Burnley begin their competitive 2020/21 season this evening with a Carabao Cup second round clash at Turf Moor.
Having been turned over by Sunderland at this stage of the competition last term, another team in red and white stripes stands in their way as Sheffield United make the trip to Lancashire hoping to bounce back from Monday’s league defeat at home to Wolves.
While Clarets manager Sean Dyche has acknowledged that the Premier League takes priority over domestic cup competitions, he is also operating off the joint-smallest squad in the top flight and therefore does not have as much scope to rotate as other managers in the division.
His options are further limited by injuries to Ben Mee, Jack Cork and Ashley Barnes, while despite naming several academy talents on the bench towards the end of last season, Dyche decided against giving youngsters such as Jimmy Dunne and Bobby Thomas a competitive first team debut.
Here is our predicted Burnley XI for this evening’s cup clash:
Goalkeeper Nick Pope was ever-present in the Premier League last season but, in a position where Burnley do have options, he will probably be rested this evening. That could give Bailey Peacock-Farrell, who signed from Leeds more than a year ago, a chance to finally make his Clarets debut at the age of 23, with summer arrival Will Norris also potentially in the frame.
At right-back, Matthew Lowton could be preferred to Phil Bardsley, who may instead come in for Sunday’s Premier League opener against Leicester, while Erik Pieters could start on the left as Charlie Taylor is kept in reserve. Mee’s injury and Dyche’s reluctance to turn to youth will likely mean a centre-back pairing of Kevin Long and James Tarkowski, over whom there has been massive transfer speculation in recent days.
Having started every Premier League match in 2019/20, Dwight McNeil may be rested this evening, giving Robbie Brady a chance on the left of midfield as he joins fellow Irishman Long in coming into the team. A lack of right-sided alternatives will probably mean that Johann Berg Gudmundsson starts, while Cork’s injury could see a central midfield pairing of Josh Brownhill and Ashley Westwood.
In attack, last season’s top scorer Chris Wood could be given the evening off, which would likely see Matej Vydra and Jay Rodriguez as the striking duo. For the Czech forward, it is an opportunity to perhaps stake a claim for further inclusion in Premier League games, having often played second fiddle to Wood and Rodriguez last term.
Burnley fans, is this the line-up that you expect to see this evening? Comment below with your views!
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