Burnley face Everton at Turf Moor this Sunday still looking to win their first game of the season. They are now the only club in the Premier League or Football League without a win!
Clarets fans are beginning to think ‘we can`t win for toffee` after dropping another three points at home to West Ham last Saturday in a 3-1 defeat thus leaving Burnley still looking for their first win of the season. It has been pretty torrid so far although we have not really played that badly except for that horror show down at the Hawthorns when we got thumped 4-0. Even against the Hammers it could have been a different story had we taken our chances in the first half and we have had a number of encouraging draws too most notably at home to Manchester United and away to Palace and Leicester. It is not enough though and it is vital we soon get that first win on the board to boost confidence and belief. At the moment we seem stuck in the bottom three vying with QPR for the honour of propping up the league. Burnley at the moment ahead of the weekend fixtures are second from bottom ahead of QPR on goal difference with just four points from eight games. QPR do not play until Monday night when they face Aston Villa at Loftus Road. It is worrying though that even a win in our next game against Everton this Sunday would not lift the Clarets out of the relegation zone. Newcastle who are away to Tottenham on Saturday are third from bottom and already have seven points and we could not climb above Sunderland in 17th spot, fourth from bottom on eight points.
Why can`t we win for Toffee? At times we seem to have spirit and can play attractive football but our problems were exposed to the full against the Hammers. We are simply not taking our chances and at this level you are punished. Our main strike threat of Ings and the Juke are failing to produce the goods this season and both remain goalless. Barnes and Sordell are also firing blanks and our centre midfield seems to lack something when Marney and/or Jones become unavailable.
Can we do any better against the Toffees and win for Toffee? Everton will be another tough challenge, let`s face it they all are at this level. Everton though are somewhat inconsistent so far this season so anything is possible. The Toffees are currently in 13th spot with nine points from eight games. Everton gaffer Roberto Martinez will be hoping his team can get their first back-to-back league win since a seven-match winning streak ended in April last season. In their last league game they beat Villa 3-0 at home and followed that up with a 0-0 draw away to Lille in Tuesday night`s Europa League. Their heads therefore will be up when they come to Turf Moor and they could have the momentum. Burnley though somehow have to turn this game into a victory in front of the Sky Sports cameras and give everybody associated with the Clarets something to cheer about. We need a tonic that`s for sure!
Clarets fans are reminded that this live Sky Sports game as well as being played on a Sunday also kicks-off early at 1:30pm
Burnley Team News:
Matt Taylor has had a niggling Achilles injury. He recently underwent surgery to remove a minor bony growth in the back of his heel and this will now take a few weeks to fully heal. Our only other long-term injured player is Sam Vokes (cruciate ligament) but Sean Dyche said this week:
“Sam Vokes is well on the road to recovery and doing nicely.”
Dean Marney will be assessed ahead of the game before making a decision whether he is fit enough to feature. Marney has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury but is now back in full training.
“Dean is on his way back. He`s trained today and we will see how he reacts tomorrow.
“He`s generally fit, but it`s touch and go for him on Sunday.”
Steven Reid could also be back in contention after suffering a minor groin injury but one which has taken a couple of weeks to settle down. He too is back training on grass.
According to Sean Dyche, Michael Keane is also in contention. He also had a minor problem and only just didn`t make the eighteen last week against the Hammers.
Player to watch: Lukas Jutkiewicz
The Clarets need to score more goals and it is about time the goals came from our recognised strike force instead of the midfielders. Both the Juke and Ings have drawn a blank this season. Jutkiewicz has had the most chances though including a panful in the first half last week against the Hammers. He really has to open his account this season and soon after showing such promise in the pre-season games. The boost of a goal could be just the tonic he needs to open the floodgates.
Everton Team News:
There no new injury concerns for Everton boss Roberto Martinez who looks set to recall James McCarthy, Seamus Coleman, Steven Naismith and Leon Osman after changes were made and players rested for the Europa League game against Lille in midweek.
Toffees midfielder Ross Barkley will be available despite requiring stitches to a head wound against Lille on Thursday. Midfielder, Kevin Mirallas (hamstring) and defender, John Stones (ankle) though remain on the sidelines. In addition defender, Bryan Oviedo and striker, Arouna Kone are not match fit.
Player to watch: Steven Naismith
Everton`s attacking midfielder and striker, 28 year old Steven Naismith is currently their leading goalscorer with four goals so far this season. The Scotland international joined Everton from Rangers in July 2012 after agreeing a four year deal. There was no transfer fee involved as the player had refused to have his contract transferred from the old to the new company controlling Rangers as the club was liquidated. The former Kilmarnock player made 98 appearances for the Ibrox club scoring 28 goals and since his time at Goodison Park he has notched up 13 goals in 70 appearances for the Toffees.
Team & Tactics:
The Clarets have badly missed Marney in centre midfield in recent games. There is a chance he could return if he has recovered enough from his hamstring injury otherwise once again it looks like Scott Arfield will have to play centre midfield in partnership with David Jones. It is possible Dyche could name the same eighteen if Marney fails to make it. In which case we can expect 4-4-2 with the line up as follows:
Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Boyd, Jones, Arfield, Kightly, Ings, Jutkiewicz
Subs (from): Gilks, Keane, Long, Ward, Reid (if fit), Chalobah, Wallace, Sordell, Barnes
If Marney is available I fully expect him to start with Arfield then replacing Kightly on the wing.
Andre Marriner will be in charge of this clash. The West Midlands referee has dished out 19 yellow cards and 1 red in his six games so far this season. His tally last season from 36 games came to 110 yellows and 13 reds. That is close to one player being sent off in every three games! Ouch! You have to go way back to December 2008 for the last time this referee took charge of a game involving the Clarets but what a memorable match it was! It was our Carling Cup game against Arsenal when we defeated the Gunners 2-0 at Turf Moor thanks to a Kevin McDonald brace.
Burnley 2 Everton 1! Come on we can win for Toffees!!
Well it`s a trip to North London on Saturday 1st November with Burnley playing Arsenal at the Emirates (Kick-off: 3pm). It doesn`t get any easier does it?