Stuttering Everton face Burnley in bid to get their season back on track
Everton to win 1-0
Another week, another fall from grace for Everton and their supporters, who must be sat wondering where it all went wrong following a terrific start to the season which took them to the top.
Injuries, suspensions and dips in form have all taken their toll on a team many predicted could finally break into the top four after years of inconsistency.
They will see this match as one to kickstart their recovery, although Burnley have certainly improved of late.
The Clarets still sit within the bottom three with just five points and one win to their name, however their performances have picked up and they have started to play with the grit that has typified them over the years.
At home, they always represent a tough challenge, although their confidence will have taken a beating after the 5-0 thrashing dished out by Manchester City last weekend.
Form Guide (all comps): LLDWL
Reasons to be cheerful:
Despite City defeat, have looked better recently
Won previous home game
Reasons to be fearful:
Have the worst goal difference in the league
Last week’s thrashing will have dented their morale
Burnley’s struggles have been well-documented this season, not least by their manager Sean Dyche who has commented again on the club’s failure to recruit properly over the summer transfer window.
His side look particularly short of goals in their opening nine matches – their four scored is the joint lowest in the league, with only one goal coming in their last six matches. Their usually reliable partnership of Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood is just not firing as it has done in previous seasons.
Fans should not give up hope on Burnley just yet, of course. Dyche has seen them out of tricky situations in the past, and their previous home match, a win over Crystal Palace, shows that there is still fight in the team.
Everton are not in the greatest of form, and if they can keep things tight at the back, they could steal something themselves.
Star Man – Chris Wood
Scored the winner against Palace in their last home game and needs to continue this form to help his club
Form Guide (all comps): LLLWL
Reasons to be cheerful
One of the league’s top scoring teams
Will see this as an opportunity to bounce back
Reasons to be fearful
Defence is leaking goals
Injuries at the back are harming their performances
Often, a team’s defensive issues can hamper their play going forward, something which is all too evident at Everton currently.
All of their strongest back four have suffered from injury at some stage, and longer-term injuries to both Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne at full back have seen their attacking threat considerably diminished.
Digne, in particular, has been fantastic at assisting the league’s top scorer, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, with his trademark driving runs down the left followed by a whipped ball into the box.
However, Everton must do better if they are to recover some of their early season form. Burnley will not present the easiest of challenges, but they are a team The Toffees must beat if they are to be serious top four contenders.
If they can feed Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison with decent chances, they should come out on top.
Star Man – Dominic Calvert-Lewin
Scored two in their last win over Fulham and remains the league’s top scorer on 10.
Everton will dominate possession
Burnley to defend deep and hit on the break
If Calvert-Lewin scores, Everton will win
Matches like this can be difficult to call, especially with both teams in such stuttering form. Over the last five matches, there is not a lot to separate them.
Having said that, Everton have the quality players who can take the game away from The Clarets if they are positive from the first whistle. If they allow the game to drift, Burnley could be in with a chance.
Sean Dyche will be happy the longer the game stays at 0-0, while Carlo Ancelotti will want his Everton team to start with a bang. If they do, they should take three points.
Everton to win 1-0