Burnley 0-0 Brighton: Stalemate again but a step closer to their respective targets

The last five matches between these two sides have ended in draws and both meetings this season have been goalless.

Burnley 0-0 Brighton: Stalemate again but a step closer to their respective targets
The closest either side came to scoring was this goalmouth scramble midway through the first half (photo: Getty Images / Jan Kruger)
Burnley
0 0
Brighton
Burnley: Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Long, Ward, Gudmundsson, Cork, Westwood (Hendrick 81), Lennon (N'Koudou 72), Wood (Vokes 65), Barnes
Brighton: Ryan, Bruno (Schelotto 88), Dunk, Duffy, Bong, Kayal, Stephens, Knockaert, Gross, Izquierdo (March 84), Ulloa (Murray 67)

Burnley and Brighton have boasted impressive defensive units this season but have both struggled for goals. The Clarets have found the net less than anyone else in the top half but are secure at the back with the fourth strongest defence in the league, whilst Brighton have failed to find the net in nine of their last eleven games and have scored fewer goals on the road than anyone else.

With those statistics in mind, it is hardly surprising this one resulted in a fifth successive stalemate between the sides.

Gudmundsson impresses as Burnley probe

Both teams probed in the opening minutes without looking particularly dangerous. Brighton enjoyed spells of possession, whilst the hosts were happy to soak up pressure as they have done all season. The first chance of note came 18 minutes into the contest when an unmarked Bruno volleyed wide from a corner for the visitors.

Arguably the best opportunity to break the deadlock came through a goalmouth scramble, such was the nature of the game. Ashley Barnes met Johann Berg Gudmundsson's cross before being thwarted by Matt Ryan seconds before Anthony Knockaert blocked Kevin Long. The home side appealed for a handball but were unsuccessful and are still without a penalty all season.

Burnley finished the first half as the better side when Barnes volleyed a weak effort straight at Ryan from a Matthew Lowton cross before the Australian goalkeeper palmed away Gudmundsson's curling free-kick. The Icelander then caused havoc again as Bruno appeared to handle a corner but protests were waved away once again.

Both sides settle for a point

Brighton started the second half positively through their most creative influence, Anthony Knockaert. The attacking midfielder almost played through the quiet Leandro Ulloa before driving a distant strike at Nick Pope.

The killer instinct was severely lacking from both sides and it appeared to be disintegrating further as Chris Wood hobbled off with a foot injury. However, his replacement Sam Vokes almost made an instant impact as James Tarkowski's nudge into the danger zone from another Gudmundsson set-piece deflected off Vokes and straight into the arms of Ryan.

Brighton introduced Glenn Murray for Ulloa who touched the ball in the Burnley penalty area just once during 67 minutes. The visitors opted to try and cross into the path of Murray but could not create any chances of note.

A flurry of substitutions killed off any slight momentum bubbling under the surface and both sides appeared to be content to share the points. Burnley now just need one point from two games to guarantee Europa League football but are almost there with a 15-goal superior goal difference over Everton in eighth. Brighton are five points clear of the relegation places with three games left but should have enough teams between them and the drop zone to be safe, despite a challenging trio of fixtures ahead of them.