Inconsistently weird, that is how one can sum up Burnley’s season this time around. Despite churning out some decent performances with a less mediocre squad, Sean Dyche is yet to see a win for his side since the second week of December. The ginger-haired gaffer certainly knows how to get out a good result and starting this match, every game would be important for their fortunes of finishing in the top half of the table.
Good news first, as Tom Heaton is set to return to first-team action in some time as the captain has more or less recovered from his long layoff. He will not feature in the playing XI, as the manager would better reasons to replace a consistent Nick Pope. Steve Defour is ruled out of the season after undergoing a knee surgery. The manager has confirmed that James Tarkowski and Chris Wood are in contention to return to the squad this weekend and that sums up the team news for the Clarets.
Nick Pope has been commanding, assuring and confident between the sticks for the Clarets, as his consistently good performances have impressed many people this season. The youngster is all set to earn his first international call-up now.
Matthew Lowton is a defensively aware right back and hardly wanders ahead. He will play on the right side of the back four against the Toffees too. Similarly, Stephen Ward is not much offensive and hence these two provide greater solidity to Burnley’s defence.
Ben Mee has been the first choice centre-back this season as his positioning and aerial prowess makes him perfect for this slot. Kevin Long too has notched up some noteworthy performances too.
Jack Cork is someone who likes to sit in front of the defence and he sneaks in at the back to make the defence even more compact at times. Cork has made 25 appearances in the Premier League and is crucial in Dyche’s setup for Burnley. Ashley Westwood is another player whose presence in front of the defence helps Burnley to build a strong backline to escape from any counter-attacking threat. His positioning around the box and physical edge give him an advantage over the opponent numbers in the midfield.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Aaron Lennon will provide width and creativity from the wings. They will try to stretch the defence back and would want to put in some decent deliveries so that Burnely’s target-men can head the ball into the net. Lennon especially would be keen to get one over his former club and there couldn’t be a better time that this match to do so.
Jeff Hendrick will play in an inwards position behind the striker as he will play between the lines to link the midfield with attack. Cork and Westwood are extremely defensive and Burnley need someone agile and quick to drop down the pitch to connect and join the dots. Ashley Barnes, meanwhile, will use his strength and aerial prowess inside the box.