A claret and blue day at the Turf
The second international break is over and done with and we are back in action tomorrow with a home game against fellow claret and blues West Ham United. I don’t particularly enjoy the first part of the season constantly being broken up by the internationals but at least, this time, it’s given us an extra week to look at the league table with Burnley in sixth place.
Sixth, two wins on the road, at Chelsea and Everton no less, with a couple of draws thrown in at Tottenham and Liverpool. It’s not bad is it? We’ve never been this high in the Premier League before. We did make seventh last season, and in 2009/10 season, but that was after just two and three games respectively.
I know it is still very early in the season and not for one minute do I think we are going to do a Leicester (they were eighth at this stage two seasons ago with the same number of points as we have now) but it is all about getting as many points as we can get over the season and this start has been terrific.
Since we left Goodison Park twelve days ago, Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Iceland have joined Steven Defour and Belgium in booking a place in next summer’s World Cup Finals. Sam Vokes, sadly, has missed out with Wales but that means our five Irish players could yet be involved in the finals as could Chris Wood with New Zealand, but that will all depend on the play-offs.
Today, I was down at Turf Moor while the third and final phase of Our Turf Moor Heroes was completed. The first player today was Billy Hamilton and it had me thinking how much more interest I had in the 1982 World Cup because of him.
But all those players are back with us, the winners, the losers and the maybes, as we prepare for this visit of West Ham and it was no surprise that Gudmundsson, whose country is the smallest ever to qualify for a World Cup Finals, was the Burnley player to face the media yesterday.
“When I was a kid I watched the Premier League, the Euros and the World Cup,” he said. “I have played in two of them and, hopefully, in the summer I will play in the third. It was a massive thing when I was a young kid growing up to think this might happen. Now it has happened, I’m very grateful.”
He was left out of the side at Everton, with Scott Arfield preferred in the wide position following Jeff Hendrick’s return from injury, but he added: “Now I’m concentrating on playing as many games as I can for Burnley and being fit for the whole season.
“I want to contribute in any way I can, whether it’s an assist of a goal, I just want to help the team. There’s a lot of competition in the team but I want to play as many games as I can, so I will work every day to go back in the team and when I do I will try to do my best.”
I suspect it will be a place on the bench for him again tomorrow. Unless there are any injuries, other than the ones we know about, I’m confident Sean Dyche will go with the same team that won at Goodison Park for the first time in over 41 years.
That would see us line up: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, Robbie Brady, Steven Defour, Jack Cork, Scott Arfield, Jeff Hendrick, Chris Wood. Subs: Anders Lindegaard, Kevin Long, Charlie Taylor, Ashley Westwood, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Sam Vokes, Ashley Barnes.
West Ham’s win last May at Turf Moor, on the final day of the season, saw them finish in 11th place. At the beginning of April they looked as if they could be in some trouble, but only one defeat in the last seven games left them well away from the drop zone.
This season has been a strange one for them so far in that they played all of their first three games away from home and lost them all at Manchester United, Southampton and Newcastle. Despite losing at home more recently to Spurs, they have recovered from that start with home wins against Huddersfield and Swansea plus a point at West Brom from a 0-0 draw. That’s left them in 15th place, between Brighton and Everton with all three having seven points.
James Collins will miss tomorrow’s game but other than that, Slaven Bilic has a fit squad to select from although there are some concerns over Javier Hernandez who returned late from international duty for personal reasons. It has been speculated also that Declan Rice hasn’t travelled.
The suggestions are that Manuel Lanzini, who was a substitute last time out, and Marko Arnautovic, could return at the expense of Andy Carroll and André Ayew.
The team could be: Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, José Fonte, Winston Reid, Aaron Cresswell, Cheikhou Kouyate, Mark Noble, Marko Arnautovic, Michail Antonio, Manuel Lanzini, Javier Hernandez. Subs: Adrián, Angelo Ogbonna, Sam Byram, Arthur Masuaku, Diafra Sakho, André Ayew, Andy Carroll.
LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE
It was the final day of the 2016/17 season, both clubs were comfortably safe from relegation and it proved to be a disappointing end to what had been a terrific season for Burnley.
Unfortunately, West Ham levelled within four minutes through Sofiane Feghouli although we should have been back in front by half time.
The second half proved to be a real disappointment. André Ayew won it for West Ham and that meant a 17th place finish for Burnley who would have ended the season in 13th place with a win.
The teams were;
Burnley: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, Kevin Long, James Tarkowski, Stephen Ward, Scott Arfield, Jeff Hendrick, Ashley Westwood (Steven Defour 78), Robbie Brady (Johann Berg Gudmundsson 67), Sam Vokes, Andre Gray (Ashley Barnes 78). Subs not used: Nick Pope, Jon Flanagan, Tendayi Darikwa, Dan Agyei.
West Ham: Adrián, José Fonte, James Collins, Angelo Ogbonna, Sam Byram, Edimilson Fernades (Declan Rice 90+1), Robert Snodgrass (Ashley Fletcher 84), Aaron Cresswell, Sofiane Feghouli, André Ayew, Manuel Lanzini. Subs not used: Darren Randolph, Domingos Quina, Moses Makasi, Dan Kemp.Share this page :