Man United 0-2 Burnley
Goals: Chris Wood (£6.2m), Jay Rodriguez (£5.7m)
Assists: Ben Mee (£5.0m), Wood
Bonus Points: Wood x3, Nick Pope x2 (£4.6m), Mee x1
Manchester United have now gone 180 Premier League minutes without a goal in the absence of the injured Marcus Rashford (£9.0m).
The centre-forward has missed both fo the last two outings and in neither one has Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side looked like threatening their opposition.
While that came as no real surprise against Liverpool in Gameweek 23, for it to continue at home to a relatively out-of-form Burnley side is a new low for Manchester United and their Fantasy prospects.
Coming into Double Gameweek 24, the Clarets had conceded 23 goals in seven matches against last season’s top-six, the worst of any side in the league.
But they left Old Trafford with a 2-0 win and a clean sheet, their first shut-out since Gameweek 18.
That came as particularly frustrating news to those who sold Nick Pope (£4.6m) recently.
After a period of poor form and a high number of shots in the box and big chances conceded, suffered a slew of sales between Gameweeks 22 and 24.
However, he has now recorded back-to-back double-figure hauls saving the penalty on the way to 12 points against Leicester and pulling in 10 at Manchester United, courtesy of a clean sheet, seven largely routine saves and two bonus.
“I’m just so pleased for the players because they have to stay resilient through those tough times and ups and downs. The last two games have been a brilliant reward for staying true to what we believe in.” – Sean Dyche
Have Pope’s last two matches been serious cause for bringing the goalkeeper back into a Fantasy side? That’s entirely possible.
The Clarets have made impressive improvements against Leicester and United and now go on a run of Arsenal (home), Southampton (away), Bournemouth (home) and Newcastle (away).
For those without a slot for Pope in their squad, Charlie Taylor (£4.2m) has now started the last seven in a row at left-back and offers a much cheaper price than Ben Mee (£5.0m) and James Tarkowski (£5.1m).
Meanwhile, Chris Wood (£6.2m) secured himself a 12-point haul to continue an excellent run of recent form.
He scored and assisted in the 2-0 win at Old Trafford, and now has four attacking returns since Gameweek 21, boding well ahead of those aforementioned favourable fixtures.
On the Manchester United side of the divide, Anthony Martial (£7.9m) remains the most likely to find the breakthrough in Rashford’s absence, continuing in his centre-forward position.
He had chances to score but was denied by Pope on more than one occasion.
Naturally, Martial is suffering from reduced support provided by the attacking midfield. Without Rashford drifting in from his station on the left flank, it was easier for Mee and Tarkowski to marshal Martial on Wednesday evening.
Daniel James (£6.0m) and Andreas Pereira (£4.9m) were the options either side of the Frenchman while Juan Mata (£6.2m) operated as the number 10.
That meant yet another match on the bench for Mason Greenwood (£4.4m), who continues to frustrate his 13.3% ownership.
Despite recent comments from Solskjaer that the youngster would get more game-time while Rashford recovers from a long-term injury, Greenwood featured only in the second half against Burnley.
With Wolves (home) and Chelsea (away) up next and the problems ongoing at Manchester United, their assets are increasingly looking less attractive, especially without Rashford.
Manchester United XI (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Williams (Shaw 69′), Maguire, P Jones, Wan-Bissaka; Matić, Fred; D James (Lingard 69′), Mata, A Pereira (Greenwood 46′); Martial.
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Pope; C Taylor, Mee, Tarkowski, Lowton; McNeil, Cork, Westwood, Hendrick; Rodriguez, Wood.
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