This time around, the League Cup round of 16 is in a spot that is exactly where it belongs. It’s a competition that is not quite a friendly, but also not quite important or meaningful.
Thus it is perfectly placed in what is the second preseason of 2022-23, the tail end of the World Cup break and just ahead of the return to Premier League action.
Manchester United vs Burnley FC FYIs
Competition: League Cup Round of 16
Kickoff: Wed Dec 21, 8pm GMT, Old Trafford, Manchester, UK
Man United Team News: go here
Transatlantic Passage: How the Premier League Redefined Soccer in America: LINK
Obviously, the Manchester United players for nations that were still active on the final weekend of the World Cup will not be available here for the League Cup clash against the Clarets. Ditto for the guys eliminated in the quarterfinal round: Antony, Fred, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes.
They will be given a chance to get fresh legs for the return to league action, which will get here before you know it, Dec. 27 against Nottingham Forest.
In other words, this won’t be a very strong United side, at all. But David de Gea (more on his uncertain future with the club at this link) should be in the mix
Man United Starting XI Prediction vs Burnley (EFL Cup Rd of 16)
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Mengi, Williams; McTominay, Van de Beek; Elanga, Martial, Garnacho.
Prediction: United 1, Burnley 0
Having dropped both of their exhibition matches in Spain, United should, emphasis on should, be fired up enough to capture a victory over Burnley here.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.