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31 March 2018 Venue The Hawthorns Attendance

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Match Previews

The Premier League Is Cut-Throat: Dyche

West Bromwich Albion v Burnley preview

30 March 2018

Sean Dyche believes the harsh nature of the Premier League is demonstrated by West Bromwich Albion’s struggle to beat the drop.

The Baggies are bottom of the table and have won just once since a 1-0 victory at Turf Moor on the second weekend of the season.

History is at least on their side when they look to stop the rot following eight successive defeats when the Clarets make the return trip to the Hawthorns – where Burnley haven’t won in almost 50 years.

But Dyche’s current crop go to the West Midlands on Saturday bang in form after just one defeat in six games and back-to-back wins ahead of their enforced three-week break from action to stay seventh in the table.

The Burnley boss said: “West Brom has traditionally been a tough place for us to go. It’s up to us to turn that around.

“We’re in good shape to do so, but they’re still a good side on paper. They’re a sign of how tough the Premier League is because they’re a good group with a very experienced manager and a very good, recognised club in the Premier League having a tough time.

“We have to go there understanding that they’ll be fighting without a shadow of a doubt.

“We’ve got to make sure that we perform because we still want to finish our season strong and continue to get points on the board.”

West Brom have enjoyed an uninterrupted eight-year spell in the top flight since promotion from the Championship in 2010.

But Alan Pardew’s men are currently 10 points away from a position of safety as they battle to extend that run.

Baggies top scorer Jay Rodriguez is set to start against his former club

And Dyche believes few sides outside the top six can consider themselves ‘established’ in the Premier League.

“Every division is difficult. I would have said the same a few years ago about the Championship,” he added.

“But it’s so cut-throat in the Premier League. You can be going along nicely, as we were, and then go on a real tough run.

“If that tough run comes at the wrong time or the wrong stage of the season in relation to where you are in the league it can really knock you.

“I don’t want to judge anyone. I know how tough this division is.

“I’ve learned and continue to learn about how tough it is. They’ve got to find their own way out of their situation.

“Ours is to keep doing what we’re doing and keep getting points on the table and that is our clear focus.”

From the opposing camp

Manager Alan Pardew: “The realisation of how many games we’ve won and how many we’d need to win before the end of the year means it’s very difficult (to stay up) - if not impossible.

“We need to take one game at a time. We need to focus on Burnley and let’s just see if we can get a victory there and build on it. That’s as simplistic as I’ve been with the group.”

Match stats

Burnley striker Chris Wood signed for West Brom at the age of 16 and spent four years at the Hawthorns, making 21 appearances between various loan spells at other clubs. The New Zealand international has scored three times in his last two games for Burnley.

Johan Berg Gudmundsson was the busiest Claret on international duty, playing a total of 154 minutes across his two friendlies for Iceland.

The Clarets are the only side outside of the top six to have won more games than they have lost this season (W11 D10 L9).

Sean Dyche’s men have earned 21 of their 43 points away from home.

The Clarets have conceded only 14 goals away from home. Only Manchester City have a better record.

West Brom could set an unwanted Premier League record of eight successive defeats.

Injury news

Scott Arfield will again miss out for the Clarets with an ongoing calf problem, while winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson is expected to be fit despite a slight knock he picked up on international duty.

Tom Heaton’s return to the squad is likely to wait a further week.

The Baggies will be without experienced midfielder Gareth Barry and younger side-kick Sam Field, who picked up a knock on England under-30 duty.

On-loan striker Daniel Sturridge and winger Nacer Chadli are also still out.


Lee Probert


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Match Reports

West Bromwich Albion 1 Burnley 2

Ashley Barnes wonder-goal sets up 100th win for Burnley boss Sean Dyche

31 March 2018

Sean Dyche clocked up a century of wins as Burnley manager as the Clarets cruised to a third successive Premier League victory and ended a near 50-year wait for success at the Hawthorns.

On another landmark day for the Burnley boss, there was also a footnote in Clarets’ history for Ashley Barnes as he became only the second player after Sam Vokes to score in four successive Premier League games.

The in-form striker also became the first Claret to score in four top-flight games in a row in the same season since John Murray in 1968.

And he could hardly have done it in more breath-taking fashion thanks to a flying first-half volley to give Burnley a half-time lead.

