Bournemouth v Burnley: Raise a glass to Clarets

Sean Dyche's side have regularly beaten the Premier league strugglers
Sean Dyche's side have regularly beaten the Premier league strugglers

Injuries have hit both Bournemouth and Burnley recently but the visitors can win Saturday's Premier League clash at Dean Court, says Andy Schooler.

"Southampton, Norwich, Everton, West Ham, Watford and, last week, Newcastle have all been defeated and notably all those victories have been ‘to nil’."

Back Burnley to win to nil @ 5.69/2

Bournemouth v Burnley
Saturday 21 December, 15:00

If anything, Bournemouth v Burnley is a tale of two teams hit hard by injuries in recent times.

And such problems could play a significant part in the outcome at a ground still known by most as Dean Court.

The hosts have undoubtedly had the roughest end of a pretty harsh stick and that contributed heavily to a run of one win in 11 games, although that was broken last weekend by an unexpected but highly impressive 1-0 victory at Chelsea.

While it was probably a good time to play the west Londoners given their recent slump, it was still surprising for the Cherries to keep a clean sheet given the injuries which have riddled their backline.

Bruised Cherries

Nathan Ake, Adam Smith, Steve Cook and Charlie Daniels all remain out for this game. Further forward, Harry Wilson is now back at Liverpool due to injury, while arguably their biggest miss has been David Brooks, a star of last season who is yet to play this.

Star striker Callum Wilson missed the Chelsea win and remains doubtful but at least Josh King was back for that game and Andrew Surman has also made the bench in recent weeks.

Perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel for Eddie Howe and co but their defensive issues seem unlikely to have been solved by one result.

The back four here will likely again feature Chris Mepham and Jack Stacey, who have started 21 Premier League games between them, plus full-back Simon Francis at centre-half.

Wood a doubt

Burnley look capable of testing that unit to the full - provided key players on their side are able to play.

Leading scorer Chris Wood, who has also netted three times in four Premier League games against Bournemouth, has been a real handful this season but he missed training on Thursday with an Achilles problem, while Ashley Westwood, a great dead-ball merchant, also sat out due to a gain injury.

Chris Wood scores 1280.jpg

Losing those two would undoubtedly be a blow, although in their absence the Clarets would still have the fit-again Ashley Barnes up front to target, with Jay Rodriguez likely to join him. He's looked lively when given the chance this term.

Out wide, Dwight McNeil has arguably been Burnley's star man this season and his crossing ability is another factor Bournemouth should fear. He's also useful from set-pieces.

Clarets the call

If Wood and Westwood get the green light, Burnley certainly look tempting at 3.185/40 in the match betting - Bournemouth are lukewarm 2.486/4 favourites with the draw a 3.55 shot.

Admittedly the Clarets have won only one away so far (at Watford) but they have a startlingly-good record against teams in the bottom half.

While they have gone 0-1-8 against the teams in the top 10, they are 6-2-0 against their fellow bottom-half sides, conceding just three goals.

Win-to-nil value

Southampton, Norwich, Everton, West Ham, Watford and, last week, Newcastle have all been defeated and notably all those victories have been 'to nil'.

Burnley are 5.69/2 to win to nil here, with 1-0 at 11.521/2 in the correct-score market. Both are of interest given the potential for both sides to be without key goalscorers.

In addition, given the hosts' problems in defence, they may well temper their attacking approach slightly in a bid to protect those further back and with Burnley hardly prolific goalscorers, I can certainly envisage this being a low-scoring game.

With the over/under 2.5 goals market basically a pick 'em - 1.991/1 each of two - I'm heading towards the lower side, although the season stats show both teams are more often than not involved in games with three goals or more.

That is enough to put me off and whenever there's such uncertain team news I'm loath to get involved at short prices.

Instead I'll take a punt on the visitors winning to nil.

They've been very good at keeping the division's lesser lights out and they should be able to offer a threat against a makeshift defence at the other end.

Opta fact

Burnley have won four of their six Premier League meetings with Bournemouth (L2), including both fixtures last season.

Click here for more weekend Premier League previews

Andy Schooler's P/L 2019/20

Staked: 46.5pts
Returned: 48.21pts
P/L: +1.71pts

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