Burnley recorded their first Premier League win of the season on Saturday with an emphatic 4-0 victory against Bournemouth.
With games coming up that look, on paper at least, winnable (against Cardiff away, then Huddersfield at home); the Clarets faithful will have been hoping that the post-Europa fog that Sean Dyche referred to, has now cleared.
However, things are rarely that straightforward and as if to demonstrate the fact, the Clarets were dumped out of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night, suffering a 2-1 defeat at League One Burton Albion.
Burnley will point to the fact that they made six changes and dominated the game, seeing two first half strikes ruled out for offside and hitting the woodwork in the second half. However, it was a dismal result and stands alongside recent failings in cup competitions that have seen Burnley also lose to Accrington Stanley, Lincoln City and Port Vale in the past four seasons in the League Cup and FA Cup.
However, despite the changes Burnley still fielded a strong side that included England goalkeeper Tom Heaton, record signing Chris Wood and Belgium midfielder Steven Defour, who played 70 minutes in his first appearance since January, following his injury lay off. He was sorely missed in the latter portions of last season’s campaign and will bring some much needed creativity to the Clarets midfield.
Sean Dyche blamed the player’s mentality for the midweek result – something that will need to be rectified before Sunday’s visit to Cardiff. The newly promoted south Wales team are already fighting for their lives, having had a torrid start to the Premier League campaign. However, they’re sure to find their feet at some point and will certainly be competitive, as you’d expect from a Neil Warnock side. With just two points on the board and having lost three on the bounce the Bluebirds will be keen to register something in a game I’m sure they’ll have earmarked as winnable – certainly given Burnley’s early season form.
However, following last week’s victory over Bournemouth and the roasting they’ll have faced from Sean Dyche following the Burton defeat, I expect Burnley to be on their mettle for this one and to record the first win on the road this season. I’m sure it won’t be pretty and I’m sure it won’t be high scoring, but I’m going for a 1-0 victory to the Clarets.
I expect Burnley to line up as follows: – Hart, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Lennon, Cork, Westwood, Gudmondsson, Vydra, Barnes.