Burnley’s return to the top-flight under Vincent Kompany’s management has been far from joyful, marked by struggles to adapt tactics among the lower-ranked teams. Despite securing a single draw and a victory against Luton, Burnley are on a five-game losing streak.
Sheffield United, last season’s Championship runners-up to Burnley, are also grappling with challenges. While gaining one more point than their promotion rivals, they find themselves in the relegation zone, albeit moving up one spot due to Everton’s 10-point deduction. With five points to their name, Sheffield United garnered four of those in their two games before the international break, but have since taken several steps backwards after suffering a humiliating 3-1 defeat to Bournemouth at Bramall Lane.
Burnley are optimistic about the return of Ameen Al-Dakhil for the upcoming game, while Lyle Foster remains the sole confirmed absentee, taking a break to recover from mental health issues. Experienced midfield player Jack Cork is expected to miss this match due to an unspecified issue picked up in training.
On the other hand, Sheffield United continues to face several absentees, including Chris Basham, Rhian Brewster, Tom Davies, Daniel Jebbison and John Egan.
Paul Heckingbottom shared a positive update regarding Rhys Norrington-Davies, as he revealed he is training back on the grass, via SUTV.
If Luca Koleosho starts on the right for Burnley I’d expect him to have a huge impact on the game – especially if he’s up against Luke Thomas.
The Italian winger is averaging 2.3 successful dribbles per game and his burst of pace combined with his trickery is a hard combination to stop. He may not have the goals and assists numbers that his individual performances this season warrant, but the Blades must be aware of the threat he poses.
It’s no secret, United can’t play well without Oli McBurnie. Because the defence and midfield are incapable of playing through the thirds, playing direct into the big number nine is the only way the team can advance the ball – McBurnie has won the sixth most aerial duels in the Premier League (38).
This game should pose an opportunity for the Blades to provide adequate service to the front two of McBurnie and Cameron Archer.
(all stats from FBref)
Sheffield United’s winless streak at Turf Moor extends back to 2008, spanning six games.
In the past four league meetings, the home side has emerged victorious in this fixture.
The offensive output of Burnley and Sheffield United in the current league season totals 19 goals, but defensively, they have collectively conceded 61 goals. Saturday could provide plenty of goals for either side judging by their previous form.
This is a huge game not just for the two football clubs, but for the two managers, as a defeat could see the end of their reign.
The match’s most probable outcome is a Burnley win, with a likelihood of 52.68%, per Opta. A victory for Sheffield United is less likely, with a probability of 24.31%, and a draw stands at 23%.
If Burnley claim three points they could move off top spot, while a victory for the Blades could see them move a point from safety.