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Match Previews

PREVIEW: Aston Villa v Burnley

Inside track on Saturday's big game at Villa Park

27 September 2019

The Clarets go to Villa Park for the first time since May, 2015 on an afternoon they headed out of the Premier League - despite a 1-0 win secured by a goal from Danny Ings on his last appearance for the club.

Villa followed 12 months later as Sean Dyche’s men went the opposite direction by bouncing straight back to the top-flight as Championship winners.

A reunion is now finally on the agenda – in more ways than one – following the Midlanders’ promotion success via the play-offs last season.

Heaton Dyche.jpg

Burnley will, of course, face former goalkeeper Tom Heaton at Villa Park with Clarets’ boss Sean Dyche paying tribute to his ex-club captain in the build-up: “He's a top fella off and on the pitch. I like him as a person, and I like him as a professional and as a player.

“I'm full of respect for Tom and I'm sure the group will be as well but as I say; during the game that goes out of the window because we want to win,” said Dyche.

With the Clarets’ focus on trying to make it successive league wins for the first time this season, Dyche’s sole concern will be backing one of his players to find a way past Heaton.

And with Chris Wood up-and-running for the campaign with both goals to beat Norwich City a week ago, Dyche is happy with his strikeforce.

Wood 1st goal.jpg

“All strikers want to score goals and he (Wood) and Ashley Barnes know they got the shirts at the minute,” added Dyche.

“But they also know that Jay Rod is training hard and well. He's trying to affect games when he comes on and Vydra has popped up as well, looking sharper.

“There is a big challenge in that striking department. It's helpful for them that I often go with two strikers.

“We have adapted it with a man in behind as well, usually with Jeff playing in the hole. They know there are no guarantees, but the demand is high in all areas of this group at the minute particularly in the striking department.”

Team news

The Clarets are in good shape injury-wise, with Danny Drinkwater the only absentee.

The on-loan midfielder is back in light training as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury but not yet in a position to push for a place.

Gudmundsson goal.jpg

Johann Berg Gudmundsson returns to the squad after missing the last three Premier League games.

Villa made nine changes to their starting line-up for their mid-week Carabao Cup win at Brighton, with Tom Heaton among those to have been given the night off.

Boss Dean Smith is likely to bring back most of his regular Premier League starters but is still without midfielder Henri Lansbury (ankle), striker Jonathan Kodjia (cheekbone) and defender James Chester (hamstring).

Form guide

The Clarets picked up their first win since the opening day with last Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Norwich City to make it eight points from their opening six games.

Burnley are unbeaten in their last two away games – picking up points at Wolves and Brighton.

Wood 2nd.jpg

Villa are through to the last 16 of the Carabao Cup and a home Midlands’ derby with Wolves after a third-round win at Brighton on Wednesday night.

Dean Smith’s side also got past Crewe Alexandra in the League Cup competition, but in the Premier League have picked up only four points to sit in the bottom three.

Those points have come from their last two home league games, with a win over Everton followed by a goalless draw against West Ham. Villa twice led at Arsenal last weekend but conceded two late goals to lose 3-2.

Opposition camp

Villa goalkeeper and former Clarets’ captain Tom Heaton told the Burnley Express: “I'm looking forward to the game.

“I had a fantastic time at Burnley with some fantastic people, and fans, but time moves forward.

Tom Heaton Aston Villa.jpg

“Whether it's Turf Moor or Villa Park, Wembley, there's a job to be done. It's important nothing distracts from that.

“I obviously have a history there and we had some incredible times. It was an important time in my life, but everything has moved on.

“I have good relationships with everybody there, but I can't focus on names and faces, individual, personal battles.

“I just have to be focused on my job and try and deal with what happens on the day. That's how I've always looked at it.”

Match stats

The Clarets have won three and drawn four of the last eight top-flight meetings between the sides.

Burnley have won their last five games against newly-promoted clubs – including last Saturday’s victory against Norwich City.

Ex-Clarets keeper Tom Heaton is looking for a third successive clean sheet at Villa Park. The club hasn’t managed that in the top-flight since 2012.


Lee Mason


Martin Atkinson


Saturday, 3pm



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