Pre-match analysis: Close encounter expected at Turf Moor between Burnley and Leicester City

Pre-match analysis: Close encounter expected at Turf Moor between Burnley and Leicester City

Last season's Premier League and Championship winners meet in an intriguing contest on Tuesday evening.

chris-lincoln
Chris Lincoln

What a difference a year makes in football. At the same stage last season, Burnley were scrapping to hold onto a play-off place, whilst Leicester City were beginning to realise they were capable of winning the Premier League as they continued to grind out victories. Even several months ago, eventual Championship winners Burnley were humbled 3-0 by the top flight winners.

Foxes look less cunning this season

Now the Clarets find themselves two places and five points above Leicester. Not much has changed in either squad in terms of personnel but the attitude and belief of both sets of players has been modified.

Whilst Burnley are shaping themselves as a fluid and effective unit, particularly on the counter-attack, Leicester have seen their main source of attack nullified, with the departure of N'golo Kante leaving a huge hole in the engine room. The result has been less service for the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy who look half the players they were last season.

Steven Defour has added to the quality in Burnley's midfield (photo: Getty Images)
Steven Defour has added to the quality in Burnley's midfield (photo: Getty Images)

Wide areas could be pivotal

With both teams looking more confident to afford possession to the opposition and strike on the break, Tuesday evening's encounter is poised for an intriguing affair. Burnley have been on the ball 41% of the time this season, compared to Leicester's 44%. With each side averaging less than 3.5 passes per attacking move, the Turf Moor faithful are likely to see a scrappy contest where central midfield areas will be key.

Both teams enjoy springing attacks from the middle of the park, with Burnley offering a direct approach towards their pacey and hard-working strikers, whilst Leicester look towards Danny Drinkwater to provide service for the equally passionate Jamie Vardy.

Yet with the likes of Michael Keane, Ben Mee, Wes Morgan and Robert Huth occupying the central defensive areas, both teams will be encouraged to attack down the flanks. The flair and creativity in the wide positions looks to outweigh the form of the four full-backs likely to be on show and the game could arguably be decided on who can create the most telling deliveries. 

Fortress Turf Moor

There is certainly very little to choose between the two squads and though Leicester boast the better record in recent head-to-heads, the fortress of Turf Moor could prove to be critical. Burnley have 25 points from 12 games at home, scoring more goals on their own turf than Manchester United have at Old Trafford this season.

In comparison, Leicester City have taken just three points from a possible 33 on the road this season. They are one of only two teams in the Premier League not to win an away fixture this campaign. The other side being Burnley themselves.

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