Chris Wood, the other half of Burnley’s deadly double act, then continued his own hot streak with a fourth goal in three games after 73 minutes to all but wrap up a sixth away win of the campaign as the Clarets continue to march on.

And although a late goal from Salomon Rondon prevented a 12th clean sheet of the campaign, it was not enough to stop Burnley’s momentum or do anything to help West Brom’s seemingly inevitable slide into the Championship.

The Clarets’ first-half performance was about as commanding as it’s possible to be on the road as they set up a first win at the Baggies since 1969.

Burnley controlled the game from the off as they kept the ball superbly in every area of the pitch to dictate the tempo and prevent the Baggies from getting any sort of foothold in the game.

That said, Nick Pope was forced to make the first save of the afternoon as he held a header from Rondon after Jay Rodriguez – given generous applause by the Burnley fans before kick-off – had teed up his strike partner.

But the league’s bottom club struggled to lay a glove on the visitors after that until a minute before the break when Rondon, who caused plenty of problems when Albion won this fixture 4-0 last season, met a ball from Jake Livermore with a downward header which Pope got down well to save.

The Clarets – switching back to 4-4-2 with Wood’s three goals in two appearances from the bench earning him a first start since December – were content to bide their time for an opening.

Ben Mee was the unlikely source of the Clarets’ first effort on target as the defender struck a sweet effort on the turn following a corner straight at Albion keeper Ben Foster.

But when Burnley did go 1-0 up it was no surprise to see Barnes get the goal.

The striker has been in the form of his life but can rarely have scored as spectacularly as this as he met Aaron Lennon’s cross with a flying overhead volley which he thumped into the top corner from near the penalty spot.

Barnes’ eighth goal of the season did little to improve the mood inside the Hawthorns.

And the home fans would have been further frustrated had Wood not dragged a shot wide with the chance to double the lead after he had been picked out by a fine pass from GK Nkoudou on the winger’s first start for the Clarets in place of the injured Johann Berg Gudmundsson.

West Brom boss Alan Pardew made a change at half-time as he matched up Burnley’s formation with Matty Phillips coming on to play wide on the right in front of a flat back four.

The move certainly helped the Baggies see more of the ball and when Phillips flashed over a cross form Burnley man Rodriguez headed over the top.

The Clarets were having to play more on the break as they looked for the insurance of a second goal and 20 minutes into the second half it almost came.

Lennon played a lovely one-two with Barnes before delivering a dangerous cross cleared only as far as Ashley Westwood, whose finish failed to match the quality of an outstanding performance as the former Aston Villa midfielder drilled a shot wide.

Barnes then shot wide as the Clarets got back on top and with 17 minutes to go it was 2-0 as Wood banked the points.

Jeff Hendrick, who had replaced Nkoudou, was involved in the build-up before Matt Lowton played a super ball into the feet of Wood.

The former Baggies’ forward jinked into the box and although Ben Foster saved his initial effort, the ball bounced up kindly for Wood to nod in the goal that keeps him one ahead of Barnes in the race to be top scorer.

West Brom looked a beaten side and as the lowest scorers in the division faced a seemingly impossible task to avoid becoming the first team to lose eight successive Premier League games.

But Rondon has been a shining light for the Midlanders in a season of gloom and when he steered home his ninth goal of the season with seven minutes to go following Jonny Evans’ ball into the box they had a glimmer of hope.

The Clarets suffered another scare moments later when Chris Brunt had the opportunity to convert a Phillips cross at the far post.

But Burnley had done enough to secure another magnificent away-day win and stay securely in seventh place in the table with seven games to go.

Burnley: Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward, Lennon, Cork, Westwood, Nkoudou (Hendrick 69), Barnes, Wood (Vokes 77). Substitutes: Lindegaard, Taylor, Marney, Bardsley, Long.

Booked: Barnes, Cork, Pope

West Brom: Foster, Dawson, Evans, Hegazi, Nyom, Livermore, Yacob, Brunt, Gibbs (Phillips ht), Rodriguez (Burke 74), Rondon. Substitutes: Myhill, McClean, Gabr, Krychowiak, McAuley.

Booked: Yacob

Referee: Lee Probert

Attendance: 23,455

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