Wolves here for last pre-Christmas game
Tonight will see us play our final game prior to Christmas with Wolves our visitors at Turf Moor with a 5:30 p.m. kick off in front of the Sky cameras.
I think most Burnley fans must have been really pleased with the last home performance against Everton which brought us a point from a 1-1 draw and I am certain we’d have all been delighted then if told that we would return for tonight’s game with four points from the two away games at Arsenal and Aston Villa.
With the games staggered now for television we’ve been in and out of the bottom three more than once since the last home game. Right now, we sit third from bottom with Fulham having gone above us on goal difference courtesy of their draw at Newcastle. A draw tonight would take us back above them; a win would see us also move ahead of Brighton and would, incredibly, leave us just one point behind Arsenal, and with a game in hand.
The improvement in form has coincided with the reduction in the injury list. We are still not quite there but we have players coming back. Phil Bardsley, who hasn’t played since the defeat at Newcastle at the start of October, was back on the bench at Aston Villa although he’s going to have to try and displace Matt Lowton now who came back in for the Spurs home game and has now played each of the last eight league games.
He added: “We’ve picked up recently, got some points on the board and started getting clean sheets back in as well, which is what we like to build on. With the games coming thick and fast, hopefully we can get some more points on the board and start moving up the table.”
We’ve had no injuries reported from the Villa game so from that we can assume all those involved are fit and ready to go tonight. They won’t be joined by any of Jack Cork, Dale Stephens or Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson. The club have confirmed that none of them are ready to step back into the first team squad yet although all three are getting ever closer.
With that in mind, it would be no surprise to see us line up as we did at Villa with just a couple of additions to the bench which, from today’s game, now sees us able to included nine players.
I suspect the team will be: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Robbie Brady, Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Dwight McNeil, Chris Wood, Jay Rodriguez. Subs from: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Jimmy Dunne, Erik Pieters, Josh Benson, Anthony Gomez Mancini, Lewis Richardson, Max Thompson, Ashley Barnes, Matěj Vydra.
Wolves come to Burnley in 11th place in the Premier League and that represents a decent start for them given their 2019/20 season. One year after us, they had the issue of Europa League qualification but, unlike us, they won through and went on to have surely what is one of the longest seasons ever. They might have had easier draws than us but It all kicked off on 25th July 2019 with a 2-0 home win against Crusaders and their season didn’t end until 11th August 2020 when they were beaten 1-0 by Sevilla with the goal coming late in the game, this coming five days after they’d done us a favour with victory over Olympiacos.
Raúl Jiménez scored the goal in that win against Olympiacos, he scored twice against us in the 1-1 draws last season but sadly won’t be around tonight having suffered an horrific head injury in their recent game at Arsenal. He’s an outstanding player and will be missed badly by Wolves. He’d scored four of their nine league goals at that time. That total has now increased to 13 with Pedro Neto (pictured) now having reached that total of four goals.
Apart from Jiménez, Nuno Espirito Santo could have a full squad to choose from. Both Leander Dendoncker and Willy Boly came off injured in the win against Chelsea but latest reports suggest both could be fit.
The Wolves team in their last game against Chelsea was: Rui Patrício, Willy Boly, Conor Coady, Romain Saïss, Nélson Semedo, Leander Dendoncker, Rúben Neves, Marçal, Daniel Podence, Fábio Silva, Pedro Neto. Subs: John Ruddy, Ki-Jana Hoever, Rayan Aït-Nouri, Vitinha, Adama Traoré, Max Kilman, Owen Otasowie.
LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE
Wolves were the penultimate visitors to Turf Moor last season with the game played on a Wednesday in mid-July with the Clarets settled into ninth place in the table.
We’d drawn 1-1 at Molineux early in the season with Wolves equalising with a stoppage time penalty and it was roles reversed here with Burnley, through Chris Wood, scoring a late spot kick to earn a point.
For the first half hour, Wolves were the better team but we came more into it as the half went on although again the injury jinx struck with Charlie Taylor being forced off. Overall, they had been the better side so we had to be thankful for the 0-0 scoreline.
It looked all over but could we get that one last chance. We did when substitute Robbie Brady crossed from the right. Matěj Vydra headed down for Chris Wood to score but incredibly our leading goalscorer headed wide.
By the time we’d recovered from that miss, referee Mike Dean was pointing to the penalty spot for a handball by Matt Doherty and Wood this time made no mistake from the penalty spot and we’d got our equaliser six minutes into stoppage time and another point.
The teams were;
Burnley: Nick Pope, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, James Tarkowski, Charlie Taylor (Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson 30), Erik Pieters, Josh Brownhill (Robbie Brady 85), Ashley Westwood, Dwight McNeil, Jay Rodriguez (Matěj Vydra 51), Chris Wood. Subs not used: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Jimmy Dunne, Anthony Glennon, Mace Goodridge, Josh Benson, Max Thompson.
Wolves: Rui Patrício, Willy Boly, Conor Coady, Romain Saïss, Adama Traoré, Rúben Neves, João Moutinho, Rúben Vinagre (Jonny Otto 84), Diogo Jota (Pedro Neto 78), Raúl Jiménez (Leander Dendoncker 84), Daniel Podence (Matt Doherty 70). Subs not used: John Ruddy, Bruno Jordão, Morgan Gibbs-White, Max Kilman, Oskar Buur.Share this page :