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PREVIEW: Everton v Burnley

Build-up as the Clarets look for hat-trick of wins in Boxing Day re-match on Merseyside

26 December 2019

A year on from last year’s Boxing Day meeting, both clubs are in a different place.

Everton’s 5-1 win at Turf Moor 12 months ago was a nadir for the Clarets, who stayed stuck in the bottom three with just 12 points from the first half of the season.

The Toffees – then under Marco Silva – moved up to eighth place, while Burnley’s top-flight status looked at risk.

Since then, it has been something of a reversal of fortunes with the Clarets carrying last season’s revival into the current campaign to reach Christmas 10th in the table, while Everton find themselves just four points above the bottom three with a new manager in place.

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Burnley’s position has been boosted by back-to-back wins following a burst of three defeats.

And striker Chris Wood sees the Clarets’ resilience as a major factor in their bid to keep punching in the Premier League.

“It’s something we’ve learned in the past,” said Burnley’s top scorer.

“You can go through bad games and take knocks, but it’s how you bounced back and we’ve done that pretty well.

“We all know we had a sticky start to last season, but we’ve been better in this one.

“But we’ve still got a long way to go to achieve what we want to, so we have to keep working hard.

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Chris Wood scored the Clarets' winner against Everton in March, 2018

“We want to be progressing. First and foremost we want to stay up, but then we build from there.

“Since I’ve been here we’ve had seventh and 15th place finishes. It’s about progression and trying to break into that top 10 and becoming a natural Premier League side.”

Everton have been in the Premier League since the get-go and have been a top-flight club since 1954.

With that status potentially coming under threat, the Merseysiders opted to make a change by axing earlier this month.

They have since been unbeaten in the league in three games under iconic former striker Duncan Ferguson.

But on Boxing Day, their new long-term plan kicks into gear with the greatly decorated Carlo Ancelotti – a former Premier League winner with Chelsea and three-times Champions League-winning manager – starting life as Everton’s 18th ‘permanent’ manager against the Clarets.

Team news

The Clarets are without midfielder Jeff Hendrick – the match-winner in Burnley’s 1-0 victory over Everton at Turf Moor in October – who serves a one-match ban following a fifth booking of the season at Bournemouth last Saturday.

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Ex-Everton winger Aaron Lennon, who replaced Hendrick off the bench at the Vitality Stadium, missed training at the start of the week through illness but it’s hoped he’ll be fit to travel to his former club.

A fit-again Johann Berg Gudmundsson comes back into contention for a right-sided role for the first time since facing the Toffees in October.

Defender Ben Gibson remains sidelined but is close to returning from a groin strain.

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti will not be able to pick midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin or forward Alex Iwobi for his first game in charge due to injury, with ex-England wideman Theo Walcott also expected to miss out.

Form guide

The Clarets headed into Christmas on the back of successive wins and go to Goodison Park after winning two of their last three away games to move into the top half of the table.

A clean sheet in their 1-0 victory at Bournemouth last Saturday was Burnley’s seventh in the Premier League. No club has more.

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Everton are unbeaten in their last three Premier League games – all under caretaker-manager Duncan Ferguson.

The first of those was a win but that 3-1 success against Chelsea is the Toffees’ only victory in six league games.

That run has left them 15th in the table, four points above the relegation places, and prompted the change of management and appointment of Carlo Ancelotti as Marco Silva’s successor.

Four of Everton’s five league this season have come at Goodison Park.

Opposition camp

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti: “It is really exciting, like the first day of school.

“I have received a lot of support in these past days from the club, from the supporters I met at the hotel and in the city.

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“The atmosphere is good and positive and I hope we are going to play a great game.

“We are trying to play the best football possible… with a lot of intensity, to be aggressive and try to win the ball early.

“This is the style of football we want to play. We will try to do this in the game against Burnley."

Match stats

Clarets defender James Tarkowski is in line to play the 250th league game of his career. It would be his 108th league appearance for the Clarets.

Former Everton winger Aaron Lennon could play his 50th game for Burnley.

The Clarets have recorded five Premier League wins against Everton – their highest number against any club.

None of their previous 11 Premier League meetings between the clubs has produced a draw.

Everton have lost their last two home games on Boxing Day.

Referee

Anthony Taylor

VAR

Paul Tierney

Kick-off

Thursday, 3pm


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