A split weekend in the Premier League begins on Friday night with a huge clash at the bottom of the table when two promoted sides will look to do their survival chances the world of good when Burnley host Luton Town.
Both teams begin the night in the bottom three of the table but a Luton win will have them out of that zone for 36 hours at least while a loss for Burnley would see them move seven points behind Luton and in real trouble.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live and in full on TNT Sports 1 with the build-up in Lancashire beginning at 7pm ahead of the kick off which comes along at 7.45pm.
It certainly wasn’t the first half of the season that Burnley fans would have wanted or be expecting after their side dominated the Championship last term. There was a feeling outside of Burnley that they might struggle because they played the same game as a number of Premier League teams, who just do it a lot better than them, and that is how it proved and as such Burnley find themselves second from bottom and needing to change a little, which to be fair to them they seem to be doing.
If Burnley are going to remain in the Premier League at the end of the season then one thing has to change and that is their home form. They have won just one of 10 matches at Turf Moor this season and lost the other nine. They will draw comfort from the fact that the win was against fellow promoted side Sheffield United and also that they beat Luton in the reverse fixture but the pressure is all on them to deliver the goods here.
I think it is fair to say that everyone outside of Kenilworth Road expected Luton to struggle this season. There were calls for them being the worst team this league has ever seen and breaking the Derby low points record and things like that. Those people have quickly been proved wrong though and halfway through the campaign, Luton have established themselves as the promoted team most likely to remain in the division next season.
They have picked up four wins, three of which have come in the last six weeks or so, and run Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City very close already. They certainly aren’t the cannon fodder they were portrayed to be, and if anything are improving and transitioning into a competent outfit all the time. They have been to Sheffield United and won under pressure so the Hatters will be feeling good about themselves heading to Lancashire, and quite rightly so.
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Vincent Kompany was keeping very tight lipped about the availability of Jordan Beyer, Lyle Foster and Charlie Taylor but the vibes were that none of them would play. One man who is available though is Sander Berge who is back from suspension.
Luton will be without Issa Kabore who is off with Burkina Faso at the Africa Cup of Nations but they have received a boost with the news that Carlton Morris is fine despite being subbed in the draw with Bolton last week.
I think this is a tricky match to call given the circumstances around it but I do think we are looking at goals being scored here. There were three of them when the two teams met at Kenilworth Road earlier in the season and in recent matches with Sheffield United both sides had games which had five goals in them so matches between teams at the bottom of the table have tended to be high scoring with both sides knowing the importance of them. Luton have also gone to the three teams above them and covered a 2.5 goal line. You wouldn’t bank on either of these teams to keep things tight and their lack of clean sheets suggests to me that we are in for a high scoring match here.
The other bet I like for this match is for Alfie Doughty to score or assist. He is the Luton set-piece taker in the main and he has a wand of a left peg and Burnley look very nervous when defending crosses this season so Doughty should be a key man for the Hatters here. He scored at Sheffield United recently and nearly notched against Chelsea but for a fine save from Djordje Petrovic which Elijah Adebayo scored the rebound from, however Luton’s first in that game was a corner headed in by Ross Barkley which Doughty took. Doughty has five assists this season and has put 149 crosses into the box. That is in 18 appearances so he averages just over eight crosses per match. Given how badly Burnley defend crosses I’ll back one of those to find the target and Luton score.
Back Over 2.5 goals for a 3/10 stake at 1.99 with Bet365
Back A.Doughty to score or assist for a 2/10 stake at 3.60 with Bet365