Burnley vs Everton Preview: Both sides looking to end winter woes

Burnley vs Everton Preview: Both sides looking to end winter woes

It is almost three months since Everton won away and Burnley were victorious anywhere.

Chris Lincoln

With the 'Beast from the East' and Storm Emma causing disruption up and down the country through some of the harshest weather conditions seen in the country for 50 years, it is hard to believe that this weekend is supposed to be the first of Spring.

Yet the extended Winter seems to be synonymous of a prolonged cold period for Burnley at Turf Moor and Everton on the road.

Clear of relegation despite terrible spells of form

Burnley have picked up just two points in their last five home games and are winless in 11 Premier League games. Another defeat on Saturday lunchtime will match their longest spell without a win in the top flight, set in 2010.

Everton have endured just as much disappointment on their travels, winning just once in 22 Premier League games, including a run of four successive defeats in recent matches.

However, despite the fact Burnley have not won since the second week of December and Everton have not picked up three away points since the same weekend, both teams are still enjoying relative safety in the top half of the table.

Embed from Getty Images

Allardyce returns to a favourable ground

Despite lifting the Toffees seven points clear of the relegation zone, Sam Allardyce's position has been the subject of speculation in recent days. Yet the former England manager will be hoping to lean on his excellent record against Burnley to turn Everton's dire away form around after losing just two league matches from 14 meetings. Allardyce has never lost at Turf Moor in six visits.

The first goal will undoubtedly be critical. There have been less goals in matches involving Burnley than any other side in the league and they have netted just ten times at home this season, fewer than any other team. Similarly, Everton are relegation material when it comes to their record of just nine goals scored away from home.

The importance of scoring first becomes even more crucial for Burnley when you consider that they have not won in 53 games under Sean Dyche when conceding first. However, Jeff Hendrick's goal at the end of a fine team move was enough to secure the Clarets a 1-0 victory back in October. A win on Saturday will be the first time they have done the double over Everton since they won the old First Division back in 1959/60. 

Returning players could be critical

Both teams are bolstered by key players returning to the squad this weekend in front of the Sky Sports cameras. James Tarkowski has been sorely missed in defence and Chris Wood will provide an additional attacking threat as Burnley look to strengthen both areas of the pitch. However, the game is likely to come too quick for captain Tom Heaton to take his place back in the squad.

Everton have conceded more goals than all but three Premier League sides and welcome the return of defensive trio Leighton Baines, Seamus Coleman and Phil Jagielka.

This is an important game for both sides and Dyche and Allardyce will be desperate to secure all three points for their respective clubs.