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Match Previews

PREVIEW: Burnley v West Ham

Tale of the tape as the Clarets look to finish 2018 on a high

30 December 2018

The Clarets end 2018 with the visit of West Ham United, looking to finish a memorable year on a high.

A highest league finish in 44 years and a first European campaign in over 50 years set new marks for the modern-day Clarets over the past 12 months.

But time quickly moves on, and with this season bringing a fresh set of problems the current situation is not so rosy.

Sean Dyche’s men find themselves second from bottom of the Premier League following Fulham’s win on Saturday.

Cardiff City’s victory at Leicester City has also opened up a gap behind the 16th-placed Bluebirds.

But with 19 games still to go during the second half of the season, the Clarets know their destiny is still very much in their own hands.

To shape it positively, they must start winning again quickly.

And Dyche will be looking for a positive response to the 5-1 Boxing Day defeat to Everton to breathe new life into the survival campaign.

It goes without saying that Burnley must improve their defensive record and the manager is looking for better in both penalty areas against the in-form Hammers, who have recovered from a poor start to the season to sit 11th in the table.

“This season it’s been quite obvious in the defending side of the game there have been too many details lacking, too many soft goals and too many soft moments,” admitted the Burnley boss.

“The key moments are both ends of the pitch. That’s where the business is, particularly in the Premier League.

“You’ve got to be deadly at one end and safe as houses at the other and we haven’t that balance.

“The margins we kept so tight last season always gave us a chance.

“If those margins go the wrong way, you can be out of game before you’re in it. And we’ve done that too many times this season.”

The Clarets will be determined to try and restore a solid base to build from after the five goals they shipped against the Toffees took their tally of goals-against beyond that from all of last season.

But they also need wins on the board to try and restore confidence and make progress up the table, with Dyche seeking ways to give the Hammers something to think about.

“They certainly have a prowess going forwards,” he added. “They can still give you a chance at times to get back at them and I think that’s something we’ve got to really think about and how we can attack and get at them.”

Team news

The Clarets are again set to be without midfield men Steven Defour and Robbie Brady, while winger Aaron Lennon is still sidelined following knee surgery.

Stephen Ward is back in training but not yet fully match-fit, while full-back Matt Lowton serves a one-match ban following a fifth yellow card of the season on Boxing Day.

The Hammers have a number of long-term absentees, but defender Pablo Zabaleta could be back from illness after missing Wednesday’s win at Southampton.

Frontmen Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic, who has been out for almost a month, may also travel.

Form guide

The Clarets are short of wins, with just one victory in their last 12 matches.

West Ham have hit form with five wins in their last six outings – a 2-0 home defeat to Watford just before Christmas their only recent blip.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are unbeaten in five matches away from home, in a run stretching back to early October.

West Ham won the first meeting this season – 4-2 at the London Stadium at the start of November.

Opposition camp 

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini: “Burnley is in a difficult moment, without any doubt.

“They are at the bottom of the table and conceding too many goals, but I don’t think the players and the manager have forgotten what they did last season.

“We must be very careful against them.”

Match stats

Both teams have scored in each of the four previous Premier League meetings at Turf Moor.

The Clarets are now up to 62 Premier League games without being awarded a penalty.

West Ham are seeking a fourth successive away win in the Premier League for first time since 2007.

Midfielder Mark Noble, 31, will become the 12th West Ham player to make 450 appearances for the club if he figures at Turf Moor.


David Coote


Sunday, 2.15pm

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