Dyche and Benitez Clash at Turf Moor

24 October 2017 11:50

Despite Sean Dyche being linked with the vacant Everton and Leicester manager's jobs the Toon Army will  still land at Turf Moor next Monday night, October 30th, as the Clarets play host to an in-form Newcastle United side.

A reminder: Kick-off is 8.00pm and the match will be officiated by Mike Dean.

When the fixtures came out at the start of the season, this Turf Moor contest looked like being a bottom half of the table clash between 2 sides who would most likely be fighting out a relegation battle in May.

However the reality has turned into something much different. Both sides have exceeded expectations and if there is to be a winner on the night, a top 6 place in the Premier League awaits .

While things are looking good a quarter of the way through the season, a more realistic picture of the table  will not  be seen until January. It is still very much a work in progress at Turf Moor and St James Park and both managers know this.

The Newcastle camp arrive in high spirits  after a fourth victory of the season last Saturday, against a struggling Crystal Palace. The victory saw them rise  to seventh place in the table, it may however be said, the Magpies have been helped by a favourable opening set of games.

Just one place and one point behind the St James Park outfit, come Sean Dyche's Clarets and after careful consideration, have perhaps had a much harder set of fixtures to endure so far.

Only one place was dropped after the defeat to league leaders and title favourites Manchester City at the Etihad last Saturday. A result that was affected by a controversial penalty opener awarded to City. There can be no complaints about the final result , and plenty of encouragement can be gained from another confident and competitive away performance from the Clarets against a top of the table side.

Only visits to Old Trafford and The Emirates of the top sides remain for Burnley and there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic  of picking up many more away points against the lesser sides still to play.

It is the home form though that still needs working on and Newcastle represent another great opportunity to improve this and put another three points on the board. The Clarets though will have to muster  something different to what they have produced in the opening four home games against similar opposition.

With both sides scoring and conceding few goals, the game on Monday night has 0-0 already written all over it. However, it is one of the most fascinating fixtures of the season.

For all their good times under Sir Bobby Robson and Kevin Keegan,  this is only the second season of games in the Premier League  between the 2 sides  due to Newcastle's two recent relegations to the Championship. The sides drew 1-1 at the Turf three seasons ago, Burnley's first season in the Premier League under Sean Dyche.

There is a degree of uncertainty at the moment about the future of Dyche, now regarded by many as Burnley's best manager since the days of Harry Potts, more than half a century ago. Hopefully by the time the game arrives everything will have settled down as far as Burnley Football Club are concerned.

Unfortunately these kind of matters are out of the fans hands and we can only hope that neither Leicester or Everton make an approach for Dyche before or after the Newcastle game.

The game is  a direct head to head for  two managers who have had a major influence on their clubs in recent times. Dyche v Benitez:  Billed perhaps as "The Nightclub Bouncer" v "The Spanish Waiter".

One has had books written about him and is regarded as one of the best football managers in the world, winning several  major honours,  including  the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005.

The other, a younger manager  who has yet to win anything of note in the game but has changed the history of his club and is predicted to have a big future ahead of him. Both loved and admired by their respective set of fans. Even adored by some.

Both teams reflect their managers' hard work,  character and fighting spirit. Games are won without  playing particularly well. They are the epitome of the saying that football isn't always pretty.

What both managers have done with the squads available to them has been brilliant. Is it any wonder their players listen to them and follow their instructions to the letter?

There is now a feel good factor at Newcastle and a real belief among their fans. The noise in the away end will be the loudest all season and if this doesn't stir the Burnley fans on Monday night under the floodlights, nothing will.

If team selection on the night is right and the injuries to Chris Wood and Sam Vokes are not too serious I am going for Burnley to edge a victory 1-0 against a young Newcastle side who I believe have a weakness on their left defensive flank which Gudmundsson can take advantage of if he plays.

I do not expect Pope to be tested too much by a weak Newcastle strikeforce and if the Clarets' defending is back to the usual high standard, the chances of another clean sheet will improve.The midfield battle is likely to be the key to winning the game.  Hopefully the combination of Cork and Defour will be enough to cut out the supply from the Magpies midfield danger man Jonjo Shelvey.

There is a strong history of ex-Newcastle luminaries being associated with Burnley:  Chris Waddle, Tommy Cassidy, Geoff Nulty, Joey Barton, Paul Gasgoine, Steve Caldwell, David Edgar and Andrew Cole have all plyed their trade at Turf Moor.

It should be a wonderful evening of Premier League football, played out in front of a global television audience.

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

Source: DSG