It will be a clash between two clubs win-less in their last two at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon as Burnley, 14th in the Premier League, entertain sixth-placed Everton. Ronald Koeman’s Toffees will be looking to consolidate their position in the top six and make a push for the top four following their creditable draw at Manchester City last week, whilst Sean Dyche’s Clarets will be looking to put some daylight between themselves and the relegation trapdoor.
Burnley have only picked up one win in their last three, a 2-0 triumph over Watford which was only the Clarets’ second win of the season. Both of those wins have incidentally come at Turf Moor, and so there will be optimism amongst the fans that they can topple Everton here having already overcome the Toffees’ Merseyside rivals Liverpool on their home turf on the second weekend of the season. They do however come into the game off back-to-back defeats, and they are in need of a lift of form if they are to really stake a claim to survival this season.
Everton meanwhile are winless in three. Their last triumph was a 3-1 home victory over Middlesbrough, which they followed up with a defeat at Bournemouth and two draws, including a hard-earned point at the Etihad last weekend. This game looks to be one in which Maarten Stekelenburg won’t be as busy however, and with that result in mind, Koeman’s Toffees can make the trip to Lancashire full of confidence and will see this game as an opportunity to consolidate their top six spot and really make a push towards that coveted top four. It has been a happy hunting ground for Everton in recent years and the Clarets are rather favourable opponents, the Merseysiders having won their last three against Burnley in all competitions.
Steven Defour’s injury-induced absence could see Burnley revert back to 4-4-2 with Patrick Bamford handed his first start of the season up front alongside Sam Vokes, with Andre Gray’s suspension expiring after the weekend. Jeff Hendrick is the favourite to partner Dean Marney in midfield, with Johann Berg Gudmundsson and George Boyd running the flanks in front of the standard back-four of Matt Lowton, Ben Mee, Michael Keane and Stephen Ward.
With Leighton Baines struggling with injury, Bryan Oviedo could continue in his place at left-back, whilst a recall is expected for Ross Barkley after his omission last week, with Koeman warning the England youngster that he must start fulfilling his potential. Kevin Mirallas is expected to flank Barkley on the left with Yannick Bolasie on the right, and Romelu Lukaku continuing as the spearhead.
Burnley predictes starting XI Everton predicted starting XI
Andre Gray serves the last of his four-match suspension and will miss this weekend’s clash for the hosts, whilst Steven Defour is sidelined after suffering a hamstring injury against Southampton last weekend. Long-term absentee Ashley Barnes has stepped up his recovery to feature for Burnley’s development side but remains a long way short of match fitness.
For Everton, Leighton Baines continues to struggle with a muscle injury that has kept him out of Everton’s last four matches, and it is unlikely he’ll make a return at Turf Moor after not making the bench last week. Aaron Lennon is also doubtful, whilst Muhamed Besic, Matt Pennington and Tyias Browning are all out.
Burnley have only won two of their eight league matches this season but their home record does read as a saving grace, with only one loss in four at Turf Moor. Everton meanwhile have suffered a dip in results since climbing as high as second in the table in September. They are without a win in their last four competitive matches having started the season unbeaten in six. They have drawn their last two to ensure they have kept picking up points but will need to get back to winning ways to stay in the mix as European contenders.
The Toffees however have only netted twice in their last four matches and a tough, battling fixture is on the cards here. The absence of Steven Defour in midfield for the Clarets however may prove detrimental to their hopes of a win here. We’re going for a full-time score of Burnley 1-2 Everton.
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