it should be backed.
Elsewhere in the league, Liverpool have suffered another week from hell and it may get worse yet. Fernando Torres left the field midway through the first half of Wednesday night’s FA Cup shocker against Reading and he’s joined on the sidelines by Steven Gerrard and Yossi Benayoun. This weekend’s opponents, Stoke, have come in from 7.4 (13-2) to just 4.2 (16-5) to win and they are still worth backing at that price. United may have suffered a few trying results this season but these truly are desperate times for Liverpool.