Struggling Burnley hunt for first points of season against improved Newcastle
Newcastle 0-0 Burnley
Newcastle fans will feel optimistic about this season considering how they have started the campaign so far.
A solid win against West Ham to start the season was followed by a poor defeat at home to Brighton, though a point against Spurs and three cup wins have shown money well spent in the transfer market this summer.
The 7-0 win against Morecambe in the Carabao Cup is a particular highlight, though manager Steve Bruce will be under no illusions how difficult it will be to break into the top half of the Premier League this season.
Burnley have been unusually disappointing, on the other hand, falling quite tamely to Leicester on the opening day of the season followed by Southampton a week later.
Two wins in the cup won’t be enough to cover up their shortcomings going forward, although injuries have played their part.
This will be a tight encounter and, unfortunately for the neutral fan, has draw written all over it.
Form Guide (all comps): WLWDW
Reasons to be cheerful:
Summer signings have fitted in well
Haven’t lost to Burnley at home in the league
Reasons to be fearful:
Have been lucky in both games this week
Feeling the pinch with a number of injuries
In the past week, Newcastle have gotten away with two results which their performances did not deserve.
They could well have been 5-0 down against Tottenham last weekend before they were given a penalty after another controversial hand ball decision, new signing Callum Wilson securing a point for the Magpies.
They were also lucky to progress through to the Quarter-Finals of the Carabao Cup on penalties against Newport in midweek.
Despite a solid start to the season, with four points from nine available, they will be wary of letting their good form slip away.
Injuries are a concern too, with Schar, Dubravka, Longstaff, Dummett and Richie all ruled out, with tricky winger Saint-Maximin a doubt.
They still have quality up front, particularly in Wilson, but could find it tough to break Burnley down this weekend.
Star Man – Callum Wilson
Two goals in three games for the new signing – Newcastle will rely on his goals this season.
Form Guide (all comps): DLWLL
Reasons to be cheerful
James Tarkowski back from injury
Will be desperate to gain their first points of the season
Reasons to be fearful
Worst league form since they were relegated in 2014-15
Injury-hit squad is stretched to its limit
Sean Dyche has always been credited for working with the squad given to him, with little in the way of transfer funds each season.
This season, however, it’s already painfully clear how much he needs the club to bring in new recruits, with several first team players out due to injury.
Captain Ben Mee is joined on the treatment table by Cork, Gudmundsson and Rodriguez. While James Tarkowski will be welcomed back in defence, striker Ashley Barnes is also a doubt.
Scoring goals has certainly been a problem for Burnley this season, going without netting in their previous two matches against Southampton in the league and Man City in the cup. Chris Wood is a proven Premier League goalscorer, but he cannot shoulder the responsibility by himself.
They must survive as well as they can until either injured players return or new signings are made.
If they are solid at the back against Newcastle this weekend, they could take a point.
Star Man – Chris Wood
Went close with an equaliser against Southampton last weekend, Burnley will rely on him for goals this season.
A tight game which could be low on quality
Likely to be a draw though one goal could separate the teams
Burnley could earn first point of the season
Some games, such as this one, just look like a draw.
Both teams are suffering from a range of injuries to first team players and know that across a full season, a point could be quite useful, especially in Burnley’s case where if they don’t improve quickly they could be in a battle for survival.
Newcastle have the edge in terms of quality – if the likes of Shelvey can get on the ball and pick out passes for the likes of Wilson and Joelinton, they could snatch it.
But Burnley will want to avoid another defeat at all costs, and will make the game as tight as possible.
Newcastle 0-0 Burnley