Analysis: Why Burnley face a tough task against an organised Newcastle unit

Both sides have made strong starts to the season and could be in the top seven on Monday night.

Analysis: Why Burnley face a tough task against an organised Newcastle unit
Pressure will be on Jeff Hendrick to unlock the Newcastle defence from attacking midfield (photo: Getty Images / Nigel Roddis)

Burnley have recorded several excellent results this season, particularly against a handful of top six Premier League sides. Yet their home clash against Newcastle United on Monday evening could be one of their toughest fixtures thus far.

What can Burnley do with extra possession?

The Clarets have built their success upon a rigid defence, capable of soaking up immense pressure, before striking with composed finishing.

However, the visit of Newcastle could pose a different problem for the home side as they could see more of the ball than Rafa Benitez' team. Burnley average 43.8% possession this season, compared to Newcastle's 43.2%. With Burnley the hosts, the pressure will be on Sean Dyche's side to make things happen with the ball in front of their own crowd.

The Clarets are excellent on the counter-attack but will have to answer questions about their ability to break down a team likely to defend in greater numbers than the majority of their opponents. With Chris Wood injured, Burnley are also without their top goalscorer. His replacement, Sam Vokes, is usually a threat aerially but he will get very little change from Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles who leads the fourth tightest defence in the top flight.

The influence of Ritchie could be key

Yet Burnley's defence have been just as difficult to break down. Newcastle have the ability to create chances through the pace of Christian Atsu but an even greater threat is likely to be posed by Matt Ritchie. The winger already has four assists to his name.

Newcastle have one of the best shot to shot on target conversion rates in the league. They have looked particularly dangerous from set-pieces but they face one of the most aerially adept sides in the top flight. Therefore, there could be added pressure for the likes of Joselu, who is susceptible to missing good chances, to convert opportunities created on the ground.

One thing is for sure, this is likely to be a feisty encounter. Burnley play a strong pressing game and have based a lot of their success on winning 50-50 challenges. However, Newcastle have one of the worst disciplinary records in the top flight.