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Everton vs Burnley: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction

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Everton will look to record just their third Premier League win of the season when a high-flying Burnley take the short trip across the north west to Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon.

Sean Dyche’s side have started the year in impressive fashion, losing just once in their opening six matches, and they’ll provide another stern test for an Everton side that are struggling to grind out results.

Yet Ronald Koeman will hope his side’s comeback victory over Bournemouth last time out can add some inspiration around Merseyside and kick-start a season that hasn’t got going just yet.

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Despite spending over £100million during the summer on some well-known names, Everton have found it difficult to convert that into results on the pitch with just two wins from their first six league games.

Consecutive defeats against Chelsea (2-0), Tottenham (3-0) and Manchester United (4-0) had dampened spirits around Goodison somewhat but they secured a much-needed win last week against the Cherries.

Their Europa League adventure hasn’t quite gone to plan either, losing heavily away at Atalanta before being held at home by Cypriot minnows Apollon Limassol to leave them at the bottom of Group E.

The visitors have fared a little better so far this season, only losing the once against West Brom, and they’ve already surprised a few by drawing with Liverpool and Tottenham and seeing off Chelsea.

They’ll arrive on Merseyside with a fine away record too, unbeaten in their first three matches – all three of which ironically were against these top-six contenders – and they’ll want to extend the run.

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Ronald Koeman could be without the services of both Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane after the defensive duo missed out on the draw with Apollon Limassol through respective injury problems.

That could see young Mason Holgate drafted into the centre of defence alongside Ashley Williams, with Everton potentially reverting to a four-man defensive system to cater for their lengthy injury list.

There’s little to report for Burnley ahead of Sunday’s clash, although Jonathan Walters could be in contention for a spot on the bench after recovering from an ongoing ligament problem in his ankle.

Predicted Line-Ups

Match Prediction; Everton 2-1 Burnley

Ronald Koeman will be desperate to see a reaction from his team after their disappointing late set-back against ten-man Apollon on Thursday, and he will want to make it two wins from two in the league.

But it certainly won’t be an easy task against a disciplined Burnley team, who have only conceded five goals all season despite facing a tough run of away games against Premier League title contenders.

Oumar Niasse is in-line for a start after his starring role in the win last weekend and his presence could lift a depleted Everton side, and whilst it won’t be a stroll in the park the hosts should nick a close affair.

Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.

Burnley

Sold by Everton in January, Aaron Lennon is enjoying resurgence with Burnley

The 31-year-old has quickly adjusted to life at Turf Moor.

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Photo: Getty Images

In Thursday night’s tightly-fought Premier League match between Burnley and Chelsea, the Clarets came within touching distance of eclipsing Arsenal in sixth position.

It has been a remarkable charge up the table for Burnley, and their stunning season is mirrored by the transfer of Aaron Lennon from Everton to Turf Moor.

The 31-year-old winger left Goodison Park in search of regular playing time, and has since slotted into a squad far more ambitious than Everton.

When Lennon was bought by the Clarets in late January, Burnley were just three points ahead of the Toffees. But after Thursday’s match against Chelsea, Burnley now sit in seventh position, a massive ten points in front of Everton.

It is clear that Lennon made the smart move in the winter when leaving struggling Everton for buoyant Burnley.

The ten-point gap between the two sides is due mainly to a superb five-match winning run engineered by Burnley. Lennon had started all five of those matches, contributing two assists along the way along with a host of bright, attacking displays.

(Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Cruelly for the Merseyside club, Burnley’s scintillating spell was kickstarted by a 2-1 win over Everton, in which Lennon played all 90 minutes and earned an impressive WhoScored match rating of 7.3.

To make matters worse for Everton, Lennon’s match rating eclipsed both Theo Walcott’s and Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s, both players who were preferred in front of the 31-year-old at Goodison Park.

Although Burnley’s fine spell was narrowly ended by Chelsea in a 2-1 defeat, the club still harbours an outside chance at an audacious sixth-place finish. Burnley faces three sides in the bottom half of the table in the form of Bournemouth, Brighton, and Stoke City, as well as a massive match at the Emirates to face Arsenal.

With Arsenal enduring a terrible run of form in 2018, Burnley will fancy their chances away at the Gunners, and former Everton winger Aaron Lennon will surely be at the heart of their lethal attack.

If Lennon can achieve a record-sixth placed finish with the Clarets, he will show the Everton hierarchy just how wrong they were in letting him leave in January.

