Saturday, 10 December 2016

The Cherries head to fortress Turf Moor

Burnley have been quite a different proposition at home to what they have been on the road. While AFCB have found it hard to win away games, if  you take away the Clarets home points and they would have just one point this season. So is this a nailed on home win?

The fans going into the home end at Turf Moor would certainly think so, but AFCB have been improving in their away games with a win against Stoke and a decent, but ultimately points-free outing against Arsenal in their last two away games. You have to go back to 5 November though to see when Burnley last picked up points in that cracking game they had against Crystal Palace and  a 90+4 minute winner from Ashley Barnes. Just like AFCB, Burnley run teams right to the end of games and this will be a battle of fitness and energy as much as any game AFCB play this season. I found it very interesting to hear what Sean Dyche said at the start of the season that AFCB had shown teams how to stay up in the Premier League last season and the energy and athletic fitness of Burnley is excellent, just as it is with Eddie Howe's side.
Simon Francis is keen to see an AFCB back-to-back win.
AFCB will know that having the possession against Burnley will not guarantee a result. Palace had 62 per cent possession when they played at Turf Moor and when the Clarets beat Liverpool they did that with just 20 per cent of the possession. So while AFCB may have much of the ball, they will have to show a sharpness in front of goal that is better than what we have seen on the road from them. Watford away was the only game when AFCB have managed to get above one goal in an away game, and that may not be enough against a Burnley side that are not unaccustomed to scoring two or three goals at home. 
The striking power of Burnley is something that the pundits have not talked about too much. André Gray was unstoppable in the Championship last year and they have a master at headed finishing in Sam Vokes, while Ashley Barnes can also hit a rasping shot. Sean Dyche only played Vokes at the start up front against Man City and Palace in their last two home games and he may well stick to the same game plan against AFCB. Burnley are also powerful in midfield with Hendrick, Boyd and Arfield and their Icelandic signing Johann Berg Gudmundsson. 

While Burnley have spread their goals about throughout the team, they are only above Hull City in the goal scoring charts. But 11 of their 12 goals have come at Turf Moor and AFCB's defence will have a job to keep a clean sheet against a side that knows it's home games are key to staying up. It is going to be a very different test to the Liverpool examination, but AFCB can come through it if they can stop Burnley from getting a good early start in the game. 

Burnley Home Form

AFCB Away Form

Probable AFCB team: Boruc (GK), A Smith (RD), Francis (CD), S Cook (CD), Aké (LD), Fraser (RM), Arter (CM), Gosling (CM), Ibe (LM), Wilshere (FW), C Wilson (FW)

Bench: Federici, Mings, Daniels, Pugh, King, Afobe, Mousset

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