Burnley vs Crystal Palace Preview: Confident Clarets take on Eagles
Photo by Alex Morton via GettyImages

Form

Burnley will be full of confidence after back-to-back victories against West Ham United and Watford. The Clarets had been on a run of three straight defeats but could put together three straight wins if they can overturn Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.

The visitors have only picked up one point from their last five matches, a 2-2 draw against Arsenal. In fairness to Roy Hodgson’s men, the Eagles played four of those five games against the traditional top-six while the other game was against high-flying Leicester City.

Palace did the double over Burnley last season. Wilfried Zaha scored a stunning solo goal to round off a 3-1 victory at Turf Moor. Palace have won every match against Burnley under Hodgson with Sean Dyche’s most recent victory against the Londoners coming within the brief spell of Frank De Boer in 2017.

Burnley currently sit in seventh which is above Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. Palace are only three points behind the Clarets but sit in thirteenth.

Team News

Danny Drinkwater is fighting to be available for selection. The on-loan Chelsea midfielder has been building his fitness in reserve matches. Dyche has noted Drinkwater’s improvement in fitness. Ashley Westwood will miss the match with a suspension which may allow Aaron Lennon or Robbie Brady to feature on the right with Jeff Hendrick moving into the centre. The Clarets have no other absentee worries.

For Palace, Joel Ward is definitely out of the clash with what Hodgson described as a "serious knee injury." Gary Cahill was training by himself on Thursday after picking up a knock in training, The experienced defender will be hoping to shake off his niggle to make the starting eleven.

Predicted Line-Up

Pope; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Brady, Cork, Hendrick, McNeil; Wood, Barnes. 

Guiata; Kelly, Tomkins, Cahill, van Aanholt; Milivojevic; Townsend, Kouyate, McArthur, Zaha; Ayew.

Key Clashes

Phil Bardsley v Wilfried Zaha

Zaha scored his first goal of the season against Liverpool last weekend and the talismanic winger will have his eyes on more in East Lancashire. He starred in this fixture last season and he will be looking to really kick-start his campaign by adding to last weekend's goal. Bardsley is an old-fashioned type of defender who will no doubt take a physical approach to dealing with Zaha’s trickery and flamboyance.

Jack Cork v Luka Milivojevic

The defensive anchors on each team. Milivojevic will hope to have control over his midfield and allow the likes of Cheikhou Kouyate and James McArthur to advance. Jack Cork has a slightly different task. In a two-man middle, he has to provide energy up and down the pitch whilst retaining that level of protection in-front of his defence. He will have to keep Jeff Hendrick disciplined in the absence of Westwood.

Chris Wood v Gary Cahill

Cahill is a powerful and experienced figure at the heart of the Palace defence and he will be relishing a tussle with the in-form Wood. The defender also provides a threat from set-pieces with his aerial prowess. Wood is effective at attacking second balls and the Clarets have been exploiting this with some of their corner kicks. 

What the managers have said

Dyche on Drinkwater fitness

 “I think Danny is getting to as a close as you can get.

“He’s had a number of reserve games now, which is important because he hasn’t had much football.

“His sharpness is improving but we all know there's nothing like the real thing.

“You get judged on the games and you get players to a level and they get themselves to a level, of course, by taking on the work.

"But his training levels have improved and I think he's feeling better, so he comes into the thinking.”

Hodgson on Ward injury

“You know how doctors and medical staff are, they are reluctant to put a date because they are frightened you are going to come back after a period of time and demand the player returns.

“But it is a serious knee injury in the sense it will keep him off for a number of weeks rather than a number of days. I can’t tell you exactly what the timescale is, but it will be a considerable amount of time.”

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