Manchester United swept aside Burnley in the only Gameweek 20 match of the day, after Everton v Newcastle United was postponed earlier in the week.
Our Scout Notes article reflects on the key Fantasy Premier League (FPL) talking points from the fixture.
RANGNICK RINGS THE CHANGES
Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick made six changes to his starting XI in Gameweek 20, in an attempt to get back on track after an underwhelming display at Newcastle United on Monday.
Two of those changes arrived up front, with Jadon Sancho (£8.9m) and Edinson Cavani (£8.4m) replacing the suspended Bruno Fernandes (£11.6m) and Marcus Rashford (£9.4m).
“Since we only played three days ago in an away game, when we got back very late, in the middle of the night, we could not train very much. So, we tried to prepare the team in the locker room with regard to what the game-plan should look like. Tonight is all about energy and raising the energy level.
When Edi (Cavani) came on at half-time at Newcastle, not only did he score the equaliser but he also had another two great opportunities. He is in good shape so, for me, it was logical to play him and Cristiano (Ronaldo) together. Yes, the other changes are just due to the fact that we only played three days ago. It is all about energy and fresh legs.” – Ralf Rangnick
As a result, the Red Devils showed more of an attacking edge right from the off, as they went on to score three goals in the first-half for the first time since January and record 18 goal attempts overall.
For Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.5m), the Portuguese is now into double-figures for Premier League goal involvements, with tonight’s goal and assist taking him to eight and three respectively for the season. That means he is now averaging over five points per match, a team-leading total. Notably, he also avoided his fifth yellow card of the campaign – which would have resulted in a one-match ban – and now has just one more fixture to navigate without a caution before the threshold increases to 10.
Following the 3-1 win, Rangnick remains unbeaten in his five games since replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the end of November, despite disruptions caused by Covid, with Wolverhampton Wanderers up next on Monday.
“The whole team performance was a lot better, I was pleased with the performances of our wingers. Jadon (Sancho) did well and Mason (Greenwood). Edi (Cavani) and Cristiano (Ronaldo), the work effort was amazing.” – Ralf Rangnick
SHAW IMPRESSES IN FIRST LEAGUE START UNDER RANGNICK
Elsewhere, two further changes saw Diogo Dalot (£4.5m) and Alex Telles (£5.0m) drop to the bench, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.1m) and Luke Shaw (£5.0m) starting their first league games under Rangnick.
And Shaw was especially impressive, as he ended the match with 33 final-third touches, 11 crosses (he took five corners) and three created chances, all match-leading totals. It’s also worth noting that he would have been handed an assist for Sancho, had it not gone down as an own-goal.
However, defensive issues remain at United, which will need to be rectified if he is to become a genuine option for our FPL sides.
Against Burnley, it was another nervous display at the back, especially in the first-half when they were carved open a number of times, with the Clarets ending the match with 10 shots which carried an expected goal (xG) value of 1.18.
Burnley’s xG shot map v Manchester United in Gameweek 20
BURNLEY WILL NEED DOUBLES TO TEMPT US
Burnley have games in hand, four in fact, and the timing of those Double Gameweeks will be absolutely key in determining just how much Fantasy interest they are afforded. Without them, the fixtures remain mixed at best:
BURNLEY’S FIXTURES STILL TO BE REARRANGED:
- Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur (weather)
- Burnley v Watford (Covid)
- Aston Villa v Burnley (Covid)
- Burnley v Everton (Covid)
However, if do see one or two of those previously postponed matches added to Gameweeks 21 or 22, the likes of Matthew Lowton (£4.4m) and Chris Wood (£6.7m) could provide value.
Prior to kick-off, Sean Dyche confirmed that Nick Pope (£5.4m), Kevin Long (£4.0m), Josh Brownhill (£4.3m) and Jay Rodriguez (£5.2m) have all tested positive for Covid-19, while Maxwel Cornet (£5.9m), Ashley Barnes (£5.2m) and Connor Roberts (£4.5m) also missed out through injury.
“We intend on getting on with things. A couple of bodies might come back because of the Covid situation and Maxwell Cornet might get around the squad. We will wait and see.” – Sean Dyche on Covid and injuries
Manchester United XI: de Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Bailly (Varane 66), Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Matic, Greenwood (Dalot 81), Sancho, Cavani, Ronaldo (Fred 90+3)
Burnley XI: Hennessey, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, McNeil (Pieters 84), Westwood, Cork (Stephens 58), Gudmundsson, Lennon (Vydra 74), Wood
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