— Kickoff: 1000hrs (EST)
Burnley were handed a third defeat on the trot on Wednesday night when they succumbed to a 3-1 loss to high-flying Liverpool at Turf Moor, a result which has left Saturday’s hosts in the bottom three of the Premier League.
Burnley are enduring a torrid time in the English top flight at the moment as they’ve earned just two points from a possible 24 on offer during the last eight matches, which were draws at home with Huddersfield Town 1-1 and a 0-0 draw away at Leicester City.
Things are still tight towards the bottom of the Premier League though as Burnley are just a point adrift of the safety position of 17th place ahead of this weekend’s fixtures in the top flight.
Burnley’s nightmare start to the season has yielded just two wins so far this season, and uncharacteristically, The Clarets (32 goals conceded) possess the second worst defensive record in the division behind bottom club, Fulham (36 goals conceded).
Burnley’s defensive woes in this campaign are in stark contrast to last season where they were a very solid unit under manager, Sean Dyche, and it was upon this foundation that they ultimately achieved a spot in the Europa League qualifiers at the end of last season.
Home Form & Team News
Burnley possess a poor home record (by their standards) of 1-1-5 8/15 which includes just the one win over Bournemouth in a rare 4-0 romp, but a point against Huddersfield Town after that signalled a three-match losing streak against Chelsea 4-0, Newcastle United 2-1 and the aforementioned 3-1 loss to Liverpool.
Early season defeats to Watford and Manchester United coincided with Burnley’s involvement with Europa League commitments, but after crashing out of the competition to greek side Olympiakos, the excuses seem to have run dry.
The bigger picture tells us that Burnley have managed just three wins from their last 17 matches on home turf, so a point in today’s game appears to be their best hopes of avoiding yet another defeat.
Following the midweek defeat to Liverpool, Sean Dyche may well recall the likes of midfielders Aaron Lennon and Jeff Hendrick along with forward Sam Vokes (3 goals), but defender Stephen Ward continues on the sidelines.
The only other injury concern for Dyche is midfielder Steven Defour who may need to pass a late fitness test.
Brighton will make the long trip up to Lancashire absolutely cock-a-hoop following their midweek win over Crystal Palace who have become a fierce rival to today’s visitors in recent years.
The 3-1 victory was even more impressive when you consider that Brighton played with just 10 men following defender Shane Duffy’s sending off after 28 minutes of the game, but Brighton cruised to take all three points against a lacklustre Crystal Palace outfit.
This welcome win followed a 2-1 win away at Huddersfield Town in the match prior, and along with a 1-1 draw with Leicester City, The Seagulls head into this encounter on the back of a three-match sequence without defeat.
The two recent wins have helped lift Brighton away from any immediate danger of being involved in a relegation battle for the time being as the visitors hold a comfortable 12-point cushion ahead of the bottom three.
Overall, it’s been a successful top flight campaign for Brighton and manager Chris Hughton as they’ve accumulated six league wins overall to date.
Away Form & Team News
As mentioned, Brighton have registered a total of six wins so far this season, but it should be noted that four of these have been recorded at The AMEX Stadium, while away from home, The Seagulls possess a rather less convincing record of 2-1-5 7/13.
Brighton’s two away wins were achieved at Newcastle United and Huddersfield Town but defeats at Watford, Liverpool, Manchester City, Everton and even lowly Cardiff City show there’s still a lot of work to do for Hughton and his men on the road.
The visitors have drawn a blank in 3 of their 8 away matches so far while able to keep just one clean sheet, and the bigger picture for Brighton on their travels has seen them win just 2 of their last 21 away matches which is a poor record indeed.
Brighton will be desperate to patch up leading goalscorer Glenn Murray (8 goals) for this clash following a shoulder injury against Crystal Palace, while defender Bruno and forward Jose Izquierdo are rated as doubtful.
Manager Chris Hughton will definitely be without defender Shane Duffy who serves a three-match ban but Leon Balogun will deputise in his place. Midfielder Dale Stephens will return to the squad after serving his suspension.
Burnley will be desperate to avoid a fourth defeat on the trot and even a point would be a welcome boost for Dyche’s beleaguered outfit while Brighton’s poor results away from home are well documented. Both teams may well cancel each other out here.