The Toon are back in town
Burnley v Newcastle on a Monday night; that’s no surprise, it appears we are destined not to meet each other on a Saturday afternoon.
The last time that happened was in March 1983 although, admittedly, tonight’s game is only our fifth meeting since. This will be the third successive midweek game against them at home, a second successive season when we’ve seen the game moved to a Monday night for television, while it’s been one New Year’s Day fixture and a Wednesday night up at St. James’ Park with another midweek trip already confirmed for later this season.
We meet tonight with both of us lower in the table than we might have liked. They had an even tougher start than us. They didn’t win until November but this month’s two games have brought them maximum points with home wins against Watford and Bournemouth. With 0-0 draws at Cardiff, Crystal Palace and Southampton to add to that, they, like us, are on nine points but currently two places ahead of us because of a better goal difference.
We looked more like ourselves at Leicester, particularly in the second half, and it was good to see us defending well and keeping a clean sheet given the number of goals we’d conceded in the previous three games.
Since going fourth in the league last December, the home record has not been good, but left-back Charlie Taylor is looking for that to improve. “We want to make Turf Moor a fortress and be tough to beat at home,” he said. “That’s something we can definitely do. We want to win our home games and what better time to do it than against Newcastle on Monday.
“It’s very tight. It’s still early on in the season, but you want to beat the teams around you more than anything and we want to put as many points between us and the bottom three as possible.”
Taylor is likely to get a long run in the team. When injury updates are released, there’s hardly a mention for Stephen Ward since his knee surgery which suggests he’s going to be out for some time yet.
That means Taylor is more than likely to start in the same back four that played at Leicester. Ben Gibson came through an under-23 game two days ago with James Tarkowski not far behind after both had a second bout of surgery. So, Kevin Long will continue alongside Ben Mee in the centre with Matt Lowton at right back.
At Leicester, both Steven Defour and Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson were forced off with injuries. Guðmundsson’s kept him out of the Iceland squad for their two recent internationals but he, and Defour, are both fit while Robbie Brady, who has been easing his way back, got a lot of minutes on international duty to strengthen our options in the wide positions.
It’s difficult to determine what the team will be, but last time out at Leicester we lined up: Joe Hart, Matt Lowton, Kevin Long, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson (Robbie Brady), Steven Defour (Jeff Hendrick), Jack Cork, Aaron Lennon, Chris Wood, Sam Vokes. Subs not used: Tom Heaton, Phil Bardsley, Ashley Westwood, Matěj Vydra.
Newcastle too have their injury concerns and they will definitely be without left-back Paul Dummett who has picked up a hamstring injury on international duty with Wales.
Rafa Benitez also confirmed that Florian Lejeune and Jamie Sterry are still no available while doubts remain over the fitness of Jonjo Shelvey, Yoshinon Mutō and Jamaal Lascelles although none of them have been ruled out.
Their team for the 2-1 win against Bournemouth was Martin Dúbravka, DeAndre Yedlin, Fabian Schär, Federico Fernández, Paul Dummett, Matt Ritchie (Isaac Hayden), Sung-yeung Ki, Mohamed Diamé (Christian Atsu), Kenedy (Ciaran Clark), Ayoze Pérez Gutiérrez, Salomόn Rondόn. Subs not used: Karl Darlow, Joselu, Javier Manquillo, Jacob Murphy.
LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE
Last season’s home game was played on 30th October, the fifth anniversary of Sean Dyche’s appointment as Burnley manager, and he was able to celebrate with three points with the Clarets winning the game 1-0 with a Jeff Hendrick goal sixteen minutes from time.
The win followed a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City in the previous game and lifted us two places to seventh in the table.
The teams were;
Burnley: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson, Steven Defour (Ashley Westwood 76), Jack Cork, Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, Ashley Barnes. Subs not used: Anders Lindegaard, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Scott Arfield, Sam Vokes, Nahki Wells.
Newcastle: Rob Elliot, DeAndre Yedlin, Jamaal Lascelles, Florian Lejeune, Javier Manquillo, Jonjo Shelvey, Mohamed Diamé (Dwight Gayle 83), Matt Ritchie (Jacob Murphy 79), Ayoze Perez (Isaac Hayden 76), Christian Atsu, Joselu. Subs not used: Karl Darlow, Ciaran Clark, Jesus Gamez, Henri Saivet.Follow UpTheClarets:
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