West Ham United vs Burnley Preview: The battle of the clarets engaging in contrasting seasons

A depleted West Ham United defence is hoping to hold firm against a Burnley side who are back to winning ways but have failed to score in five of their last seven away league fixtures.

A goal-shy attack against a leaky defence

Burnley recorded a much-needed victory over Everton last weekend, ending a run of eleven games without a win. However, despite such a long streak, Sean Dyche's side are holding their ground in seventh position and are just five points behind Arsenal in the final European qualification position.

West Ham have recorded consecutive 4-1 defeats and find themselves still in the midst of a relegation battle. After conceding 54 goals in 29 games, David Moyes' side currently have the worst defensive record in the league. 

Defenders Sam Byram and Winston Reid are injured, whilst James Collins and Angelo Ogbonna are also doubts. With Arthur Masuaku serving the final game of his suspension, Moyes has very little resources to call upon for his back five. However, Burnley have only scored 24 goals this season, less than every team in the entire league apart from bottom club West Bromwich Albion.

History favours the Hammers

However, history is on the side of the home team. West Ham have won five of their seven Premier League meetings with Burnley and 12 out of 16 top-flight fixtures. The Hammers have also won five of their last six home ties with the Clarets but did only draw 1-1 at Turf Moor earlier in the season.

Burnley have not won on the road since November but manager Dyche has an excellent record against Moyes. The pair met four times last season when Moyes was manager of Sunderland but could not get the better of his opponent in any of the quartet of fixtures, losing two and drawing two.

Embed from Getty Images

Antonio and Barnes in good form

As with the majority of Burnley's games, there is unlikely to be many goals shared between the two sides. There have been two goals or less in six of Burnley's last seven away games and the same outcome in West Ham's last three home games.

However, both teams have players in decent goalscoring form. Michail Antonio and Ashley Barnes have scored in consecutive fixtures after previously experiencing relatively dry spells in front of goal.

Their success and that of their respective teams could be determined by the form of the players around them. West Ham boast two of the most talented attacking midfielders in the league with Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic. However, both players are too inconsistent and will find life tough against one of the hardest working teams in the league.

Barnes could be joined by the returning Chris Wood in attack for the visitors. The Kiwi scored the winner against Everton last weekend and contributed a late equaliser against the Hammers earlier in the season. This is likely to be another close encounter on Saturday afternoon.