Well, the build up to this one has been well and truly overtaken by the news that Pardew is about to leave. As that still hasn’t actually been completed it’s difficult to jump in and start making any forecasts on what happens next. So we’ll leave that for a later date. However, whilst those talks are ongoing, United have placed John Carver and Steve Stone in charge of the first team.
It’s Burnley at home next and after an unforeseen win over Everton lifting us on to 26 points, looking at the state of the bottom of the league, you’d expect us to find the remaining 3 or 4 wins needed to stay up, no matter who’s in charge for the final 19 games.
Burnley are a poor side. They’re nowhere near good enough to be in the Premier League, yet under Pardew’s guidance, they gave us a bit of a run around and should have beaten us a few weeks ago at their place.
They’ll be inspired by a superb comeback to claim a point at Manchester City on Sunday, but, that was only their 3rd draw, the others coming at Leicester (2-2) and Crystal Palace (0-0). They have managed 1 win, at Stoke (2-1) but lost their other 5 away games. Ashley Barnes and Danny Ings both have 4 goals apiece.
They’re free of suspensions but Michael Duff, Stephen Ward and Matty Taylor are injury concerns for The Clarets.
In what is now becoming an increasingly ‘selective’ and carefully handpicked process, SKY,
oops, I mean the FA and Premier league have decided to issue a 3 game ban to Papiss Cisse for his elbow on Seamus Coleman. For the record, I have no issue at all with Cisse being suspended, however, having watched Shelvey and Sterling on Monday go unpunished, it’s clear that there is no consistency to the disciplinary process. Quite why we didn’t appeal and delay the ban until Cisse was able to serve it whilst being away on international duty in the African Cup of Nations is beyond me.
Davide Santon, Curtis good and Jonas Gutierrez got run outs in a practice match with Gateshead today, which is good news for all concerned. Cisse’s absence is likely to see Perez revert back to the solo striker role allowing either Cabella or Ameobi to play wide.
It was strange to see Williamson return to the side, that one really went unexplained and now that Pardew is away, it will likely remain that way.
Ryan Taylor – Knee – No return date
Siem De Jong – Groin – No return date
Gabriel Obertan – Groin – No return date
Tim Krul – Ankle – Chelsea (a) 10th January
Rob Elliot – Ankle – Chelsea (a) 10th January
Mehdi Abeid – Toe – Chelsea (a) 10th January
Rolando Aarons – Hamstring – Southampton (h) 17th January
Papiss Cisse – 3 games
Possible Team (4-2-3-1)
1.Jak Alnwick: 2. Daryl Janmaat, 5. Mike Williamson, 6. Fabricio Coloccini (Capt), 3. Paul Dummett: 4.Cheick Tiote, 8. Jack Colback: 7. Yoan Gouffran. 10. Moussa Sissoko 11. Remy Cabella: 9 Ayoze Perez.
Freddie Woodman, Davide Santon, Vurnon Anita, Emmanuel Riviere, Sammy Ameobi, Steven Taylor, Adam Armstrong
Referee: Mike Dean
History vs Burnley
This is our first competitive fixture vs Burnley at SJP since 1982-83 a fixture that we won 3-0 thanks to goals from Chris Waddle, Kevin Keegan and Imre Varadi. We would miss out on promotion, finishing 5th in Division 2 whilst Burnley were relegated finishing 2nd bottom. Attendance, 20,961
An older game for Mags of a certain vintage took place at Hillsbrough where the 2 sides met in an FA cup semi final. This looks absolutely brilliant as Supermac fires us to Wembley. Check out the scenes of our supporters going ballistic behind the goal. Brilliant!!!
Vital Burnley – Click here
Either a 2-0 to us, or one of those hideous Newcastle United performances that we know so well, like Reading (h) in 2012/13
Ings and Barnes
CHRIS BETTS – Follow Chris at @tfbettsy1892