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Steven Defour wanted by Premier League clubs, David Moyes and West Ham makes sense

The West Ham boss tried to sign Defour whilst Everton manager in 2009.

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It looks as though Burnley might have a job on keeping hold of their Belgian midfielder Steven Defour this summer. His agent has confirmed this week that there is interest in the player from other teams in the Premier League, as reported by the Burnley Express.

Reports in Belgium have echoed these sentiments. Het Laatste Nieuws report that two mid-table English clubs are chasing the Burnley star this summer.

So who could it be?

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 31: West Ham United manager David Moyes gestures during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Southampton at London Stadium on March 31, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

Plenty of teams in the past have been linked with a move for Defour. The Belgium international was once considered one of Europe’s top talents. However, the time teams such as Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur were interested in the 29-year-old has passed.

But one man who has wanted Defour previously is West Ham manager David Moyes. The Scotsman was in charge at Everton in 2009 when the Toffees tried to sign Defour. As reported by the Telegraph Moyes had decided Defour was the man he wanted to improve Everton’s midfield. A bid of £9 million was lodged but the Merseyside club would not meet Defour’s then-club Standard Liege’s £12 million valuation. The Guardian later reported that Standard would only sell the player ii they failed to qualify for the Champions League that season. They did qualify and Defour remained for two more seasons before joining Porto.

Defour has now established himself in Premier League football. He was in great form this season before knee cartilage surgery in February cut his campaign short.

Standard’s Steven Defour (L) and Gent’s Milos Maric (R) fight for the ball during the Belgian first league football match AA Gent vs Standard, on May 16, 2009 in Gent, last day of the Jupiler Pro League Belgian football championship. Standard wins 0-1. Anderlecht and Standard will play a test match to appoint the winner of the championship. AFP PHOTO/ BELGA / BENOIT DOPPAGNE (Photo credit should read BENOIT DOPPAGNE/AFP/Getty Images)

West Ham need central midfield reinforcements. It is one area of the field that they are currently short and Moyes would surely jump at the chance to finally work with Defour.

Whilst the league table suggests Burnley is the place to stay, Defour would certainly struggle to reject a move to West Ham. The chance to play in London and try turnaround the fortunes for the Hammers will undoubtedly appeal to the 52-cap Belgian.

If Premier League clubs are keen on Defour, it will be no surprise if one of them is West Ham this summer. Moyes might finally get his hands on his man.

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Tottenham Hotspur star Georges-Kevin N’Koudou must now take Burnley chance

The £11m winger is currently on loan at Burnley.

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It was one of the longest and most drawn out transfers of the 2016 summer transfer window. Finally, on the 31st August that year, Tottenham managed to secure the signature of Marseille winger Georges-Kevin N’Koudou on a five-year deal.

ESPN reported that Spurs spent around £11 million on the winger, with Clinton N’Jie also heading the opposite direction on loan.

Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Kazaiah Sterling (L) and Tottenham Hotspur’s French midfielder Georges-Kevin N’Koudou (R) embrace on the pitch after the UEFA Champions League Group H football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Apoel Nicosia at Wembley Stadium in London, on December 6, 2017. Tottenham won the game 3-0. / AFP PHOTO / Glyn KIRK (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

The deal was first put together much earlier in the summer but the two clubs struggled to agree on the specifics. It left N’Koudou in limbo and out of sync when he finally did arrive at Spurs.

But simply put, this deal has not been a success. N’Koudou has played just 23 times for Spurs in the 18 months he had with the club before being loaned out in January. The 23-year-old headed to Burnley until the end of the season, as Sean Dyche looked to freshen up his wide options.

However, the move to Burnley has been a slow burn so far as well. Finally, he got his chance against West Brom at the weekend. With Johann Berg Gudmundsson sidelined with a calf injury N’Koudou was handed his first start by Dyche. It was in fact, his first start in the Premier League with either Spurs or Burnley.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – JANUARY 31: Burnley player Georges-Kevin N’Koudou reacts during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Burnley at St. James Park on January 31, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

It was a big chance for the talented attacker and he performed well in the game. Whilst not upping any roots he will have surely demonstrated to the Burnley boss he can be relied upon.

What N’Koudou needs now is a run of games in the first-team. His future at Tottenham is currently looking bleak, with such minimal first-team action and the club improving their wide options all the time.

What is needed is a good run of form at Burnley to show Mauricio Pochettino and co that he can hack it in the Premier League.

But if the West Brom start proves to be a flash in the pan, expect to see N’Koudou on his way out of Spurs in the summer.

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