Burnley Look to Seal The Deal on Saturday

04 May 2017 09:38

Burnley return to Turf Moor on Saturday 6th April for a traditional  3pm K.O against West Bromwich Albion.

The Clarets' opponents come into the game on the back of a bad run that has seen them lose six of their last eight games. Scoring has recently become a serious problem for the Baggies, not having hit the back of the net in their last five games.

Despite this drop in form, the Baggies remain in a healthy eighth position in the Premier League, five points above the Clarets, who currently occupy fourteenth place.

Last weekend proved to be a happy one for all Burnley fans and a personal triumph for manager Sean Dyche.

Dyche showed his managerial mettle by sticking to his guns against in-form Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. His refusal to shift from his principles and his firm belief in how he wants his team to play was rewarded with a first Burnley away win in seventeen attempts.

The team he selected was given a big thumbs down by many fans before the match. Worries that Burnley were going to lose another away game would refuse to go away.

Yet in the final analysis, the 2-0 win was comfortable and Place boss Big Sam was left slumped in the dug out blowing out his chewing gum. It provided the defining picture of the season for me. The former England manager had been outmanoeuvred by the Clarets' "Special One".

Of course the modest Dyche would only say that the only special thing about him was that he was ginger. But we all know it's much more than that and while every player was outstanding, two of his more  controversial selections, Scott Arfield and Ashley Westwood, showed that they fit into a Dyche side like a hand in a glove .

The Clarets are now seven points ahead of Swansea who occupy the final relegation place. Burnley also enjoy a vastly superior goal difference which in reality makes the difference eight points . Advantage Burnley, who have three league games remaining, two being at home.

So are Burnley safe? Sensible caution tells the Clarets' diehards there is still work to be done, but their hearts must surely tell them a different story

The atmosphere at Turf Moor on Saturday will be one of great anticipation. The occasion will present the first chance for many to celebrate that famous first away win with their friends and share the opportunity to finally seal another season at the top table of English football for the Clarets.

There may even be some talk about a certain game going on in Brentford the following day. Blackburn Rovers have found themselves  in an almost "Must Win" situation in a SKY televised relegation countdown.

Such is the local rivalry between two sides who share a long and bitter history, Burnley fans will in their thousands, be hoping for a comfortable win for the host team.

Back to Burnley's business! Tony Pulis and his team will provide opponents guaranteed to enhance the expected raucous atmosphere at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon.

Burnley owe West Bromwich Albion big time. The Clarets have suffered two heavy defeats in two EPL games at the Hawthorns and lost a commanding 2-0 lead at Turf Moor two seasons ago following a reckless challenge on Dean Marney by the Baggies' hard man Claudio Yakob.

Their is also a perceived recent history amongst Clarets' fans of the Albion messing Burnley about in the transfer market. Enough said about that!

It is not rocket science to work out where West Bromwich Albion will try to hurt Burnley offensively.  The big news coming out of Baggies' HQ this week is that creative players Matt Phillips and Robson Kanu may not be fit for the game.

This will add further fuel to the mix and will no doubt encourage the Albion to fire plenty of balls into the Burnley penalty area for their big defenders to attack.

Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, Michael Keane, Ben Mee and Stephen Ward have however over the course of the campaign, grown to learn to deal with aerial bombardments and have become quite accustomed to nullifying the aerial threat. Crystal Palace learned this to their cost last weekend.

Just a word about West Brom's manager Tony Pulis. Pulis celebrated 25 years in management in 2017 and is one of the most experienced PL managers and can be described as a wily old campaigner.  He probably suspects his side have already packed their beach towels but he will be a wounded animal at the moment. 

This week Pulis has been lauding his opposite number Sean Dyche, even going as far to say he voted for Dyche in his top 3 PL Managers of the Season. I am certain he is being genuine, but I am equally certain Sean Dyche won't be falling for the wily old fox's charm offensive.

Sean Dyche's last concern will be the Manager of Season award, and in any event it almost always goes to the manager of the Premier League Champions, doesn't it?

One exception to that particular rule was when Pulis himself won the award in 2014, after miraculously steering Crystal Palace to eleventh place in the Premier League after they were in serious danger of relegation.

Burnley players and their legion of home fans will be hoping to get the job done and be celebrating survival at 5 o'clock on Saturday teatime. After all, they all have better things to do than keeping one eye on the result of Swansea's home game against Everton later in the evening.

The match preview was written and conceived by currently injured Clarets' fan Michael Donnelly (alias "the Donz"). Get well soon Donz? (TEC).

Source: DSG