Tuesday’s events mean that we approach the traditionally significant Christmas period (twelve points available in just ten days after next weekend) with confidence and in good spirits.
Burnley come to Wembley on Saturday afternoon and so are the first obstacle we face as we attempt to take advantage of a relatively, on paper anyway, ‘good’ run of fixtures. Next Sunday we travel to Goodison; Bournemouth and Wolves then get to endure the Wembley Experience before we begin 2019 with a trip to Cardiff.
The Clarets have struggled this season. They’ve had the Europa League, injuries and an element of hmm-ive-seen-you-somewhere-before-so-i-know-how-to-play-against-you to deal with.
They currently lie 17th having won just one of their eight away league games thus far. They have lost six of their last nine league games, drawn two and won one, their one as it goes was last week versus Brighton, so they come to us in a little bit of form. Everything’s relative.
It’s hard to draw much that’s positive from their campaign thus far. Their bedrock was their defence but that has now gone to pieces, even Fulham put four past them. Tarkowski is back from injury which will help matters. Mee, Taylor, Cork, Brady, Gudmundsson & Wood (sort of) are all good enough players and Dyche is an astute manager so it’s not obvious what’s gone wrong. The Europa League early start didn’t help them as I said, it could just be a hangover from that.
Reading between Poch’s lines, we might have a few players back from injury, Trippier, Aurier, Foyth and Sanchez amongst them. I’d be surprised if despite this, Kyle W-P isn’t given another chance. He played well after losing possession calamitously to Ousmane Dembele early on on Tuesday. Vertonghen is back from suspension and should play alongside Toby – Foyth v Chris Wood? No thank you. Rose should keep his place.
Midfield is anyone’s guess despite the limited options though Dier will be disappointed not to make a return. As for the remainder, pick any four from Sissoko, Winks, Eriksen, Dele, Lamela, Lucas and Son. Kane will, of course, play.
Given Burnley’s recent record, anything other than a win will be disappointing to say the least. It promises to be yet another low crowd, struggling to make forty thousand I’d hazard. People really have had enough of Wembley.
Graham Scott is the referee. No, me neither. He’s taken charge of just four Premier League games this season despite doing loads last year including our victories over Everton, Southampton and Stoke. Perhaps he’s been injured.
Three points here we come! I hope.
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