Ralf Rangnick hails dream Manchester United partnership to quell Burnley’s ‘biggest’ threat – Casey Evans

For decades, the ‘big man up top’ has been a Premier League staple. Classically associated with the likes of Sam Allardyce, in recent years, Sean Dyche has made it his own, and Chris Wood was his partner in crime.

Burnley’s tactics are simple. Their midfield is not the most technically secure and has a limited range of passing, so to avoid losing possession and inviting pressure on themselves, they often kick it long to their ‘big man’ up top, who then can bring the ball down or head it on to one of the team’s wingers or his striking partner.

So vital is this tactic that when Newcastle United signed Wood, Burnley instantly moved to replace him with 6’6 Wout Weghorst, who will be a challenge for any defense he comes up against.

But Manchester United have the tools to deal with such a threat. The team as a whole has won the highest percentage of aerial duels in the Premier League at 55.1%, according to FBref, and the defense has been a big part of this.

Harry Maguires has won 74% of his aerial duels, and Raphael Varane has won 70.8%, which put them among the best in the world in their position and an asset to United in situations like this.

And Ralf Rangnick, in his press conference, seemed very happy with his centre-back partnership, especially Varane, he said:

“I think he has arrived in the meantime, he seems to be physically fit, has no issues anymore with injuries, up until he was substituted he did extremely well with Harry against a Championship team but an ambitious Championship team.

“I’m very happy to have him for tomorrow’s game, hopefully, we can have him in the same form for the upcoming games.”

United fans will be happy that both Maguire and Varane are fit as Victor Lindelof has been questioned for his aerial ability in the past. The Swedish centre-back has still won 66.7% of his aerial duels, but it seems when he loses his duels, they always lead to problematic situations as he is unable to recover well after being beaten.

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United have already shown so far this season that they can deal with Burnley’s main threat, as they won 3-1 only a few weeks ago in their rearranged Premier League fixture. Still, every game is different, and if United consistently allow pressure on themselves as they have done previously this season, they could suffer.

Under Rangnick have been improving game by game, but they’ve got to hope that they don’t come undone by what is a simple but effective tactic.

See also  Bolton Wanderers boss Ian Evatt on facing Doncaster Rovers & transfer window preparations

What do you think will be the scoreline between Manchester United and Burnley? Follow our United On My Mind writer Casey Evans on Twitter and get involved in the discussion in the comment section below.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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