PL PREVIEW: Leeds United v Burnley
Clarets head to Elland Road to renew Roses rivalry
The Clarets will be looking for a Sunday best as they get their festive fixture programme under way at Elland Road.
The Burnley squad had a rare Christmas Day off before training again on Boxing Day in readiness for the trip to Leeds.
The Yorkshire club are playing their first Premier League season since 2003/04 with the Clarets going to Leeds for the first time since a 1-1 Championship draw in August, 2015.
After getting quickly out of the blocks with three wins and a draw from their first six games, Marcelo Bielsa’s side has since blown hot and cold with some big wins interspersed with heavy defeats to leave them 15th in the table – one place above the in-form Clarets who are looking for back-to-back wins.
That has made Leeds hard to predict, bar a consistently free-flowing approach which has led to plenty of goals at both ends.
The Clarets have been tough to beat in their climb away from the bottom of the table and manager Sean Dyche is unlikely to deviate far from the plan.
“I don't think we'll prepare too differently,” said the Burnley boss, whose side will then face Sheffield United at Turf Moor two days later.
“We found a consistent way of working with the team and when it's working correctly, we've proven we can be effective in the Premier League against many different styles.
“Leeds is a different style again but there are lots of different styles in the Premier League. They've been up and down with a lot of goals going in, but they've scored a few goals as well.
“We've got to capitalise on all the right things and do all the right things we do to win a game. That will be our focus.”
The Clarets will check on widemen Robbie Brady and Dwight McNeil after both picked up knocks in last Monday night’s win over Wolves.
Jack Cork and Johann Berg Gudmundsson both featured in a training-ground game against Blackpool last Wednesday to step up their recoveries from injury, while Dale Stephens and Phil Bardsley also got in 90 minutes to add to their match fitness.
Captain Liam Cooper is a doubt after suffering an abdominal strain in Leeds’ defeat to Manchester United.
Defensive colleague Robin Koch is also out but Spanish international Diego Llorente is expected to return and could make a full debut following his September signing from Real Sociedad.
The Clarets are unbeaten in four games following a 1-0 victory over Wolves last Monday night and have lost just one of their last seven fixtures to climb to 16th in the table.
They have also lost just one of their last five away games, keeping clean sheets in four of them.
Leeds have won two and lost five of their last eight games.
A 6-2 loss at Manchester United last time out leaves them 15th in the table, with four points more than Burnley.
Leeds midfielder Mateusz Klich: “We have to win this game.
“We said before the season started, we have to make sure that we win against every team who is going to be around us in the table, because our goal is to stay in the league and to stay in the league you have to beat everyone who is behind you.
“We beat Sheffield United, Fulham, Newcastle and I hope we can have three points against Burnley.
“It's a very important game for us. It was a big defeat against Manchester United, but we need to move on and focus on the Burnley game because it’s going to be a totally different game.
“Burnley defend very well as a team and they’re very hard to beat.
“It’s going to be a very demanding game for us because we won’t have much space and we have to create a lot of chances and at the same time be very focussed on the set-pieces because they also are dangerous at set pieces.”
This will be the first top-flight meeting between the two clubs since April, 1976.
Burnley’s next goal will be their 200th Premier League goal under Sean Dyche’s management.
Clarets’ defender Eric Pieters will make his 200th Premier League appearance if he features.
Leeds have conceded the most goals in the league so far this season – 30.
Leeds’ league games have so far featured 54 goals, second only to the matches involving Liverpool. There have been 15 goals scored in their last two fixtures.
Burnley’s games have produced 27 goals, the lowest total in the division. Clarets top scorer Chris Wood scored 24 goals in 44 games for Leeds.
Sunday, 12 noon
Full commentary on Clarets+
Wed, Mar 3, 2021