Back home after that big away win
Last Saturday, around 7:30 p.m., the away section at Crystal Palace went crazy as the Clarets picked up a first away win of the season. That win has taken us to 39 points and on the brink of securing our Premier League place for the 2017/18 season.
We’ve all done the maths I assume and know it will take Swansea to win their last three games and us to pick up no more than one point, that is now the only way we could possibly be relegated, so until we get the points we’ll also have our eyes on Swansea who won’t play until Saturday evening this week against Everton at home.
Before looking at the game, I think it is very right that this preview mentions Charlie Proctor. He’s a 4-year-old boy suffering from hepatoblastoma, a rare form of liver cancer. His family are trying to raise money for treatment in America and the East Lancashire clubs have rallied round.
Charlie’s an Accrington fan and was recently a mascot at one of their home games. He also carried out mascot duties at Ewood Park last week when Blackburn Rovers played Aston Villa and tomorrow he’ll lead Burnley out. Charlie will likely be wearing his Accrington Stanley kit but, as I saw on a picture of young Bradley Lowery, the young Sunderland fan with neuroblastoma.
CANCER HAS NO COLOURS
So, three games left and almost, yes almost there. I wonder how many of us would have thought that possible when we kicked off the season back in August. Despite all the almost fruitless travelling away from home for nothing for much of the season, I’m still pinching myself at how well we’ve done, already six points past our last Premier League season and with a points total that would have comfortably kept us up in both 2009/10 and 2014/15.
Ben Mee missed out last week for the first time in well over two years. He’d come off at half time in the home game against Manchester United with a shin injury that ruled him out at Selhurst Park. His replacement, James Tarkowski, had an outstanding first Premier League start, helping keep Christian Benteke quiet.
Ahead of tomorrow’s game, when he’s expected to play again, he said the team would still be pushing hard in all of the last three games. “You deserve where you get to be in this league,” he said. “Nobody gets anywhere by luck. We have earned every point so far but we still need to carry on with our job. We’re not guaranteed safety yet, so there are a few more points to pick up.”
Speaking about last week, he added: “It’s a big part of the way we work here. Everyone is always ready. Last week a few people came in who had not played for a while and put in very good performances.
“It’s testament to the way we train and we reaped the rewards for that with the way we performed last week. It’s nice to get a game. Me and a few lads have probably sat and watched a bit more football than we would have liked to this season but that’s the way the game is sometimes.”
Sean Dyche has indicated that there are doubts over three of his back four with only Matt Lowton apparently fit. There were contrasting suggestions as to the likelihood of them being fit and I would think Mee has the least chance, Stephen Ward a bit better while it did appear as though Michael Keane could be fit enough to continue as, now, our only ever present.
If Mee is the only one to miss out, our team could be the same as started at Palace last week, namely: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, Michael Keane, James Tarkowski, Stephen Ward, George Boyd, Jeff Hendrick, Ashley Westwood, Scott Arfield, Sam Vokes, Ashley Barnes. Subs from: Nick Pope, Kevin Long, Jon Flanagan, Steven Defour, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Robbie Brady, Andre Gray, Dan Agyei.
Our visitors West Brom arrive in 8th place in the league. No matter what happens in their remaining four games they won’t go any higher but they are looking for their highest ever points total.
They were the proverbial yo-yo team between 2002 and 2010 when they won four promotions to and suffered three relegations from the Premier League, but since that last promotion in 2010 they have now had seven successive seasons in the top flight.
They’ve had something of a hiccup in the last couple of months though, winning just one of their last eight games and drawing one. The win was a 3-1 home victory against Arsenal and that is the only game in those eight when they have found the net.
They’ve scored a total of 39 league goals this season, that’s four more than us, with Salomon Rondon leading the way with seven. He scored in the 4-0 win against us but has scored in only game since, that a hat trick in their 3-1 home win against Swansea in December.
The team news from the Hawthorns is that both Matt Phillips and Hal Robson-Kanu remain out with hamstring injuries. Darren Fletcher was a surprise omission last time out against Leicester but he’s expected to return while James McClean could also get a chance.
They could line up: Ben Foster, Craig Dawson, Gareth McAuley, Jonny Evans, Allan Nyom, Darren Fletcher, Jake Livermore, James McClean, Chris Brunt, Nacer Chadli, Salomon Rondon. Subs: Boaz Myhill, Marc Wilson, Rakeem Harper, Sam Field, Jonathan Leko, Claudio Yacob, James Morrison.
LAST TIME WE WERE THERE
West Brom’s last visit to Burnley ended in a 2-2 draw but it was a game that hammered a nail into our relegation coffin with midfielder Dean Marney suffering a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament which left us without him for the remainder of the season.
It all started well for us and just past the half hour we were 2-0 up with headed goals from strike pair Ashley Barnes and Danny Ings, the latter scoring his last ever Turf Moor goal. We were very much worth the lead and were by far the better side.
Soon after the second goal Marney went down injured. He was able to continue and did so up to half time when that 2-0 lead was reduced just before the interval when Chris Brunt scored from a corner. Television pictures showed clearly that referee Mike Dean, he who doesn’t allow pulling and the likes in the box, should have disallowed the goal.
Having lost a two goal lead in the previous game against Crystal Palace, which we lost 3-2, nerves set in and midway through the second half the equaliser came as Ideye Brown scored from a corner as Craig Dawson was wresting most of our players to the ground.
Despite that, we were still the better side but just couldn’t find a third goal and had to settle for a point with the next two fixtures daunting trips to face Manchester United and Chelsea.
Overall the performance had been good, as good as we’d seen all season, but we couldn’t get the win it deserved although the point did lift us out of the bottom three.
The teams were;
Burnley: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier, Michael Keane, Jason Shackell, Ben Mee, George Boyd, Dean Marney (Michael Kightly ht), David Jones, Scott Arfield, Danny Ings, Ashley Barnes. Subs not used: Matt Gilks, Steven Reid, Michael Duff, Ross Wallace, Sam Vokes, Lukas Jutkiewicz.
West Brom: Ben Foster, Craig Dawson, Gareth McAuley, Joleon Lescott, Chris Baird (Brown Ideye ht), Callum McManaman (James Morrison 82), Darren Fletcher, Claudio Yacob, Chris Brunt, Stephane Sessegnon, Victor Anichebe (Saido Berahino 18). Subs not used: Jack Rose, Andre Wisdom, Sebastien Pocognoli, Craig Gardner.Follow UpTheClarets:
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