Manchester United 3-1 Burnley
- Goals: Mason Greenwood (£7.0m) x2, Edinson Cavani (£7.9m) | James Tarkowski (£5.3m)
- Assists: Marcus Rashford (£9.5m), Paul Pogba (£7.6m), Donny van de Beek (£6.6m) | Ashley Westwood (£5.3m)
- Bonus: Greenwood x3, Rashford x2, Cavani x1
Manchester United’s win over Burnley on Sunday means that the Red Devils need just eight points from their final six games to secure a top-four spot.
The concerns from a Fantasy perspective are that Ole Gunnar Solksjaer may start preserving key individuals around their upcoming Europa League semi-final, particularly as there is little meaningful left to play for on the domestic front – assuming they have given up the ghost of catching their cross-city rivals.
But there was little evidence of minute-management in Gameweek 32, with United pretty much at full strength for the visit of the Clarets.
Bruno Fernandes (£11.6m) may have swerved the kind of rotation that has plagued the popular FPL assets at Manchester City and Chelsea but there was little reward for those Fantasy managers who have kept faith with the Portuguese schemer, as he blanked for the fifth time in seven matches.
He averages just four points per match from Gameweek 26 onwards, a seven-game spell that represents his worst run as a Fantasy asset since his move to England.
In mitigation, there have been meetings with Chelsea, Manchester City, West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur in a tricky-ish recent run – but blanks against the likes of Crystal Palace and Burnley have been more of a concern.
We’ll delve more into his recent output in a Members article this week.
Rashford shrugged off an ongoing foot problem to feature in this encounter, beginning the game up front in a central role. That was a bit of a blow to owners of Edinson Cavani (£7.9m), who would have been expecting the veteran Uruguayan to start more games than not in the absence of Anthony Martial (£8.6m).
In the end, Cavani came off the bench to score; over half of his FPL attacking returns this season have come when he has been a substitute.
As for Rashford, his manager said of his fine display and ongoing fitness battle:
I asked him how he was because he played so well. And I think because he played so well and he felt good out there, he was trying to force a 90-minute out of him. But he said that he was too sore. So it’s just pain that comes after he’s played for 60-70 minutes. He lasted for 80 almost today, so that was progress.
Rashford and Fernandes have five attacking returns apiece in the last nine Gameweeks – a total that Greenwood has matched in his last three outings.
Following his 15-point haul against the Clarets, the teenage forward is the fourth-most bought FPL asset of Gameweek 33 at the time of writing.
His benching against Spurs was a prime example of how there’ll always be the threat of rotation hanging over his head, particularly as United reach the latter stages of the Europa League.
But at £7.0m, there’ll still be a few takers.
His second goal was fortuitously deflected in but the goal rush has been no fluke: when FPL assets are filtered by their last four matches, Greenwood is top of the pile for shots in the box.
Missing from the Burnley side again was Nick Pope (£5.5m), who is working his way back from a shoulder injury.
Sean Dyche said after full-time:
We had to make a judgement call. We think he’s got every chance to be fit for next week.
Not that Pope’s availability has made much of a difference, as the usually solid Clarets are on the division’s longest run without a clean sheet (seven games) and have kept just four shut-outs in their last 20 fixtures.
James Tarkowski (£5.3m) grabbed Burnley’s goal but the in-form Chris Wood (£6.3m) once again impressed, being denied a goal after 15 seconds by the offside flag and posing a nuisance the United backline.
He himself has had 16 shots in his last four matches, just one behind Greenwood.
Matej Vydra (£4.8m) was benched, meanwhile, with Dyche later confirming that he wanted an extra man in midfield to deal with United’s strength in central areas.
Tarkowski’s goal means that United have conceded to every team ranked 7th or below bar Wolves this season, with half of their 12 clean sheets coming against the top six.
Manchester United XI: Henderson, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Fred (Cavani 45), McTominay, Greenwood, Fernandes, Pogba, Rashford (van de Beek 84).
Burnley XI: Peacock-Farrell, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Gudmundsson (Rodriguez 88), Cork, Brownhill (Vydra 88), McNeil, Westwood, Wood.