Burnley still seeking first win of the season against top-half Crystal Palace
Burnley to win 1-0
Although Burnley sit firmly within the bottom three, just a point above Sheffield United who sit rock bottom at the start of the weekend, their performances have not been as bad as their position suggests.
Their manager, Sean Dyche, is more than qualified to bring the improvements necessary to propel Burnley up the table, but you feel they need a win to kickstart their season.
They have not had the kindest fixture list recently, facing both Chelsea and Tottenham in the previous three matches, and will see an inconsistent Palace side as a target for three points this weekend.
Crystal Palace themselves have enjoyed bright patches of form in their eight matches so far. They sit above the likes of Wolves, Arsenal and both Manchester clubs, so they have clearly been doing something right.
Burnley are likely to make this a bit of a scrap at Turf Moor, which will be a test for a Palace side who prefer to play fluid football.
Form Guide (all comps): LDLLD
Reasons to be cheerful:
Palace’s style of throwing players forward could suit Burnley
A win could lift them to safety
Reasons to be fearful:
Just three goals from opening seven fixtures
May have to do without Robbie Brady due to injury
There is talk of a takeover bid in the future for Burnley football club, something which could help secure their future and provide increased levels of transfer funding, something which has been severely lacking over the years.
Sean Dyche has done a marvellous job with the lowest transfer budget of any Premier League side, but this season there are signs that this is finally taking its toll.
Despite keeping all their best players, the fact that they have not added much quality of late means that Burnley currently look short of inspiration.
To line up with Tarkowski and Mee together in central defence will improve them – that hasn’t always been possible through injury so far.
Burnley can use their physicality, particularly at Turf Moor, and turn the match into a real battle. This is likely to be their best option against Palace.
Star Man – Ben Mee
Their captain is key at the back in partnership with Tarkowski. Together they can build from a stronger base.
Form Guide (all comps): LDWLW
Reasons to be cheerful
Sitting in 8th is just reward for their good play
Good mix of goal scorers
Reasons to be fearful
Have slipped from promising positions previously
Good technically, but do they have physicality for Burnley battle?
As the next phase of the season gets underway following the International break, manager Roy Hodgson will be quietly pleased as he looks at the Premier League table and sees his side in 8th place.
It’s a reflection of their ambition to firmly establish themselves as a top-half club, something which has been helped by their victories over the likes of Manchester United already this season.
They must do more to improve their staying power, of course. Last season, also after 8 matches, they found themselves in 6th position after a great start to the campaign, only to finish in 14th.
The Eagles certainly seem a side who fade as the season progresses, something Roy Hodgson will be wanting to fix.
At least other players are now chipping in with goals – none of their four goals against Leeds were scored by Wilf Zaha, showing that they don’t always have to rely on their best player.
Star Man – Wilf Zaha
Scoring and assisting, but will be relieved that his teammates are also stepping up to the plate now
Burnley will look to make this a physical contest
If they score first, they could make things difficult for Palace
Palace are deadly on the counterattack
Burnley’s first win of the season will not be far around the corner, and this is one of their best chances of doing so.
After two weeks of planning and preparation, Sean Dyche’s team will be raring to go. They must find a way of creating more chances in front of goal, but by keeping things tight at the back this will give them a base to build from.
Palace have had both good and bad days so far this season. If they are not at their best, Burnley could seal three points here.
Burnley to win 1-0