Burnley are in a much more perilous position that their opponents, who are more or less safe after a brilliant victory over Manchester United last weekend. This fixture sees two clubs who don’t have the history or the facilities that many of the clubs in this league have, but they have been run in the correct way and the supporters are now reaping the rewards in the top flight. Burnley need to look at sides like Swansea when it comes to establishing themselves as a top flight team. The main aim of any club coming into the top flight is to secure their position in the league in their first season and Swansea have managed that with ease every season since their promotion. It’s crucial for both to be in the Premier League if they have any ambitions of growing as a club as the money that comes with being in the top flight is eye watering.
After securing an unlikely point against Chelsea, Burnley must take the belief that they gained from that match and attack this fixture with Swansea head on. After disappointing results at home against Crystal Palace and West Brom, in which they led 2-0 in both games, but only took one point from six, they need to get a victory this weekend. Sean Dyche’s men face a difficult run of games after this weekend and they could be cut adrift if they don’t get a positive result this weekend. They must stay in touch with the rest of the sides in the relegation fight. Burnley do have a small squad, who have been worked harder than the other 19 sides in the division, which could prove to be their downfall during the run in.
Swansea are the perfect example of how to grow a club without bags of money and they have proven that any club can become a quality top flight outfit. There are clubs with better facilities in the lower leagues, but the way the Swans are run has allowed them to bring in top players and become secure in the Premier League. The Welsh club have gone from being bottom of the football league to a top half Premier League club in a very short time. The work done by the board and the plethora of managers has to be admired. Although they have little to play for this season, Garry Monk’s side won’t be an easy game for any side, as they are always putting in 100% effort for the shirt. They will want to secure their highest points total and finish in the Premier League this season and it’s difficult not to see them doing both.
In their earlier meeting this season, Swansea secured a 1-0 victory in a tight match thanks to Nathan Dyer. Burnley were still adjusting to the top flight at that time, but they will be a lot tougher to beat this weekend.
Matty Taylor may return to the Burnley squad this weekend, while Dean Marney will miss out, which is a huge loss for the home side. Ashley Barnes is likely to start after escaping a suspension for his horrendous challenge on Nemanja Matic.
Kyle Bartley is the only absentee for the away side with a knee injury. Bafetimbi Gomis will start after his flukey goal at the weekend against Manchester United and it’s crucial to Swansea that he begins to have an impact on games after the sale of Wilfried Bony.
Burnley have scored two or more goals in five of their last eight league matches, but they have only managed one win over this period.
Swansea’s victory over Manchester United saw them complete their first double over the decorated English club in their history.
Danny Ings has gone under the radar this season at Burnley after the emergence of both Charlie Austin and Harry Kane as potential England players. However the Burnley striker has a claim himself, especially considering he is playing with less experienced players at Turf Moor. Both QPR and Tottenham have lots of Premier League experience in their squads which has allowed Austin and Kane to flourish. Compare that to Ings, who is the player that others look to for inspiration on the pitch. During the January transfer window, it was clear that Burnley regard him as their main hope for survival and selling him would have ended any chance they had. Therefore Ings has had an incredible first season in the top flight scoring nine goals and getting four assists. At the age of 22, he has a huge future ahead of him, but he needs to choose the correct move in the summer as he can’t afford to be buried at a big club as plenty of young English players have before him. He will cause problems for Swansea at the weekend as he works hard and tires out defences. Meanwhile his link up play is good, and he has the ability to create chances for his team mates.
Jonjo Shelvey has rebuilt his career at Swansea City and is starting to gain the consistency to supplement his wonder goals. He has always had a lot of talent and could be an England regular in the future, but he must improve his decision making, which he has done since moving to the Swans. Even though he may not fit the general model for a Swansea midfielder in the way that Jack Cork, Leon Britton and Tom Carroll do, Shelvey influences games far more and has the ability to be a matchwinner as he was against Manchester United. This is why Garry Monk finds a place for the midfielder. There has been plenty of interest in Shelvey from sides such as Newcastle and Crystal Palace, but Swansea appears to be a good fit for him at the moment, and if he puts in performances like he did last weekend more regularly, an England recall is a huge possibility. His pass success rate is only 79.5%, which he needs to improve given possession is a huge part of Swansea’s ethos. He has managed to score two goals and get three assists. If these figures continue to grow year on year, Shelvey could develop into a really good top flight midfielder.
I think there will be goals this weekend. There have been a lot recently at Turf Moor and Swansea may be slightly off the pace given the lack of motivation they have for the rest of the season. However they have the quality to pick off any mistakes that the home side make. Burnley must be careful of trying to push the game too much as that can have awful consequences in this league. They must be patient and try to keep the ball as much as possible as Swansea can pass a side into submission when they are on form. The strikeforce will be crucial to Burnley as both Ings and Barnes can score goals. Burnley will win this one. Just.
Burnley 2-1 Swansea City