Pre-match analysis: Dog fight expected between Burnley and Stoke City

Expect a raft of aerial duels and crunching tackles when Burnley and Stoke City go head-to-head at Turf Moor on Tuesday evening.

With both teams struggling for form and the hosts drifting closer towards the relegation zone, Sean Dyche and Mark Hughes will each see this fixture as an opportunity to gain three valuable points.

Creativity and goals lacking for both

Goals could be at a premium with Burnley and Stoke the two lowest scoring sides outside of the bottom three. Andre Gray has eight to his name but the Clarets have failed to win in their last seven matches and Turf Moor has seen two goals or less for the paying public in the last four fixtures.

Meanwhile, Stoke's top goalscorer comes from Joe Allen in midfield who has netted six times. Peter Crouch has only four this season but has the most goals out of any of Hughes' attackers, whilst the team have failed to find the target in their last four away fixtures.

With Burnley's Robbie Brady finding it difficult to break into the first team, Steven Defour working his way back to fitness, Stoke's Marko Arnautovic out of form and Xherdan Shaqiri still injured, there may not be too much creativity oozing through either side.

Dead-ball situations will be important

The first goal thus could be critical, even more so considering Stoke have been behind at half-time and gone on to lose five of their last seven away matches. Games between the two teams have seen two goals or less in eleven of their last 13 meetings.

With 29 of the combined 64 goals scored by the teams coming from set-pieces, such an area could be crucial to the outcome. Burnley possess the aerial threats of Sam Vokes and Michael Keane, whilst Stoke boast Ryan Shawcross and Bruno Martins Indi.

Set-pieces are likely to be vital (photo: Getty Images)
Set-pieces are likely to be vital (photo: Getty Images)

Fireworks in the engine room

Under two managers who forged reputations for aggressive streaks, expect such nature to be reflected in both teams. Sean Dyche prides his side on being grafters, incorporating the likes of Joey Barton and Jeff Hendrick in the engine room.

Stoke have certainly proved they can play football under Hughes but they do have a fiery nature when required. The Potters set about winding up Diego Costa two weeks ago but to no avail, whilst Shawcross' early challenge on Demarai Gray on Saturday showed his intentions against the flair players.

Expect fireworks but not many goals, as Burnley look to extend their five points difference over the bottom three and Stoke seek to cement their place in mid-table.

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