With no wins approaching the end of October, Burnley’s need for the three points in this game is blindingly obvious.
Home advantage could be key to Sean Dyche’s men getting anything at all from the game, although the Hammers are on a high at present, sitting comfortably in seventh position.
To those with a “glass half empty” attitude, there will be the usual criticisms of a side that have only scored three goals all season, but it would be easy to take pot shots. Their performances against Manchester United, Sunderland and away against Leicester were notable, and with the rub of the green, those three draws could quite easily have been turned into wins.
Sam Allardyce has certainly taken on board David Gold’s directive to the letter, bringing a brand of delightful attacking football back to Upton Park.
Twelve goals in the first seven games is only bettered by Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Everton, and if the Hammers could just tighten up at the back a little then a comfortable berth in the top six isn’t beyond them.
Sean Dyche’s extensive injury concerns are likely to hamper Burnley’s efforts to get the three points in this one. Although five first teamers have a projected return date of 18th October, none have trained and therefore can’t be considered. Will a famed backs-against-the-wall performance see yet another draw for the Clarets?
The Hammers have a similarly lengthy injury list but their strength in depth is evident. Scoring in every league game bar the opening day defeat to Tottenham, the partnership of Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia is key to West Ham taking all three points in this one.
Stewart Downing is in the form of his life and will relish the chance to test himself against Michael Keane down the left channel.
Burnley: Heaton, Mee, Shackell, Duff, Keane, Kightly, Arfield, Ward, Boyd, Barnes, Jutkiewctz.
West Ham: Adrian, Cresswell, Reid, Tomkins, Jenkinson, Amalfitano, Song, Downing, Nolan, Valencia, Sakho.
- There have only been two goalless draws between the sides, both coming in the 1920’s.
- Burnley have only won twice against West Ham in all competitions since 1979, one of which was in the Premier League.
- The last time West Ham failed to score at Turf Moor was in 1975/76.
- At least two goals have been scored in every fixture between the sides over the last ten seasons.
Previous Head to Heads
29/10/13 Burnley 0-2 West Ham
24/03/12 Burnley 2-2 West Ham
03/12/11 West Ham 1-2 Burnley
21/02/11 West Ham 5-1 Burnley
06/02/10 Burnley 2-1 West Ham
28/11/09 West Ham 5-3 Burnley
Burnley: Jason Shackell
Centre-back Shackell has been one of the main reasons why Burnley have ground out results this season. Rock-solid at the back, Sean Dyche can nave no complaints as to the player’s application and work ethic, very much mirroring the manager’s own career.
What a shame then that the Clarets are struggling so much at the other end of the pitch.
Three goalless draws on the spin might well see the doom mongers out in force, but to do so would really take the focus away from Shackell’s excellence.
West Ham: Diafra Sakho
Five goals in five starts is a super return for the player signed from Metz for just £4.5 million. It’s a fair bet that the Hammers’ fans won’t be clamouring for the return of Andy Carroll once the target man is fit again.
Sakho provides just as much aerially as his contemporary but is a lot quicker over the ground and importantly knows exactly where the goal is. Along with Enner Valencia, Sakho continues to prove a thorn in the side for most defences.
Burnley need to man-mark him for the entire 90, otherwise we could be looking at the match winner here.
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Burnley have struggled for goals this season and only a resolute defensive performance in many of their games have seen Sean Dyche’s side hang on for the draw.
Such is the way that Sam Allardyce sets up his Hammers side, that Burnley have every chance of adding to the goals for column. However, the Londoners are enjoying some great form at present and their attacking threat will prove too hot to handle in this one.