Burnley still have a mathematical chance of qualifying for next season’s Europa League as they prepare to face already-relegated Norwich this evening, although the likelihood of them doing so is slim.
Even if seventh is good enough to secure European football, the Clarets realistically need to win their two remaining matches and hope for favours from elsewhere, as they sit four points behind seventh-placed Tottenham and have a vastly inferior goal difference (as per premierleague.com).
They will be confident of picking up three points this evening, though, away to a Canaries side who have lost all eight of their league matches since the Premier League restart to sink without trace back into the Championship.
Sean Dyche was dealt two further injury blows in the midweek draw against Wolves, with Charlie Taylor and Jay Rodriguez both going off. The former is highly unlikely to feature at Carrow Road, although the latter might make it as Dyche insisted that his withdrawal was precautionary. Confirmed absentees are Jack Cork, Ashley Barnes, Ben Mee and Matthew Lowton. [via Lancashire Telegraph]
Our predicted XI for Burnley’s trip to Norwich shows two changes in personnel from the team that started on Wednesday:
Nick Pope will continue in goal as he closes in on an ever-present Premier League season – as does James Tarkowski, who is again set to start alongside Kevin Long at centre-back. Phil Bardsley keeps his place in the absence of Lowton, while Taylor’s injury is set to see Erik Pieters, who has played in midfield in recent games, restored to his conventional left-back position.
With Pieters likely to vacate the left midfield berth he occupied against Wolves, Dwight McNeil could move over to that flank, having played on the right in midweek. In turn, that could see Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who played for an hour on Wednesday, make his first Premier League start since October. Robbie Brady, who came on as a late substitute three days ago, could also be in contention for a place. In contrast to that domino effect of midfield changes, the central pairing of Ashley Westwood and Josh Brownhill will likely be preserved once more.
There could also be a change to Burnley’s centre-forward duo. Rodriguez might not be risked if he is not fully fit, which would probably see Matej Vydra come back into the starting line-up alongside Chris Wood, whose stoppage time penalty rescued a point against Wolves.
Europe looks a tall order for the Clarets, although three points against the Premier League’s bottom club could at least keep the dream somewhat alive for another 24 hours at least.
Burnley fans, is this the line-up that you expect to see this evening? Comment below with your views!
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