On Saturday at the Turf Moor, Burnley will host Newcastle United in a must-win match for their own survival in the country’s top division flight.
When and Where?
Date: May 22, Sunday.
Place: Turf Moor.
Time: 4pm (BST).
Referee: Craig Pawson.
Assistants: Eddie Smart, Dan Robathan.
Fourth official: Jeremy Simpson.
VAR: Jarred Gillett.
Assistant VAR: James Mainwaring.
For the host, Mathew Lowton is suspended for this match following his red card against Aston Villa, earlier this week. Although James Tarkowski had made his comeback in Burnley’s last match, Ben Mee’s availability is still a matter of concern. Ashley Westwood is ruled out till the latter part of the year after his horrifying ankle injury. Joining him in the long term absentees list is Matej Vydra, who has had an operation.
Newcastle United might miss the service of defender Fabian Schar in their last match of the season. The Swiss centre-back was forced off the pitch against Arsenal and his availability is of great doubt. Veteran midfielder Jonjo Shelvey is out until the pre-season as confirmed by Eddie Howe. Ryan Fraser however was involved in The Magpies’ last game against the Gunners as a 2nd half substitute and might even feature in the starting 11. Kieran Trippier is coming back from an injury and it will be interesting to see if he features in the lineup on Sunday. Chris Wood is also doubtful to play against his former club as he is recovering from a hip injury.
Can Eddie Howe put a dent to Jackson’s newly written fairytale?
Gameweek 38 for Burnley has come down to the loser losing it all. Currently out of the dropping zone only on goal difference, The Clarets can survive the deadly scare of relegation by winning at Turf Moor. A loss however will have them rely on Leeds United. Earlier this week at Villa Park, The Clarets salvaged a crucial draw, all thanks to Nick Pope’s trustworthy pair of gloves. Although they enjoy a very comfortable superior goal difference as compared to Leeds United, the former must battle it out on its own to avoid joining Watford and Norwich City in Championship.
Some might argue that the sacking of their decade-old manager, Sean Dyche was a boon because of Burnley’s improved performance under the watchful eyes of their caretaker manager, Mike Jackson. Sean Dyche was sacked from his managerial post on 16th April and since then it was The Clarets’ U-23 manager taking up the charge of the senior team. While Dyche was skillfully good in keeping Burnley up in the top flight but his abysmal record with an unfashionable Burnley this season was clearly visible. Under Dyche, Burnley had grabbed 0.73 points per game. On the other hand, Jackson has managed 7 matches this season and has earned 11 points making it 1.57 points per match.
To put things into better perspective, Burnley’s record post Sean Dyche era has been better than Manchester United’s season (1.56 points per match). Burnley’s interim manager also has a Premier League manager of the month award in his kitty. According to fbref, Dyche’s Burnley had an xG of 0.91 whereas his successor has an xG of 1.42. Jackson has also slightly improved his team’s xGA from 1.50 to 1.4. Burnley’s own ‘Jacko’ has a long way to go before he is immortalized at Turf Moor, but keeping the club in the Premier League is a good start. He’s given them a great chance of surviving the drop, and for someone who despises the spotlight, he’s doing everything he can to keep it.
Newcastle United has had one of the most dramatic upliftments in English football. Banking on their newfound wealth and Eddie Howe’s strict management, The Magpies have successfully climbed up the Premier League ladder this season. From sitting at the bottom during Christmas to pushing their way up to the top half of the table, the turnaround since then has been astonishing, with only Liverpool, Manchester City, and Tottenham having amassed more Premier League points than the Magpies this calendar year.
Traveling to Turf Moor, Eddie Howe has the chance to finish in the top half of the table considering they have to win and Brighton and Brentford lose on the last day. Newcastle United have an impressive record in their last 7 matches as well with only Manchester City and Liverpool edging past them. A top-half finish this season will set up a good stage for Eddie Howe to splash cash in the summer transfer window and focus on finishing higher in the next few seasons, a European spot is also not far fetched. Although lately, Newcastle’s away form has not been great. They last took home all the 3 points from an away match on March 10.
Nick Pope – Burnley
The 30-year-old stood tall on Thursday against Aston Villa to deny the host a win against Burnley. After missing an entire Premier League season due to a dislocated shoulder, the Burnley goalkeeper has re-established himself as the club’s No. 1. The expected-goals model from Opta determines how many shots a goalie is likely to have conceded based on the location of the shot, the type of shot, and where the ball was struck in the goal. Since making his Premier League debut in 2017, Pope has saved five goals for Burnley, while most of his opponents have cost their teams goals.
Allan Saint-Maximin – Newcastle United
Saint-Maximin played as a left wide midfielder in Bruce’s 4-4-1-1 or 5-4-1 formations. Given that Newcastle sat deep and committed practically all of their men to construct a tenacious defensive block, the Frenchman’s ball-carrying was their primary means of progressing the ball towards the final third. While not particularly well-structured or complex, Saint-playing Maximin’s style allows this method to be somewhat effective. According to FBRef, he attempts 4.54 dribbles per 90 minutes, putting him in the 99th percentile among European top five-league forwards. Many opponents choose to play it safe due to Saint-direct Maximin’s style and ability to travel with the ball at speed. No player has been involved in more league goals than the Frenchman and he will be looking to increase the tally on the last day of the season.
Burnley predicted XI vs Newcastle: Pope; Collins, Tarkowski, Long; Roberts, Brownhill, Cork, McNeil, Taylor; Cornet, Barnes.
Newcastle predicted XI vs Burnley: Dubravka; Trippier, Lascelles, Burn, Targett; Longstaff, Guimaraes, Joelinton; Almiron, Wilson, Saint-Maximin.