We’re at Goodison on Alan Ball Day
The Clarets are back on the road again tomorrow, returning to the city of Liverpool just two weeks after we got a point at Anfield although this time our opponents are Everton rather than Liverpool.
The blue side of Stanley Park will be paying tribute to former player Alan Ball tomorrow, one of their Holy Trinity alongside Howard Kendall and Colin Harvey, who was assistant manager at Burnley for a short time.
There will be events outside the ground at the match day hub and fanzone whilst inside Goodison there will be a visual tribute to the England World Cup winner ahead of kick off and his granddaughter Beau will be the Toffee Lady for the day.
But our trip to Goodison is to play our fourth away game of this Premier League season and I’m still pinching myself that we are going into the game unbeaten on the road, more so given that the three previous away games have been against Chelsea, Tottenham and that most recent one against Liverpool.
Last week, I sensed a real sense of frustration in the stands as we failed to break down a stubborn Huddersfield team. Threads on the message board have started pointing out that we are not getting good enough results at home, one even suggesting the record has been poor since last Christmas despite the first six post-Christmas home games all ending in wins.
During last season we got the same with the away results. It seemed the match previews fell into two categories, the confident home games and the less so away games. Last season I always suggested it didn’t matter whether the points came at home or away and it’s the same now and we go to Goodison with nine points so far from our six games and I can’t see how anyone can be disappointed with that return. It left us in ninth place at the end of last week’s games although we’ve moved up a place to eighth today due to Huddersfield’s defending not being quite as good against Spurs as it was against us.
Midfielder Jeff Hendrick was speaking this week about Michael Keane who left us for Everton during the summer. “It will be good to play against him,” Hendrick said. “We all got on with Keano, he’s a great lad. He’s a good player but we want to get one over on him.”
Looking towards the game, he added: “We’ve had some good results. We’ve had some tough teams to play against so far and picked up points against them. We’re happy where we are. Obviously, we want to win every game, but you can’t do that, it’s hard in the Premier League.
“We are in a good position and it gives us a good base to kick on from.”
Hendrick returned last week having missed four league and cup games with an injury and his only away game this season came at Chelsea on the opening day of the season. I would expect him to start tomorrow despite him not hitting his best form in the two home games since he returned to the side.
Sean Dyche confirmed that Jon Walters will be out for a while and that leaves us with four players out injured with Tom Heaton some way off and the other two, Dean Marney and Nahki Wells, now back in training and potentially getting some game time in the under-23s in the next couple of weeks.
I’m not expecting any changes from the team that played Huddersfield and we should line up: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, Scott Arfield, Steven Defour, Jack Cork, Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, Chris Wood. Subs from: Adam Legzdins, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Charlie Taylor, Ashley Westwood, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Sam Vokes, Ashley Barnes.
I think most are surprised at Everton’s start to the season in the Premier League. Having finished seventh last season, they’ve brought in a number of new signings and were tipped to potentially challenge the top six.
A 2-1 home win against Bournemouth last week, when they came from behind to win, actually lifted them out of the relegation places and was their first win since they beat Stoke on the opening day of the season.
In fairness, the four games they haven’t won have all come against the teams currently occupying the top four places in the league. In their other home game they were beaten 3-0 by Spurs and on the road they picked up a point at Manchester City but were beaten at Chelsea and Manchester United.
Oumar Niasse, having come on as a substitute, scored the goals in the Bournemouth win but prior to that they had just two goals, both of them scored by Wayne Rooney.
So all this talk of crisis and the manager being under pressure is beyond premature and things haven’t been helped with a string of injuries, the latest to central defenders Phil Jagielka and Keane. They remain Everton’s biggest doubts but they’ve had good news regards Rooney who has been passed fit despite sustaining a hand injury in their Europa League game on Thursday.
Keane (foot injury), in an interview with Everton’s official website, said he was desperate to play in the game and Koeman has said he and Jagielka (hamstring) will be given every chance to prove them fitness. One player definitely out is James McCarthy who, according to the manager, needs to step up his fitness with games for the under-23s.
In that interview, Keane said: “It’s a game I am desperate to play in. I have a lot of friends at Burnley and enjoyed a lot of great times there. It was one I was looking forward to at the start of the season, so I am eager to get back fit for it.”
Everton’s line up for their game against Bournemouth last week was: Jordan Pickford, Cuco Martina, Ashley Williams, Mason Holgate, Leighton Baines, Morgan Schneiderlin, Idrissa Gueye, Wayne Rooney, Davy Klaassen, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Subs: Maarten Stekelenburg, Jonjoe Kenny, Sandro Ramirez, Tom Davies, Oumar Niasse, Nikola Vlasic, Ademola Lookman.
Burnley have lost all three previous Premier League games at Everton. Our last points there came in January 1976 when goals from Peter Noble, Brian Flynn and Derek Scott gave us a 3-2 win in the old First Division, Everton’s goals were both scored by Bryan Hamilton and they included former and future Claret Martin Dobson in their team.
LAST TIME WE WERE THERE
Burnley’s search for an away win in 2016/17 was soon to come to an end. We didn’t make it in this game but won the next away fixture at Crystal Palace.
We lost the game 3-1 but once again showed just how much our away performances had improved during the season and with any luck at all we would have come home with at least a point.
Everton had a lot of possession in the first half but rarely got closer than around 30-yards to our goal and apart from a good save to deny Mason Holgate, Tom Heaton had a quiet 45 minutes. At the other end, Ross Barkley headed a Michael Keane header off the line and twice Joel Robles saved well from Sam Vokes. We deserved to be in front at half time.
Everton had stepped it up from the first half but we weren’t really under any pressure until disaster struck with just under 20 minutes remaining. A Barkley shot took a deflection off Keane and then a second deflection off Ben Mee and were so undeservedly behind again.
This time there was no comeback and three minutes later it was 3-1 when Romelu Lukaku got the better of Keane to score. We gave it a real go but there was to be no comeback although Sean Dyche said after the game: “Performing like that will get us what we all want,” and he was right.
The teams were;
Everton: Joel Robles, Mason Holgate, Phil Jagielka, Ashley Williams, Leighton Baines, Tom Davies, Idrissa Gueye (Enner Valencia ht), Morgan Schneiderlin, Ross Barkley (Ademola Lookman 90), Kevin Mirallas (Gareth Barry 76), Romelu Lukaku. Subs not used: Maarten Stekelenburg, Matthew Pennington, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Jonjoe Kenny.
Burnley: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, Michael Keane, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, George Boyd, Jeff Hendrick (Ashley Westwood 86), Joey Barton, Robbie Brady, Sam Vokes (Andre Gray 74), Ashley Barnes (Dan Agyei 83). Subs not used: Nick Pope, Jon Flanagan, James Tarkowski, Steven Defour.Follow UpTheClarets:
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