Analysis: Creativity will be key as Burnley and Crystal Palace seek to unpick organised opposing units

Roy Hodgson has transformed the fortunes of Palace whilst Sean Dyche has impressed with his Clarets side this season.

Analysis: Creativity will be key as Burnley and Crystal Palace seek to unpick organised opposing units
Palace could not find a way past Burnley back in September (photo: Getty Images / Paul Keevil)

Despite being at opposite ends of their respective managerial careers, Roy Hodgson and Sean Dyche have remarkably similar philosophies that have brought success to both Crystal Palace and Burnley at various points this season.

Chance to shine for the new boy?

Palace not only struggled to win under former manager Frank de Boer but also found scoring goals hard to come by. De Boer's short passing game was too much of a change for a Palace side that are more robust than creative.

Yet Hodgson has turned the fortunes of the Eagles around. Reverting back to an organised and disciplined unit in his favoured 4-4-2 formation, Palace have made themselves tough to beat. Yohann Cabaye and Luka Milivojevic protect the back four, meaning space is at a premium in the middle of the park.

Saturday's opponents, Burnley, have scored less goals than any other team in the top flight with just 19 in 22 games. Without the goalscoring ability of Chris Wood and the crossing prowess of Robbie Brady, the Clarets could find their hosts tough to unpick.

The central areas will be congested but Burnley could find success in the wide areas. Johann Berg Gudmundsson has been in great form recently and will be a threat from the right, whilst the signing of Georges-Kévin N'Koudou presents an exciting prospect on the left. With Wilfried Zaha allowed more freedom on the right under Hodgson, Timothy Fosu-Mensah could face a challenging afternoon against either N'Koudou or the tireless Scott Arfield.

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Big afternoon for a patched up back four

Yet the very same flank could prove fruitful for the hosts. Zaha looked beleaguered and lacking motivation under de Boer but has rekindled his magic after having his defensive responsibilities adjusted by Hodgson.

With Stephen Ward out injured, Zaha will test the ability of Charlie Taylor who is yet to improve himself during limited opportunities in the Premier League.

Hodgson has encouraged his side to play more direct football which can only benefit Christian Benteke. Despite only scoring once this season, he has looked more dangerous over the Christmas period. With Kevin Long injured and Ben Mee and James Tarkowski not 100% fit, this is the Belgian's opportunity to prove himself and begin a run of goalscoring form.

Going into the contest, both teams appear to look stronger defensively than they do going forward. Dyche and Hodgson will be looking for someone to create a moment of magic in a game that is likely going to see very few goals.