Burnley vs Sunderland by Luke
After two consecutive defeats away from home, against Tottenha and West Ham, Burnley managed to bounce back to winning ways with a narrow 1:0 victory over Middlesbrough on the Boxing Day. It was their second consecutive home victory and fourth in last five matches in front of own audience, as the team continues to gathers most of the points in matches at home.
Players of Middlesbrough had a bit more of the ball possession, but didn't create much during the game, while Burnley had a bit more concrete chances and were awarded for their fighting spirit towards the end of the game. Only goal was scored in 80th minute via Gray, as the guests had no time to response further. Thanks to this victory, Burnley is at fourteenth position having six points more than relegating placed Sunderland.
Home team should be playing in 4-4-2 formation with Gray and Vokes up front. Central midfielder Jeff Hendrick (15/2) is suspended now, while offensive midfielder Johann Berg Gudmundsson (14/1) remains not completely fit and is doubtful for this one, similar to midfielder Dean Marney (18/1) who has chances to start however. Right back Matthew Lowton is available for selection after missing the Boxing Day game due suspension.
Sunderland, on the other side, comes from a 3:1 away defeat against Manchester United last Monday afternoon. They simply couldn't do much more in that game and were deservedly defeat, as the players of United simply make them play very defensively and didn't have much chances to stay with untouched sheet.
Hosts took the lead in 39th via Blind and continued dominating the field, scoring two more in the second halftime, via Ibrahimovic and Mkhitaryan towards the end of the game, while the guests responded in first minute of additional time via Borini. It was their third defeat in last four matches, as the team continues to be inside the relegation zone with fourteen points earned so far, which is just two more than rock bottom placed Hull, but also two less than safely placed Crystal Palace.
Visitors are set to play in 4-3-3 formation with Borini and Anichebe on the wings, plus Defoe as central striker. Offensive Adnan Januzaj is available for selection after missing the previous game. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford (16/0) will probably miss for several months due knee injury. Midfielder Steven Pienaar and right back Javier Manquillo (9/0) remain both doubtful. Injured are midfielders Paddy McNair (9/0), Lee Catermole (2/0), Lynden Gooch (9/0), Jack Rodwell (8/0), offensive midfielder Duncan Watmore (8/0) and defensive midfielder Jan Kirchhoff (7/0).
- Sunderland have lost 6 of their last 7 away matches (Premier League).
Burnley got back to home matches last time out and the team managed to get a three pointer against Middlesbrough, surely trying to impress with a victory here as well. Sunderland did improve a bit, but it's still to be reflected on their results, as the team has just one victory from nine away matches this season. Under current circumstances, I definitely see a home victory here being more probable than the other outcomes.