Prospects bleak for Burnley after Chris Wood’s departure
Sean Dyche’s Burnley are competing in their sixth consecutive season in the top-flight after they won the Championship in 2016 and they’ve spent most of the last five seasons confounding the experts.
Having finished 16th in the Premier League in their first season back, they finished a lofty seventh in 2018 to qualify for Europe and they never really looked in danger of the drop in either of the next two seasons, but after a sorry finish to the last campaign, they look bang in trouble this season.
The Clarets finished their last campaign poorly, going down 4-0 and 3-0 at home to Leeds and Liverpool before losing their final game to bottom club, Sheffield United, and they finished the season in 17th, just one place above the relegation places. And they’ve picked up from where they left off, winning just one of their 17 Premier League matches so far this season – 3-1 at home to newly-promoted Brentford way back in October.
Burnley have shortened up from a high of 4.03/1 to a low of 1.68/13 in the Relegation market and the sale of Chris Wood to relegation rivals, Newcastle, could end up being catastrophic.
Wood has been the Clarets top scorer in each of the last four season and he’s reached a double-figure total every time. He may have started this season slowly, netting only three, but he’s still going to leave quite a hole.
Burnley boss, Dyche, joshed about incoming players at the end of the last transfer window, joking that he’d just missed out on Messi, Ronaldo and Lewandowski, but I suspect he’s not in quite such a jovial mood following the Wood sale and with little chance of any inward investments being made at Turf Moor, he’ll be tamping about the loss.
Dyche will rally the troops and he’ll try to use the Woods’ move as motivation for his team to yet again prove people wrong but after three sorry defeats in-a-row, 3-1 away to both Manchester United and Leeds in the Premier League, and a 2-1 loss at home to Huddersfield in the F.A Cup last week, and with Ashley Barnes injured, Matej Vydra recovering from a bout of COIVD-19 and Maxwel Cornet on international duty, he’s got his work cut out.
Returning players a big boost for Brendan
Leicester have had all sorts of issues of late and at one point at the end of last year they had only eight first team players available but things are starting to improve.
With so many players missing, the Foxes were beaten 6-3 at Manchester City on Boxing Day but they showed plenty of fight that day. Leicester boss, Brendon Rodgers, adjusted his line up at the break and having trailed 4-0 at half time, they gave the champions a bit of a fright, scoring three times in ten minutes to narrow the deficit to just one.
City responded, wrestled back the initiative, and went on to win comfortably but the Foxes built on the mini revival, causing quite a shock just 48 hours later when they beat Liverpool at home 1-0.
Leicester’s home game against Norwich on New Year’s Day needed to be called off but the F.A Cup holders made an impressive start to their defence last weekend with a comprehensive 4-1 win against Watford.
Tuesday night’s Premier League match with Everton had to postponed because the Foxes had an insufficient number of First Team players available to fulfil the match due to COVID-19 cases, injuries and players on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations but there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. Rodgers had some encouraging news for Foxes fans at Thursday’s press conference.
“We’ve got a number of players returning, which is really good news for us. We’re in a much better place than where we were in the previous game.
“We’ve got Patson Daka back. Luke Thomas will be back. Çağlar Söyüncü will be back. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and James Justin too, which is great news for us. He will be available, maybe not to start, but he’s back in the squad again.”
Foxes set to deepen Clarets crisis
Looking at the side markets, I was quite tempted by Over in the Over/Under 2.5 market. There have been at least three goals scored in five of the last six matches between these two teams in all competitions and there have been over 2.5 goals in 10 of Leicester’s last 11 Premier League away games.
Yes in the Both Teams to Score market is odds-on and so it should be given both sides have scored in 57% of Burnley’s Premier League home games this season and in all nine of Leicester’s away matches but I’m going to keep things very simple and back the visitors in the outright market.
Burnley have been better at home than they’ve been on the road of late and they’re unbeaten in their last four in the Premier League at Turf Moor but they’ve won just one of their last 20 Premier League matches and there’s nothing to suggest that record is going to improve on Saturday.
The hosts make no appeal at all at around the 2/1 mark and I’m more than happy to play the visitors at odds in excess of 6/4.
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter