The Reds go for what seems like an outlandish second win on the bounce on their travels, with a midweek trip to Turf Moor tomorrow evening. After the hardly-scintillating smash-and-grab against Watford at Vicarage Road, Steve McClaren will be hoping no doubt that renewed confidence at the back coupled perhaps with a little more intent going forward might see us sneak away from Burnley – who have yet to win at home – with all three points.
Indeed, Burnley haven’t had the most auspicious of starts this season either – registering just one win so far, against Derby. Having said that, a credible draw at home against table-toppers Southampton in their last outing would suggest that they have more about them than their early form suggests. Hopefully the same can be said about us on that score!
Perhaps McClaren’s many viewing angles of the game at the weekend will have given him ideas about the formation he may opt for. Personally I thought that our clean-sheet was as much down to poor finishing from Watford and some excellent goalkeeping from Lee Camp as it was an extra defender – I also thought sacrificing a midfielder left Lewis and the two strikers with little to work with, and our goal came from good fortune (and good chasing from Miller).
So was 5-3-2 a success? I’m not sure – Lynch stood out again, but I’m not convinced the change in emphasis gave Gunter much benefit, and whilst Hill was commanding and impressive on his debut, were the other two centrebacks? Unsure. If it were me, ignoring my lack of training ground exposure of course, I’d be throwing down the gauntlet to Chambers and Morgan to make a case to keep their place and reverting to a back four.
One success at Vicarage Road was no new injuries – so it’s just five injuries (just!) we contend with – Cohen, Anderson, McCleary, Boateng and Blackstock remain sidelined. Our hosts are missing Brian Jensen, but could well have winger Treacy available after he missed the weekend’s game. Treacy is a potentially tricky customer – particularly against a team like us with little width.
Last time we played Burnley a brace of late goals from David McGoldrick (yes, you read that right!) saw us run out 2-0 winners against a dogged Burnley side who’d been reduced to ten men in the first half. At the very start of last season at Turf Moor despite putting in a decent performance, a solitary goal from Chris Iwelumo was sufficient to settle the game in favour of the Lancashire side.
Tough one to predict, neither side have had impressive starts to the season and both would have aspirations of being considerably higher up the table sooner rather than later. I fear this might prove to be another Watford-esque affair, which – let’s face it – was a game between two pretty poor sides decided by luck. It could have gone either way – I suspect this will be the same.
So the question is, are you feeling lucky?
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