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05 July 2020 Venue Turf Moor Attendance

Kick off 12:00 (UK)

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PREVIEW: Burnley v Sheffield United

Build-up as the Clarets look to extend home run and leap-frog buoyant Blades

5 July 2020

The Clarets meet Sheffield United for a Sunday lunchtime date with both sides still looking to upset the odds.

In their first season back in the top tier since 2007, the Blades went into the weekend seventh in the Premier League table and chasing a Europa League spot.

They looked even better placed to secure a first ever tilt at European football before their momentum was stalled by lockdown.

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But Chris Wilder’s side have still added four points to their tally since returning to action and are looking to complete a double over the Clarets following a comfortable 3-0 win in south Yorkshire at the start of November.

It’s been an outstanding effort from Wilder’s men, but Burnley will go above them if they can make it a hat-trick of wins by building on an unbeaten home league run which stretches back to the turn of the year.

That would keep alive the Clarets’ own hopes of a possible top-eight finish which may be enough to secure a European place for the second time in three years.

And given the injury and contract issues Burnley have had to battle since returning to action, even to be in the running is an impressive effort.

“We’re literally stripped back. It’s not ideal by any means, but you saw at Crystal Palace the group are still motivated,” said manager Sean Dyche, who was missing half-a-dozen players through injury as his side made it back-to-back 1-0 wins by taking maximum points at Selhurst Park.

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“The players who have been out have been regular first-team players for a while now and very good players at that.

“Of course, it does affect your choices and it does affect the group. But there has been a strong resolve to the challenge we have here from all involved.

“Forty-five points is no mean feat at this stage for a club like ours. That’s quite a big marker and we’ve got to stay open-minded to where it can go.

“Obviously, it would be very helpful if we had all those players fit because I think it would be very competitive group and we can change it, whereas at the moment we’re limited with our changes.

“But I am pleased overall. We’ve come through a lot of challenges this season and we continue to work for what we get.”

Team news

The Clarets hope to have striker Jay Rodriguez back following his goal-scoring performance last time out at Turf Moor.

Winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson could also return to the squad for a Premier League fixture for the first time since New Year’s Day following a calf injury.

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However, boss Sean Dyche still has doubts over Jack Cork, Chris Woods and Robbie Brady, while Ashley Barnes and Matt Lowton are ruled out.

Sheffield United didn’t fill their bench for their Thursday night win over Spurs and still have midfielders John Lundstram, John Fleck – who shared the goals in the Blades’ 3-0 home win over Burnley in November – and Luke Freeman missing.

Striker Leon Clarke is also an absentee and defender Jack O’Connell, who has missed the past five games with a knee problem, remains a doubt.

Form guide

The Clarets have secured back-to-back wins and have lost only once – at in-form Manchester City – in 10 Premier League games either side of the lockdown.

Burnley haven’t lost at home in the league since 1 January – a five-match unbeaten run.

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Sheffield United won for the first time since the restart – which they launched with a draw at Aston Villa on 17 June – when they overcame Tottenham 3-1 at Bramall Lane on Thursday night.

Prior to that they had lost three in a row, including an FA Cup quarter-final loss to Arsenal.

Before lockdown, the Blades had been beaten only once in seven league games to mount a challenge for Europe.

They didn’t lose away from home in the league this season until 29 December.

Opposition camp

Sheffield United Chris Wilder: “I have said all along I think Burnley are the most talked-about football club in our football club; £120m, £120m, £120m, another one (season) and another one, that is what they have done, the consistency.

Chris Wilder Sheffield United.jpg

“Brilliant manager who gets the best out of his team. They are a great example for my football club and my players on how to do it.

“If I am sat here in four or five years’ time a Premier League manager like Sean is, I would be absolutely delighted.”

Match stats

This will be the first Premier League meeting between the sides at Turf Moor.

Burnley’s only previous game played in July was a Europa League tie at Aberdeen two years ago.

Sunday will be the Clarets’ 999th first-team game of the millennium. 

Sean Dyche’s men need one more win to equal their best tally of 14 in the Premier League, which they achieved in 2017/18.

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Burnley defender Erik Pieters is one start away from 200 in English league football.

Referee

Peter Bankes

VAR

Stuart Attwell

Kick-off

Sunday, 12 noon

Television coverage

Sky Sports

 

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Match Reports

REPORT: Burnley 1 Sheffield United 1

Tarkowski scores as skipper but late goal denies Clatr

5 July 2020

James Tarkowski led by example as captain in the Premier League for the first time, although his goal wasn’t quite enough to give the Clarets a hat-trick of wins.

