Burnley v Leicester: Expect attack to trump defence at Turf Moor
Jack Lang is expecting goals when the Clarets host Brendan Rodgers' side on Saturday...
"Goalscoring hasn't been a huge problem for Burnley, with Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood both in decent form over the last few months, but their defensive record is poor and could get worse here"
Burnley v Leicester City
Clarets looking over their shoulders
Burnley aren't one of the teams who immediately spring to mind when you say the word 'streaky', yet Sean Dyche's side have been borderline schizophrenic in recent months. They won just once between the start of the start of October and the end of December, then embarked on an eight-game unbeaten run, and have now lost three games on the spin, slipping back towards the dropzone in the process. For a side that used to be so trudgingly consistent, it's a bizarre state of affairs.
The same is true when it comes to their defensive record. The Clarets had the sixth best defensive record in the Premier League last season (39 conceded), but have already shipped 57 goals this term. Only Fulham have shipped more, and with Cardiff still very much alive in the relegation fight, there's a very real danger that Burnley could get sucked back into the Championship if they don't tighten up.
With a tough run-in (Chelsea, Man City, Everton, Arsenal), the next month will probably be crucial to their hopes. Burnley play three of the their next four games at Turf Moor, and should be aiming for at least five or six points from that run to ease the pressure.
Good times ahead for Leicester
It's probably slightly too early to call the upturn in Leicester's form a revival; they've won two games out of three, and one of those was against a fragile Fulham side. But it's hard to deny that the mood has lifted at the King Power Stadium, with Brendan Rodgers' brand of starry-eyed, naff-uncle magic a welcome tonic after the grey Claude Puel era.
There are plenty of reasons for fans to be excited. Jamie Vardy is back among the goals, Harvey Barnes is looking at home at the highest level, and James Maddison has started racking up the assists again. But perhaps the biggest individual positive has been Youri Tielemans, whose precise passing and surging runs have given the Foxes some much-needed impetus from midfield.
Signing the Belgian on a permanent deal will be the priority in the summer, and if they get that deal done, there's no reason Leicester shouldn't be targeting the European places next term.
Leicester's new-manager bounce has clearly not escaped the attention of layers, with the away side rated as [2.48] favourites to pick up a victory here. That's probably understandable given their new-found attacking thrust, and a reflection of Burnley's poor recent form.
It's probably a bit short for us to get behind, however. Leicester have won just two of their last 10 away games (all competitions), while Burnley have been stronger at home, winning five of their last eight games at Turf Moor. Rodgers' side look the most likely winners, but there's better value to be had in the goal markets.
Goals on the horizon
Goalscoring hasn't been a huge problem for Burnley, with Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood both in decent form over the last few months. They will feel confident of testing a Leicester backline that last kept a clean sheet on New Year's Day.
At the same time, it's hard to see the home side repelling their visitors, and a look at these sides' last 20 Premier League results (10 from each side) suggest there's value to be had in backing both teams to score at [1.83]. That bet would have come in in 16 of those 20 games (80%), and we expect it to here.
Vardy time again?
There's no doubting where the main Leicester scoring threat will come from. Jamie Vardy has been a man reborn under Rodgers, and has scored more goals in his last five league appearances (5) as he did in the previous 16 (4). His pace, coupled with top-rate service from Tielemans and Maddison, will trouble Burnley, and [2.4] looks a reasonable price.
Jack Lang's Premier League P/L, 2018/19
Both teams to score at [1.83]