Burnley vs Wolves: Pre-match analysis
Burnley and Wolves managers Sean Dyche and Nuno Espirito Santo greet each other ahead of March 2019's edition of this fixture | Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images.

With drama, confusion and secrecy surrounding the club off the pitch regarding takeover proceedings, and occupying 18th place in the Premier League at the time of writing, Sean Dyche's Burnley need a result to lift their spirits.

A draw would carry them out of the relegation zone regardless of results elsewhere; a victory would see them in 16th for Christmas, only a point behind a struggling Arsenal, and with a game in hand.

They host Nuno Espirito Santo's Wolverhampton Wanderers at Turf Moor on Monday night, and with their squad almost fully fit they will be looking to throw everything at Wolves.

The fixture will see a Burnley side predictable and lacking in goals yet defensively formidable, coming up against a Wolves team which has become quite unpredictable in terms of formation and lineups, and which recently rediscovered its goalscoring form at home to Chelsea.

Formation and lineup - Burnley

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Unlike their opponents this week, there is nothing in the way of enigma surrounding Burnley tactically. Dyche has routinely used the same tactics and formation, sending his men out in a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 every game this season regardless of results, and given the small number of players he has to work with, his personnel choices are relatively consistent.

Burnley's centre-back partnership of Ben Mee and James Tarkowski is certain to feature as a result of their fantastic recent performances. While the Clarets' strikeforce has faltered recently, having found the back of the net only six times in the last 12 fixtures, the defence has limited the damage as much as possible, managing four clean sheets in six outings since the Mee-Tarkowski partnership was reunited.

Matt Lowton and Charlie Taylor are likely to start again at full-back and will have to stay deep to deal with the threat posed by Wolves' rapid wingers. Taylor will need backup if he has to take on the speed of Adama Traore, and the overlapping tendencies of Nelson Semedo may well overwhelm him, dragging the Burnley team towards his wing.

However, this likely numerical overload will give Taylor the opportunity to slip a through ball down the wing to Dwight McNeil in space if he wins the ball while Semedo is attacking - this will be one area of the game to keep a close eye on.

While the ever-dependable McNeil is almost certain to start at left midfield, regular starters Josh Brownhill and Ashley Westwood will most likely start in the centre of midfield, with Robbie Brady on the right.

Upfront, Chris Wood will be looking to put another shot past Rui Patricio at Turf Moor - his equaliser from a controversial 96th-minute penalty in July cancelled out a spectacular volley by Raul Jimenez, effectively ending Wolves' hopes of reaching the Champions League places, and on the final day of the season proved to be the goal which allowed Tottenham Hotspur to finish above Wolves and qualify for the Europa League.

He will likely be partnered by Jay Rodriguez, who has consistently earned Dyche's backing despite his lack of goals in the league this season. Whether Wolves play with two or three centre-backs, the physicality of Burnley's strikers will constantly give the defence problems, especially in scenarios which see long aerial balls floating into the Wolves box.

The aerial threat is the greatest option Burnley have for threatening a usually tight and careful Wolves defence, and long balls can be expected to come in from anywhere when Burnley are in possession.

Burnley will sit deep for most of the game in a low block, with any goals likely to come from headers or from aerial balls headed down to a strike partner. They are the epitome of the defensive team that Nuno's Wolves struggled time and again to defeat.

Players to watch - Burnley

Dwight McNeil

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With less of a threat of being outnumbered out wide, Semedo will likely be pushing forwards more than usual. This will provide McNeil with plenty of opportunities for one-on-ones. Once he passes his man, there will be acres of spaces in behind, giving him plenty of time to set himself for the cross to the frontmen or to dribble forward and attack the box.

Chris Wood

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Wood is one of the most reliable members of what has been a fairly underwhelming attack this year, and his aerial threat will be one of the key aspects of Burnley's plans going forwards. Burnley are only likely to get a result out of this match if Wood plays well.

Nick Pope

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With the sheer numbers that Wolves will throw forwards, star goalkeeper Nick Pope will have a lot of work to do. His centre-backs should negate the central threat, but the attacking strength Wolves have in the wide regions will give Pope a series of problems - he will have to keep track of a lot of runners at the same time when Wolves burst forwards. A Burnley clean sheet might arguably be less a result earned by the defence than one earned by the 'keeper.

Players to watch - Wolves

Nelson Semedo

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On Tuesday night, Christian Pulisic and Ben Chilwell kept Semedo busy, and until Pulisic was told to switch to the right-wing/Wolves left, it seemed inevitable that he would get an assist to his name. 

Semedo will face nothing like the attacking threat of Chelsea this time, with only McNeil to worry about. As he showed by keeping Jack Grealish quiet, Semedo is more than capable of dealing with only one attacker. This comparable freedom from defensive duties will allow him to go forwards with greater confidence, and showcase the attacking prowess which persuaded Wolves to part with €30million in September.

Daniel Podence

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Podence's determination, grit and relentlessness against Chelsea were exemplary, reminiscent of some of Diogo Jota and Matt Doherty's performances in old gold. His belief inspired teammates to keep pushing, and his creativity unlocked the Chelsea time and again. If he keeps this up, he could fast become a leader in the Wolves dressing room. He will definitely look to make his presence felt against Burnley.

Pedro Neto

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One of Wolves' most consistently brilliant performers on and off the ball this season, Neto has kept growing and thriving in Nuno's system since his arrival at the start of last season.

Neto's talent seems limitless, and he is equally efficient when Wolves are attacking slow and methodically as he is when he is given license to use his staggering pace to drive forwards and attack his own. He has been a joy to watch this season, and it is often hard to believe that he is only 20. Riding a wave of confidence after his last-gasp winner against Chelsea, Neto is perhaps the most likely Wolves player to find his name on the score sheet by the final whistle.