Chelsea managed to arrest Burnley’s purple patch in the Premier League, but The Clarets have a real chance of qualifying for the Europa League as they are just two points behind Arsenal in 6th place with just four games to go. They have a good chance to get back to winning ways and put pressure on the Gunners when they travel to Stoke-on-Trent this weekend to take on a Stoke City side struggling to get out of the drop zone.
Five points away from safety with just four games to go, the Potters picked up a point against West Ham during the last round but are still winless in their last 10 league games. Paul Lambert’s side cannot afford to drop any more points but Burnley are in decent form and will believe that they can take all three points from this game. Here is the predicted lineup Dyche might field for this tie:
In early team news, Steven Defour, Robbie Brady, Scott Arfield and Ben Mee are all long-term absentees and are no closer to the first-team action. Jonathan Walters lacks match fitness but may yet make the squad and remains the only other injury issue for the Clarets ahead of this game.
Expected lineup (4-4-2)
Nick Pope has been brilliant and has kept Tom Heaton on the bench even after he is back from an injury. Pope should keep his place under the bar this weekend as well. With Mee out injured, James Tarkowski will play as the senior centre-back while Kevin Long is expected to keep his place at the heart of the defence for his side in this game.
Stephen Ward and Matthew Lowton are one of the first names on the team sheet and will start this game at left-back and right-back respectively.
Dyche has preferred Jack Cork in the midfield recently and should stick with him for another game. He could be partnered by Ashley Westwood, who is doing a decent job at the heart of the midfield for his side.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson has been a regular in the side and will start on the left side of the midfield, adding some mettle to the team while Aaron Lennon’s industry and pace will give Burnley some width on the right flank in the midfield.
Ashley Barnes had a decent game against Chelsea and scored the equaliser, which was in vain. He will lead the attack alongside Chris Wood, who needs to step up his game for this clash.
Here is how they might line up: