AFC Bournemouth vs Burnley
Venue: Vitality Stadium
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Burnley could take a big step towards maintaining their Premier League status when they travel to a Bournemouth side in poor form.
A win could see the Clarets climb as high as 14th if other results go their way. More importantly, it could also extend their lead over Cardiff in 18th to eight points as they prepare to face the Bluebirds at Turf Moor next weekend.
Meanwhile, Eddie Howe’s side have a healthy 10-point lead over the bottom three and seem unlikely to be dragged into a relegation battle as we approach the business end of the season. However, a defeat could see them drop to 14th.
Sean Dyche’s men ended a run of four consecutive top-flight defeats last weekend with a vital home win over Wolves, whereas the Cherries have won just one of their last eight Premier League games.
Bournemouth’s Adam Smith could return following a hamstring problem, but Eddie Howe has revealed that he will approach the decision with caution. The defender last featured in a 2-0 win over Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium just under one month ago.
Steve Cook, Andrew Surman, Simon Francis and Lewis Cook are not yet ready to return to first-team action.
As for Burnley, Peter Crouch is still out of action after missing last weekend’s win over Wolves following appendix surgery. The former Liverpool and Tottenham forward has made just five appearances since arriving in Lancashire on the final day of the January transfer window.
Sean Dyche will also be without midfielders Steven Defour and Aaron Lennon who are still not ready following long-term injury issues.
Predicted Starting XIs
Bournemouth (4-3-3): Begovic, Clyne, Mepham, Ake, Daniels, Brooks, Gosling, Lerma, Fraser, King, Wilson.
Burnley (4-4-2): Heaton, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Hendrick, Westwood, Cork, McNeil, Barnes, Wood.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1 Burnley 1
The Cherries are hard to beat at the Vitality Stadium, having lost just four Premier League matches there this season. However, Sean Dyche’s men are desperate for points as they look to avoid the drop and will have taken confidence from their recent win over Wolves.
I’m going with a draw.