Burnley vs AFC Bournemouth
Venue: Turf Moor
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth head to Burnley on Saturday, as Sean Dyche looks to resurrect the Clarets faltering season.
Bournemouth look strong sitting comfortably 5th in the table and will look to continue that form against bottom-of-the-table Burnley in a clash of two British managers whose respective sides have had vastly contrasting starts.
Burnley currently sit rock bottom and without a win so far in the season, whilst Bournemouth are flying and currently sit in a European place.
The Clarets lost their first five games in the 1927-28 season, and with just a point from five Premier League matches, this is their worst top-flight start since. Propping up the table was not what was expected of a team that finished seventh last season, but they are conceding more goals, and just three goals have been scored.
Sean Dyche admits his side have not looked their old selves. Bournemouth are buoyant in fifth place, so much so that Burnley might regard a draw as a decent result.
Will this game ignite Burnley’s season or will there be more misery at Turf Moor, again inflicted by Bournemouth?
This is Burnley’s twelfth game of the season already; more than any other team in a major European league.
Sean Dyche’s team beat Aberdeen and İstanbul Başakşehir over two legs in Europa League qualifying before being knocked out by Olympiakos in the play-off round.
Those European commitments are now over but they appear to have taken a massive toll.
The Clarets picked up a point in a 0-0 draw at Southampton on the opening day but they have not gained a single point since.
Defeats to Watford, Fulham, Manchester United and most recently Wolves leave them adrift at the bottom of the table.
They’ve conceded 10 goals in those games; it wasn’t until 26th November that they conceded 10 goals last season.
After this match they take on Cardiff and Huddersfield so they must turn their season around quickly starting here.
Bournemouth will head to Turf Moor in a very confident mood. Wilson, King and Fraser are creating havoc for opposition defences having scored seven goals in the first five games amongst them.
That’s thanks to wins over Cardiff, West Ham and a 4-2 hammering of Leicester last weekend; they were 4-0 up at one stage of that match.
They’ve also picked up a point in a 2-2 draw with Everton; a game in which they were 2-0 down with only 15 minutes remaining.
The only blot on their record is a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea but there is no disgrace in losing to Sarri’s side.
That leaves them with 10 points, it took them until 4 November to get that amount last season.
They find themselves just outside the top 4 and above Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United, albeit at an early stage.
This game is a part of a run of winnable games, so can Eddie Howe’s side keep their magnificent run going?
Head to Head
Last three meetings:
May 2018 – Burnley 1-2 Bournemouth
Nov 2017 – Bournemouth 1-2 Burnley
May 2017 Bournemouth 2-1 Burnley
Full Head to Head record
Burnley – 11 wins
Draw – 11
Bournemouth – 6 wins
Burnley are yet to win a Premier League game this season.
Both teams have scored in the last six meetings between these teams.
Three or more goals have come in each of the last four meetings.
Joe Hart has started all five Premier League games so far, and if it hadn’t been for him, the scoreline at Molineux would’ve been far worse. He is expected to start for the sixth successive game, as Sean Dyche continues to ponder his best goalkeeping option.
Phil Bardsley and Charlie Taylor both struggled at full-back in that game so Stephen Ward and Matt Lowton are set to be recalled.
There won’t be wholesale changes elsewhere in the team though. Jack Cork and Jeff Hendrick will be vital in the centre of the park, and whilst Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson struggled defensively, his creativity will be invaluable in a game they simply must win.
Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes are also massively out of form and will be hoping for better service as they hope to get the goals that’ll get Burnley the points.
In and amongst all the doom and gloom there was one good news story last week.
Belgian international Steven Defour played for the under 21s against Bolton on Monday and is in contention to return.
He hasn’t featured since 20th January due to a long-term hyaline cartilage injury. Ben Gibson is still out with a groin injury. Both Robbie Brady and Nick Pope are set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Asmir Begović was left out of the Bosnia-Herzegovina squad over the international break but is the undisputed number 1 on the south coast.
Left-back Diego Rico, who joined from Leganés in the summer, has played his way into the team and should start again.
Likewise another player who joined from La Liga in the summer Jefferson Lerma.
Since coming into the side, he has impressed and will likely keep his place, partnered by Lewis Cook, who’ll come in for Dan Gosling.
David Brooks has been a revelation for both Bournemouth and Wales so far this campaign and will hope to be the difference.
Just like Ryan Fraser has been so far.
He scored against Cardiff and twice against Leicester so will he bag another at Turf Moor?
Josh King and Callum Wilson will start up front together again; they both scored as Bournemouth won 2-1 at Burnley on the final day of last season.
Charlie Daniels is Bournemouth’s only absentee this weekend as he recovers from a knee injury.
Bournemouth’s good form should just be enough to see them got another win.
Predicted Starting XI’s
Burnley: Hart, Ward, Mee, Tarkowski, Lowton, Gudmundsson, Cork, Hendrik, Lennon, Barnes, Wood
Bournemouth: Begovic, Rico, Ake, Cook, Smith, Fraser, Cook, Lerma, Brooks, King, Wilson
Prediction: Burnley 1 Bournemouth 2