Burnley Hoping to Take the Toffees

11 April 2017 01:58

Burnley visit Merseyside on Saturday to play Everton on the day that marks the 28th anniversary of the tragic Hillsborough disaster.

While Burnley have been beaten in their two previous Premier League games at Goodison Park, the Clarets post war record at Goodison is better than decent. 

Burnley have won six and drawn eight from a total of  twenty six away league games against the Toffees. Goodison Park is certainly not to be regarded as one of the Clarets bogey grounds.

Another important point earned on the road at the Riverside Stadium last Saturday was good for the Burnley squad's morale. The Clarets are edging ever closer to safety and currently stand eight points clear of the drop zone with only six games to go. Nervous glances down the Premier League table are becoming seriously less frequent.

While the draw meant that Burnley remain winless on the road this season, the Clarets have now drawn three of their last five away fixtures. Those games were against teams now located at the bottom of the league and every point earned felt almost like a win.

Sean Dyche mentions that we all want to see the beautiful game played, but that will have to wait for sometime yet. It was another goalless turgid spectacle in the Teesside sunshine as one newspaper described it.

The massed Clarets travelling support were once again extremely vociferous at Middlesbrough and with all tickets now sold at Goodison, the Burnley faithful  will be out  in full force supporting their team on Merseyside on Saturday.

If the Clarets think it's been tough on the road so far this season, Saturday promises to be an exhausting afternoon. Everton have destroyed every team that has visited Goodison Park this year.

Seven wins have seen them  score twenty six goals and keep five clean sheets. There have been no fewer than twelve different Everton scorers in those games with the Goodison hitman Romelu Lukaku bagging twelve of the total.

Burnley skipper and England shot stopper Tom Heaton usually maintains a steady ship, vigorously marshalling his defensive line. If Burnley are to get anything out of the game, the Clarets' keeper may well need to equal his Old Trafford man of the match performance again on Saturday.

Whilst not writing off Burnley's chances completely, because the Clarets genuinely play with no fear and always give everything they've got. There is an added twist on Saturday afternoon. Blues' manager Ronald Koeman has made no secret of his desire to capture the Clarets' young England centre back Michael Keane in the summer transfer window.

The Burnley defence has been outstanding virtually all season long. Heaton hasn't been beaten in the last two games and that is now twelve clean sheets for the season.

If Burnley can make it three clean sheets in a row, it will surely be one of the defensive performances of the season. Lowton, Keane, Mee and Ward really have become an extremely effective defensive unit and are well versed in the art of defending under the careful auspices of Sean Dyche and the Burnley coaching staff. 

Closing down and harassing to deny Everton space is one thing but if Burnley don't move the ball quickly enough it's hard to see where they are going to hurt Everton.

Andre Gray is firing blanks at present, Sam Vokes and Ashley Barnes are both struggling to get on the score sheet in an underwhelming Burnley attack. The fast improving Robbie Brady is however a potential match winner with his range of dangerous dead ball kicking.

Scott Arfield gave a man-of-the-match performance in the corresponding 2-1 home win earlier in the season, providing a vital last minute goal and an assist for a Sam Vokes' opener. The game at Goodison is Burnley's fourth in two weeks and Arfield could well find himself recalled to the Burnley side.

The Clarets cause wasn't helped in the 1-0 defeat in the  corresponding match two seasons ago when Ashley Barnes was sent off in first half injury time for accumulating two yellow cards.

He will no doubt be a target for the referee influencing Everton crowd  and for that reason Sean Dyche may well be tempted to leave the belligerent Barnes on the bench. Big Sam Vokes will relish the challenge of playing against his Welsh international colleague Ashley Williams. I always fancy Sam to get the better of Williams.

The week did not start well for Everton and Ross Barkley in particular and Burnley will be hoping to add more discomfort for the Blues on Easter Saturday.

Stopping Everton's pace and creativity in their tracks is challenge of almost titanic proportions. A look at Saturday's date will tell you that on the same date in 1912 a vessel called the Titanic sank. That too was thought to be impossible.

This match preview is the work of uber Burnley fan and regular contributor to Clarets Mad Michael Donnelly, alias "The Donz". (TEC).

Source: DSG