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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.

Referee

Lee Probert

 


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