The Clarets go into this weekend’s game desperate to get back on track following consecutive maulings at the hands of Manchester City and Chelsea.
The last two games have seen Burnley concede nine and score none – albeit against two of the superpowers of the Premier League. It remains a very concerning statistic however – especially given that last season’s success was built on a solid defence, rather than any attacking prowess.
After their own horrible start to the season, Saturday’s opponents West Ham have improved under Manuel Pellegrini, though recent results have been patchy. Prior to the home Carabao Cup loss to Spurs, the Hammers had a reasonable result at Leicester, hanging on for a draw with just 10 men after the sending off of Mark Noble, in a game that was overshadowed by the awful tragedy that followed.
For Burnley, in form keeper Joe Hart will be keen to impress as he makes a return to one of the clubs where he was on loan, as he fell out of favour at Manchester City. It may sound odd to describe Hart as in form, given the porous nature of Burnley’s defence, but the keeper made four outstanding saves against Chelsea and was certainly not the architect of Burnley’s downfall in the previous game against City.
The City of London Stadium was the scene of one of the Clarets’ outstanding away victories last season and a repeat this time out would provide a morale boost after some of the recent tribulations – especially with a winnable home fixture against Newcastle to follow.
One encouraging sign for Burnley is that both Steven Defour and Robbie Brady completed 90 minutes against Chelsea. With the two of them finally fit, Clarets supporters will be hoping that they can provide the creative impetus that’s been lacking so far this season and which served them so well last term.
I predict a stubborn Burnley performance this weekend; something more in keeping with what is expected of Sean Dyche’s side when on the road, so I’m going for a 0-0 draw. It could well be a game that lacks quality, fluency and entertainment – but I think most Clarets will take that right now if it means a clean sheet and a point on the road.
I expect Burnley to line up as follows:- Hart, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Gudmundsson, Cork, Defour, Brady, Hendrick, Vokes
In news aside from the weekend’s game, many Clarets fans will be keen to support a charity game that takes place at 1pm on the 11th of November at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium, the home of Bamber Bridge FC.
A team of former Clarets stars are set to appear in the match between Burnley FC Legends and Swansea City Legends to raise funds for the Len Johnrose Trust and promote awareness of Motor Neurone Disease. Former Claret Johnrose was diagnosed with MND in March 2017 and has been widely praised for speaking candidly about living with the disease. Former Clarets stars taking part include Brian Jensen, Dean West, Graham Alexander, Micky Mellon, Steve Davis, Ian Cox, Mitchell Thomas, Paul Weller, Chris Brass, John Mullin, Andy Payton, Gareth Taylor, Alan Moore, Tony Grant, Paul Cook, Andy Cooke, Ronnie Jepson, Glen Little, Robbie Blake, and Francis Johnrose. The Clarets Legends team will be managed by the legendary duo of Stan Ternent and Sam Ellis.
Tickets for the match are £10 for adults and £5 for kids.