Easter Monday brings a visit from the Blades
Having beaten Middlesbrough on Good Friday, the team who started the day in third place in the Championship, we now welcome second place Sheffield United to the Turf to complete our Easter programme.
Our win at the Riverside clinched promotion but it also did Sheffield United a favour. They now hold an eight point lead over third place Luton but had we lost at Middlesbrough then their lead would have been just six points.
I would think that their lead over Luton and Middlesbrough, and with a game in hand, is very likely to be enough to see Sheffield United promoted two years after they were relegated after an awful 2020/21 season.
They’ve looked likely promotion candidates all season. They went top after beating Blackburn 3-0 in their fifth game of the season and, but for a short time in October when they dropped to fourth, they’ve not been out of the top three since. On the weekend before the World Cup they went top on the Saturday only for us to pass them on the following day when we too beat Blackburn 3-0. They have been in second place ever since.
Middlesbrough beat them in mid-February at Bramall Lane and it kicked off a run of four defeats in six games which had them looking over their shoulders at Michael Carrick’s team but they’ve recovered with wins in each of their last three games against Sunderland, Norwich and Wigan, the first two of them coming away from home.
Like us they have won eleven away games and theirs is the second best away record in the league although, like most clubs, they have played one more game on the road. Besides Sunderland and Norwich, they’ve also won at Hull, Swansea, Preston, West Brom, Bristol City, Cardiff, Wigan, Blackpool and Reading.
Ndiaye scored their first equaliser when we played at Bramall Lane; McBurnie scored their second and went on to score their final goal as we fell to a 5-2 defeat. We weren’t good that day; someone said we actually made McBurnie look like Erling Haaland.
For tonight’s game, they will be without Daniel Jebbison who returned from international duty with England under-20s with an injury. Ben Osborn is also expected to miss the game while both Enda Stevens and Rhian Brewster are ruled out.
Burnley born Oliver Norwood (pictured above) was named as a substitute alongside McBurnie. It would be a surprise if both didn’t play tonight from the start.
They beat Wigan 1-0 on Good Friday afternoon and their team was: Wes Foderingham, Anel Ahmedhodzic, John Egan, Jack Robinson, Jayden Bogle, Sander Berge, Tommy Doyle, George Baldock, Iliman Ndiaye, James McAtee, Billy Sharp. Subs: Adam Davies, John Fleck, Chris Basham, Oliver Norwood, Ciaran Clark, William Osula, Oli McBurnie.
Burnley boss Vincent Kompany celebrates his 37th birthday today. He’s already taken us back to the Premier League but I don’t think he’ll want anything but a win to put the icing on this particular birthday cake. He’s so single minded, as we’ve seen since the day he came in, and I’m sure he’ll be wanting more wins until the end of the season, firstly to guarantee the title and then to create as big a points total record for our clubs as is possible.
For weeks I’ve been relaxed about our chances of going up. That’s done now, we will kick off next season as a Premier League club for a ninth season in the league. We currently sit eleven points clear of Sheffield United and I do think it is just a matter of time before we can claim the title. Having a fourteen point lead tonight would be just perfect.
Josh Brownhill captained the side at Middlesbrough until Jack Cork came on and he said about the occasion: “It just mean everything. I think you can tell from the celebrations at then end, it’s an incredible feeling. I haven’t been promoted out of this division, it’s something IN wanted to do and to get it done here, tonight, for Burnley, for the fans, it’s incredible.”
But he quickly turned his attentions to tonight. “I’m excited to be honest,” he said about the game against Sheffield United. “It’s a chance for another game, to go and hopefully win against a team that beat us early on this season. There’s a lot at stake still to try and be crowned champions, it’s what we want to do. It’s a good feeling, we’re promoted to the Premier League but we want to be champions at the end of the day, so we’re going to fight for that.”
Brownhill missed the game at Bramall Lane through injury so will line up against them for the first time this season although he’s played against them for us in the Premier League. He’ll play in a Burnley team that will once again be without Jay Rodriguez who hasn’t featured since the FA Cup draw at Ipswich in January.
Anass Zaroury, forced off early in the second half at Middlesbrough with an injury is also a doubt but, other than that, there has been nothing reported. There were concerns over Taylor Harwood-Bellis given his absence but that was cleared with Kompany not wanting to play him twice in a week following his return. He could play tonight and I do expect the manager to make changes.
Our team at Middlesbrough was: Arijanet Muric, Connor Roberts, Ameen Al-Dakhil, Jordan Beyer, Ian Maatsen, Josh Cullen, Josh Brownhill, Nathan Tella, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, Anass Zaroury, Ashley Barnes. Subs: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Hjalmar Ekdal, Jack Cork, Vitinho, Manuel Benson, Scott Twine, Michael Obafemi.
LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE
It’s some time since Sheffield United played a Championship game at Burnley. We go back to January 2011. Sheffield United had new manager Micky Adams in charge for the first time, replacing Gary Speed who had become manager of Wales, and Stuart Gray was standing in for us following the sacking of Brian Laws.
Mark Yeates gave them the lead but we were 3-1 in front by half time with goals from Chris Eagles, Chris Iwelumo and Jay Rodriguez, the last two coming in stoppage time. Ched Evans pulled one back from the penalty spot early in the second half but Steven Thompson scored five minutes from time to give us a 4-2 win.
Their last visit was in the Premier League in the final game of 2020. This was very much a banana skin of a game for us with Sheffield United bottom of the league and without a solitary win. They had two points and we were fourth from bottom at kick off with just thirteen points.
Ramsdale saved again from Chris Wood following a free kick superbly taken by Robbie Brady but at the expense of a corner. Brady it was again who crossed from the corner. It was perfect for Ben Mee to head home his first Turf Moor goal in almost six years.
We had some defending to do in the second half but never really looked threatened and the final whistle blew to bring 2020 to an end with a win.
The teams were;
Burnley: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor (Josh Benson 9), Robbie Brady, Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Erik Pieters, Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes (Dale Stephens 79). Subs not used: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Will Norris, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Jimmy Dunne, Anthony Gomez Mancini, Joel Mumbongo.
Sheffield United: Aaron Ramsdale, Chris Basham, John Egan, Jack Robinson (John Fleck 56), George Baldock, Ethan Ampadu (Oliver Norwood 66), Ben Osborn, Enda Stevens, David McGoldrick, Rhian Brewster, Lys Mousset (Oliver Burke 63). Subs not used: Michael Verrips, Jayden Bogle, Max Lowe, Kean Bryan.Follow UpTheClarets:
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