Tarkowksi, taking the armband from the injured Ben Mee and a commanding figure at both ends of the pitch, fired Burnley into a half-time lead as they looked to go above Sheffield United and stay in an improbable race for Europe.

Sean Dyche’s side were just over 10 minutes from moving up to eighth place in the table until John Egan levelled for the Blades.

But even though a 14th clean sheet and record-equalling 14th Premier League win just eluded them, the Clarets have still lost just once in their last 11 league games and despite missing more key men delivered another defiant performance which keeps them on course for a fantastic finish.

The Clarets, already stretched by injuries, were hit by a further blow as Mee’s ever-present record was ended by a thigh problem and Jack Cork succumbed to the ankle injury he sustained in Monday night’s win at Crystal Palace.

That interrupted Mee’s defensive partnership with Tarkowski for the first time in 57 Premier League games as Kevin Long returned to Burnley’s starting line-up for the first time in the top flight since December, 2018.

There was good news, however, in the shape of a return on the bench for top scorer Chris Wood and widemen Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Robbie Brady alongside young midfielder Josh Benson – permitted by the league to play following the expiration of contracts on 30 June.

Sheffield United were one short on their bench but arrived at Turf Moor in fine fettle following a win over Tottenham – their first since restart – which re-ignited their hopes of a top-eight finish and a possible European place.

Their confidence didn’t looked mis-placed as the Blades made a lightning start and Nick Pope needed to be alert inside the first couple of minutes to keep out an Oli McBurnie effort with his legs after a flick from David McGoldrick had teed up his strike partner.

But the Clarets had an even better chance to take an early lead when a lovely moved opened up the visitors’ defence with Erik Pieters playing the final ball for Matej Vydra to steer an effort wide with just goalkeeper Dean Henderson to beat.

Burnley gradually played their way into the ascendency as they repeated the controlled football that had brought them back-to-back wins, former United loanee Phil Bardsley stinging the palms of Henderson whose was fortunate the rebound didn’t drop closer to the fit-again Jay Rodriguez.

The Blades countered with a clipped effort over the top from McBurnie but while they look a threat from set-pieces it was the Clarets who grabbed the half-time lead from a free-kick of their own.

Dwight McNeil, switching flanks from the right-sided berth he was given up to half time, swung the ball over and when Rodriguez flicked on, Tarkowski timed his run perfectly to slide home his second goal of the season and first on home soil since a winner against Brighton 19 months ago.

Blades boss Chris Wilder waited just 10 minutes of the second half to make a double change and try to find a way past a Burnley side which had lost only one of the last 33 Premier League games they had led at half-time.

One of those coming on, striker Billy Sharp, had scored the winner the last time United tasted success at Turf Moor 12 years ago.

But the Clarets still held firm while looking to strike on the break, making a change of their own at the second-half drinks break – when a warm beverage might have been the order of the day on a chilly and blustery afternoon – as the returning Wood replaced Vydra for his first appearance since scoring against Tottenham in Burnley’s final game before lockdown.

And it was Burnley who should have struck again with a goal that could have secured the points with 12 minutes to go.

Rodriguez’s thundering volley was again only parried by Henderson, but McNeil couldn’t capitalise as he dragged his shot wide with a hurried finish.

And a couple of minutes later the Blades were level.

The Clarets had defended their penalty area superbly - with Long again stepping up to meet the challenge as Tarkowski's central ally - but this time Ben Osborn’s floated ball in following a short corner was flicked on by Sharp for Egan to meet with a half-volley he drilled into the top corner.

Visibly hurt by that, Burnley rallied for one last push to try and find a winner and Pieters almost provided it with a superb long-range strike which Henderson pushed around a post to stop the winning run.

Burnley: Pope; Bardsley, Long, Tarkowski, Taylor; McNeil, Westwood, Brownhill, Pieters (Gudmundsson 90); Rodriguez, Vydra (Wood 68). Substitutes: Peacock-Farrell, Brady, Thompson, Dunne, Thomas, Benson, Goodridge.

Booked: None

Sheffield United: Henderson; Basham (Rodwell 75), Egan, Robinson (O’Connell 55); Baldock, Berge, Norwood (Sharp 55), Osborn, Stevens; McBurnie (Mousset 71), McGoldrick. Substitutes: Moore, Jagielka, Freeman, Zivkovic.

Booked: None

Referee: Peter Bankes

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