Club football is back and Manchester United take on Burnley this evening in the EFL Cup. In this match preview, we identify five things we want to see from the Red Devils in this their first match after the World Cup.
1. A win
A win for United would take them through to the quarter finals of the competition. With Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs already out and one of Man City and Liverpool also sure to head home, the Red Devils should have every chance of reaching the final and possibly bringing home some silverware for the first time since May 2017 – more than five years ago.
For this reason, we expect Erik ten Hag to take today’s game very seriously and field a strong side.
2. Dominance and authority
A lot of players should be returning from the World Cup in confident mood. The likes of Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes, Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford all received plaudits for their performances in Qatar and it’s important that they bring that form back to club level. United have had some horrible defeats in the EFL Cup in recent years and this time we want to see a commanding performance with as little drama as possible to get the team properly prepared for the resumption of the Premier League on Tuesday.
3. A good performance from Harry Maguire
As mentioned, that Team of the Tournament award for Maguire needs now to translate into club form. Assuming he plays this evening, he needs to be flawless and show everyone he can still be a big asset for United.
4. A chance for Zidane Iqbal
Iqbal was outstanding for United on the pre-season tour and excelled again on the mini-tour in Spain during the World Cup break. The League Cup is the perfect vehicle for introducing the Iraqi to competitive first team football and we are looking forward to seeing him get minutes under his belt.
5. Improvement from Anthony Elanga
Assuming Jadon Sancho is still absent, Elanga is likely to play some part in this match, even if it is from the bench. He needs to produce. With the Januuary window coming up, another lacklustre performance could be the last straw in what has been a disappointing season and Ten Hag could decide to loan him out for six months.
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