Swansea v Burnley - the talking points.

01 March 2017 06:53

Sean Dyche's Clarets travel to South Wales on Saturday to take on Paul Clement's revitalised Swansea side, in what promises to be an intriguing Premier League encounter.

A soft, late Leroy Fer Swans winner and an unseen tug on Burnley's Michael Keane ruined the Clarets' return to the top table of English football  on the opening day of the season at Turf Moor in August.

Since then, Burnley have broken their club transfer record 3 times and Joey Barton has returned to the fold. It will be a different Burnley team that Swansea face on Saturday.

Burnley presently sit comfortably in 11th position in the EPL table. Swansea, despite picking up 12 points in 7 games since Paul Clement took charge, remain just 2 points and 2 places above the relegation zone.

Only Sunderland have conceded more goals and the Swans have the second worst goal difference in the EPL behind Hull with minus 25.

Only 1 clean sheet in the last 11 games and 4 home wins all season for the Swans, point towards a game that Burnley should be looking to get something out of.  A 1-1 draw last week at Hull for Burnley is indicative of the Clarets' constantly improving away performances.

The pressure is on Swansea far more than a resilient Burnley side and the Swans have forthcoming consecutive away games against fellow strugglers Hull City  and Bournemouth and a home game against Karanka's Middlesbrough. March is indeed a massive month for the white shirted Swans.

The Swansea team is built around outstanding Icelandic international Gylfi Sigurdsson. He has the most Premier League assists this season with  9 and if you add his 8 goals, he is becoming a highly coveted playing asset.

One to watch for Burnley is the Chelsea target and Spanish striker Fernando Llorente. Llorente is the Swans, leading scorer with 9 goals and can score with his head and is also blessed with two good feet.

I predict it will be a nervy Swansea side on show. Sean Dyche's Burnley will hope to discover the necessary firepower to take advantage of this and get on the front foot early doors.

A timely goal from leading Burnley scorer Andre Gray and telling passes from ex-Villain Ashley Westwood would go a long way to helping Burnley take early control of the game.

Swansea will seriously threaten Burnley with Sigurdsson's magnificent dead ball delivery. Vokes' extra height and heading ability could prove useful, the Welsh international looks certain to play in the absence of the suspended Barnes. 

This would help Dyche's men in aerial battles. Burnley will hope to keep 11 men on the field of play. Two sending offs in the last 2 away games have probably cost Burnley points in addition to the suspensions.

A little extra toughness is all well and good in the Premier League but a little more care in the discipline aspect of the game is sorely needed for the Clarets on Saturday.

It is widely assumed this might be Joey Barton's last game in a Burnley shirt. An awful  lot of speculation surrounds whether Joey will receive a lengthy ban next week from the English FA over his accepted betting charges.

He has been outstanding for Burnley and the Clarets fans' cult hero would be a big miss. Knowing Barton, I don't think it will affect him, he might even be inspired to do something spectacular on the day.

The man in charge of proceedings will be Anthony Taylor who will be best remembered as the 4th official in the Clarets' dramatic last gasp defeat away to Arsenal.

Burnley have won 1 and lost 1 with him in charge this season .

Both teams need to be very aware of this rather awkward referee. Taylor averages a red card every 5 games over his 6 seasons in the Premier League and has only issued 3 this season.

History has not been kind to Burnley in this away fixture. In the Premier League, the Clarets have not managed an away goal in the any of the 3 games played.

Swansea have won by a single goal margin each time.

Sean Dyche hailed his team's 'amazing character' after the Hull game and with this managerial acclaim ringing fresh in the players' ears, I expect the Clarets to go on and get  a positive result.

A draw or a win would consolidate Burnley's mid table position and who knows, the Clarets might well go on to  emulate Swansea, who are now in their 6th straight Premier League season.

From a personal point of view, I would like the Swans to avoid relegation, because they always try and play good, attractive, attacking  football.

And of course both clubs share the Clarets' legend that is Leighton James.

The Swansea v Burnley match preview is written by Clarets Mad contributor and long standing Burnley fan Michael Donnelly, alias "The Donz". (TEC).

Source: DSG