Preview: Burnley vs. Stoke

Following our dismal 2-0 defeat at the King Power Stadium. We now head to Burnley to try and salvage points from Sean Dyche. We’ve had six defeats on the road in the last eight games, but Burnley haven’t won a game in the last seven league fixtures.

A win for Burnley will put them within a point of us, and Southampton will pass us into 9th. The Clarets have reported no further injuries ahead of the game, meaning Gudmundsson is still out, whilst, Defour could appear from the bench.

Dyche has said “My lads know they still have a challenge ahead. There are no done deals in the Premier League”. He knows that they’re not safe yet and still need to fight for every point to make sure they avoid relegation.

Crouch is unlikely to feature due to a sore knee but Bardsley is back following his suspension. Cameron is out again, he re-joins Shaqiri. Out for their thighs and calf issues. Mark Hughes spoke about finishing a tough spell that has seen us go against some top six teams. “We are always trying to be better than the season before. We have just come through a run which has allowed teams to close in on us”. Doesn’t it help to know that Southampton have had two games in hand for a while now?

Having set a target for 7th, Mark Hughes now has Stoke lying closer to 19th on points. His goals have now re-adjusted following the recent run of results after saying, “We have eight games to go and it’s clear what we need to do to at least finish in the top ten”. His focus is now saving his streak of 9th to fade away suggestions of a management change.

Stoke have only lost once in their last eight meetings against Burnley, which was at home in November 2014. Burnley haven’t beaten us at Turf Moor is their last seven attempts. It’s a side we have had our fair share of decent results against, however The Clarets are still looking for safety and know a good performance will pull them closer to mid table. Also, dealing further blows to a weakened Stoke side.

All nine of Stoke wins this season have been against sides 13th or below but a failure to score at Turf Moor will equal a club record in the Premier League. Failure to score in five successive away games. Burnley are just one point shy of equaling their highest-ever Premier League points finish, with eight games still left to play. They haven’t lost back-to-back home games since April 2015. But in the last seven games at Turf Moor, they’ve won five. Only dropping points against Spurs and Chelsea.

Hughes’ 4-4-2 formation failed to work against Leicester at the weekend. Will he use them again against Burnley? Or will he play a more attacking line-up?

Adam was reintroduced, could we see Adam starting again soon as Hughes losses confidence? But maybe we could try playing Afellay instead of Whelan? Don’t revert again to Adam-Whelan partnership now that we’ve seen good performances. Change something, but not that.

With Stoke only picking up four points in the last eight away games, Mark Hughes needs to conjure up a result and get Stoke the three points. Failure to finish 9th will have fans beginning to join the Hughes Out campaign.

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