Sunday, 23 August 2009

Burnley v Everton match preview

The Clarets have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the visit of Everton in the Premier League on Sunday.

Owen Coyle, in his 80th match as Burnley boss, is likely to pick the same team that performed so manfully in Wednesday night’s incredible 1-0 win over Manchester United, with skipper Steven Caldwell still not ready for a recall and Michael Duff still also unavailable.

Everton are under pressure to get a result already after a 6-1 tonking at home to Arsenal on the opening day, although the Toffees did boost their confidence with a comfortable home win in the rebranded Europa League on Thursday night.

They have also secured a work permit for Argentinian midfielder Ever Banega, who looks set to sign on loan from Valencia, but it is unlikely the deal will be done for the player to go into the team for Sunday.

Joleon Lescott is still angling away for a move to Manchester City and with Phil Jagielka still recovering from the knee injury that meant he missed the FA Cup final Everton, as Manchester United did in midweek, have selection problems at the back. Joseph Yobo is certain to start with teenager Jack Rodwell – scorer of a brace on Thursday – a possibility to slot in alongside him, although manager David Moyes may go for the experience of club captain Phil Neville instead.

Everton are also without playmaker Mikel Arteta and they will miss his calming influence in midfield as well as his unerring accuracy from free kicks.

The visitors will line up in a 4-5-1 formation with either Jo or Louis Saha leading the line, relying on twin tower midfielders Marouane Fellaini and Tim Cahill to get forward in support, as well as Steven Pienaar from the flank. Rodwell and Pienaar will both face late fitness tests but with the Toffees’ squad already stretched due to long-term injuries for forwards Victor Anichebe and Yakubu, it is likely they will play through the pain if asked.

The Clarets are likely to play a similar shape, although they may rejig their forward line with Martin Paterson and Steven Fletcher able to swap positions.

Any positive result for Burnley would be a huge boost ahead of a testing double-header of away games to Chelsea and Liverpool, and four points from three games would be excellent progress. But Everton will be looking to get their first points in the bag and look at moving up the table.

The Clarets’ excellent home form – they have won their last seven at Turf Moor – gives them a record to defend as they look to make Turf Moor a ground to fear for travelling teams. Everton haven’t lost in their last four on the road.

If Burnley play half as well as they did against United, and Everton half as badly as they did against Arsenal, it should be another home win. But all the signs point towards a draw being a result that would suit both teams.

Prediction: 1-1

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