STAR PREVIEW: Newcastle United v Burnley

The last time Newcastle United and Burnley met, the pair were right in the doldrums. A relegation nine pointer between the pair ended 2-1 to Newcastle, who secured their third successive Premier League win and still only had 12 points – just three more than Burnley at the time.

Fast forward three months and both sides are in a much better position. Newcastle United are four points above the relegation zone but with a kinder fixture list than most – especially in terms of home games – between them, they have just three defeats in 2018, not a bad record given their early season form (or the fact that those defeats came against Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham).

Newcastle have won their two most recent home games and Rafa Benitez is working his magic again at face value, but even allowing for that, the gap between them and Burnley might be too big.

The Clarets started the season even worse than Newcastle and relegation was beginning to look certain when Everton trashed them 5-1 on Boxing Day. However, Sean Dyche is not known for giving up and they’ve been unbeaten in eight games since. Five of those have been home wins, including a brilliant 2-1 win over Tottenham but they also include away draws against seventh-placed Watford and also the resurgent Manchester United, too.

In fact only the Manchester clubs are ahead of Burnley in the recent form table and the recent performances we’ve seen bear a much closer resemblance to the team that – it should be remembered – was seventh last year.

Their striking pair – Burnley’s 4-4-2 is an extremely effective throwback when on form – of Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood – have a combined nine goals in their last four games whilst an on fire Tom Heaton played a crucial part in big results against United and also Tottenham. Their impressive win at Brighton, when they struck with two goals in the last 15 minutes, meant they became only the fourth side to win there this season and they won’t have any fear with their form at the moment.

This might well be one of their toughest assignments, however. Newcastle may have a long list of home defeats but look at their form and you’ll see they’re all to sides towards the head of the table bar Manchester City, who they managed to beat 2-1, fair and square. The home crowds are responding and record signing Miguel Almiron made an impressive debut at the weekend against Huddersfield.

Rondon has found his goalscoring form recently whilst also playing a key part in an 11 man defensive effort, and both he and Ayoze Perez, who also scored at the weekend, have been the bright lights in a bleak attacking landscape for the Magpies.

What looks to be Newcastle’s saving grace is a much improved defence, led by Fabian Schar who has excelled in recent weeks. They have let in just three in their last five games and their deep lying nature will make things tough for opponents with more illustrious names.

Newcastle United v Burnley
Premier League
20:00 BT Sport 1 / BT Sport 4K UHD

(Maximum 10 matches)
NOV 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Burnley 1-2 Newcastle
JAN 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Newcastle 1-1 Burnley
OCT 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Burnley 1-0 Newcastle
JAN 2015 PREMIER LEAGUE Newcastle 3-3 Burnley
DEC 2014 PREMIER LEAGUE Burnley 1-1 Newcastle
*Previous fixtures took place from 1983 onwards

It’s entirely possible that these two clubs cancel each other out but Burnley have nothing to fear from this trip and the bookmakers look to have just underestimated the visitors.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK BURNLEY -1 5 pts at 4/5 with

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