Back home to face fourth place West Ham
After two away games at Wolves and Newcastle, which yielded no goals and one point, we are at the Turf tomorrow for the first time since the controversial 3-3 draw against Crystal Palace three weeks ago.
With no snow forecast, we should avoid the ‘Match Postponed’ news that came less than an hour before kick off when we were due to play Spurs. This time we should be able to get onto the pitch for another important game as we continue to try and haul ourselves out of the bottom three where we’ve been permanently since week four this season.
We’ve previously beaten West Ham three times at home in seven Premier League games. The first of them brought Brian Laws his first points as Burnley manager and two seasons ago we ended a three game run of defeats with a 3-0 win against them.
But probably the most important of them was the 2-0 win in the 2018/19 season. We’d reached the half way point in the season with twelve points and had just been hammered 5-1 at home by Everton. Sean Dyche recalled Tom Heaton in goal and brought in Dwight McNeil. We won 2-0 with McNeil scoring the second, and went on an unbeaten run of eight games which was key in staying in the league.
We’re not quite there yet. We’ve two points less but have played five games less, although not even a blind man on Stan’s horse would think we don’t need to start winning soon. We go into the game three points behind Watford in 17th place and we’ve no leeway with the two teams below us who are now level with us on points.
Wood admitted he’d like to add to that tomorrow. He said: “Sometimes you have teams where it just clicks. I’ll be hoping for another. To keep the record going would be lovely, but the most important thing on Sunday is putting on a performance and getting the win. To keep a clean sheet and score a couple of goals would be amazing. We’ll have to see what happens.”
Wood is fit and ready to go but that’s not the case for some of our players. Ben Mee was ruled out at Newcastle with a shoulder injury while Maxwel Cornet came off with a thigh injury. Sean Dyche said Cornet has an outside chance and that they will make a judgement call with Mee although I’m not expecting either of them to play.
Ashley Barnes remains out but it looks as though Connor Roberts could be missing due to illness, and this just after he became the 91st player to play Premier League football for Burnley when he came on as a substitute at Newcastle. Dale Stephens, now fit again, has been following COVID protocols. This first came to light when he wasn’t in the squad at Wolves which is now ten days ago which could mean he’s available again.
Our team could be: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, Nathan Collins, James Tarkowski, Charlie Taylor, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Dwight McNeil, Chris Wood, Jay Rodriguez. Subs from: Wayne Hennessey, Will Norris, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Bobby Thomas, Erik Pieters, Jack Cork, Dale Stephens, Aaron Lennon, Matěj Vydra.
West Ham ended last season in sixth place in the Premier League in what was David Moyes’ first full season at the helm. He’d kept them un in 2017/18 before, strangely being ditched, but they decided to stick with him after they survived again two years later with a sixteenth place finish.
They ended that 2019/20 season with 39 points but ended last season with 65 and are on course to potentially beat that this season. They are this season’s intruders, currently sitting fourth behind three of the traditional top six with the others in the three places directly below them.
They’ve been beaten just four times. That’s only two less than us but their wins column, with eight, is significantly better than ours and only the top three have won more games. Half of the wins and half of the defeats have come away from the London Stadium. They’ve won at Newcastle, Leeds, Everton and Aston Villa while losing at Wolves and Manchester City.
Michail Antonio has six league goals for them this season and, although he hasn’t scored since October, goals have continued to come with no fewer than twelve players having netted in this season’s Premier League.
They couldn’t be in better spirits having beaten Chelsea last time out in the league and then had a big win against Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League this week.
Their team against Chelsea was: Lukasz Fabianski, Craig Dawson, Kurt Zouma, Issa Diop, Vladimir Coufal, Tómaš Souček, Declan Rice, Ben Johnson, Jarrod Bowen, Manuel Lanzini, Michail Antonio. Subs: Alphonse Areola, Arthur Masuaka, Pablo Fornals, Mark Noble, Andriy Yarmolenko, Nikola Vlašić, Said Benrahma, Alex Král, Harrison Ashby.
LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE
We’d won 4-0 at Wolves in the previous game and had all but ensured safety in the Premier League for another season with five games remaining.
Against a West Ham team going well, we started well and got ourselves in front through a Chris Wood penalty. It was Wood who was fouled. He kept an Ashley Westwood pass in play and beat Issa Diop before going down under a challenge from Tómaš Souček. It was an easy decision for referee Anthony Taylor to make and we thought we might be set for a first home win since January.
Although Jay Rodriguez missed a chance to equalise, we were well beaten by a team that was as good as any to visit Turf Moor last season. We could do without them playing that well tomorrow.
The teams were;
Burnley: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil (Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson 74), Chris Wood (Ashley Barnes 85), Matěj Vydra (Jay Rodriguez 61). Subs not used: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Will Norris, Phil Bardsley, Jimmy Dunne, Erik Pieters, Dale Stephens.
West Ham: Lukasz Fabianski, Vladimir Coufal, Craig Dawson, Issa Diop, Aaron Cresswell, Tόmaš Souček, Manuel Lanzini, Pablo Fornals, Jesse Lingard, Said Benrahma (Jarrod Bowen 78), Michail Antonio. Subs not used: Darren Randolph, Nathan Trott, Fabián Balbuena, Frederik Alves, Ryan Fredericks, Ben Johnson, Ademipo Odubeko, Conor Coventry.Follow UpTheClarets:
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