Aston Villa vs Burnley Preview – The View Across the Dugout

Aston Villa head into the Burnley game with it a must-win home match against a relegation rival.

With confidence high for Villa fans, who believe this could well be our second win of the season, we spoke to Burnley fan Andrew Jones, Burnley correspondent and writer for The Athletic, to see what the mood was like amongst Clarets fans.


1. What are your opinions on Burnley’s transfer window? Are the new signings showing promise?

Burnley didn’t do anything particularly eye-catching in the transfer window, but they did conduct some smart business. Erik Pieters has been the only regular starter from the new faces that arrived in the summer. He has settled well and has not looked out of place in the Burnley backline. Jay Rodriguez has featured from the bench in the Premier League so far but does provide competition for Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. With Tom Heaton departing, Bailey Peacock-Farrell was brought in from Leeds as a player to develop long-term, so he hasn’t featured. Danny Drinkwater’s Burnley career hasn’t really started yet and he is currently working his way back to fitness after his off-the-field incident.


2. Are you happy with Burnley’s start to the season?

There are plenty of reasons to be positive about Burnley’s start to the season. Performances have been better than the results in some cases. Apart from the second half against Brighton, Sean Dyche has been happy with his side and there is a real positive feeling around the club at the moment. Chris Wood scoring two last week was a welcome return to goalscoring form and Ashley Barnes has started the season very well. Dwight McNeil continues to show development week on week and Nick Pope has looked like he has never been away after missing last season through injury and Heaton’s form.


3. Burnley have two familiar faces at Villa Park in Matt Lowton and Ashley Westwood playing regularly. Are they key cogs in your side?

Both have started all six of Burnley’s Premier League games so far. Ashley Westwood and Jack Cork have been very important in the middle of the park for Burnley and they have been key to the way Burnley have pressed and looked to play on the front foot. Matt Lowton has started the season consistently in a Burnley back four that has looked settled and started the season well and looks to get forward when the situation allows him to.


4. Burnley have a great centre-back partnership in James Tarkowski and Ben Mee. How upset were you that neither got the nod for the recent England squad?

I think both players would have been disappointed. Tarkowski probably more so than Mee because he has been involved in the England set-up and he has started the season very well. Dyche spoke about how both of his central defenders should have at least been in consideration but with Mee having just turned 30, it is unlikely he will earn an England call-up with Gareth Southgate preferring younger players.


5. How do you think you’ll set up for the Villa game? What kind of faces do you expect to see in the XI?

Sean Dyche is known for not making too many changes to his first-team line-up. Burnley will look to play on the front foot and take the game to Aston Villa, but it will probably be a little bit more reserved than the all-out pressing bombardment that Norwich fell victim to in the first 30 minutes last week. I think it will be the same starting eleven injuries permitting. McNeil had a dead leg but should be ok. Johann Berg Gudmundsson is back in contention after going off injured against Wolves so he may be considered to come back in for Jeff Hendrick, but Dyche usually doesn’t change a winning team unless he is forced to.

Predicted team: Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters, Hendrick, Westwood, Cork, McNeil, Barnes, Wood.


6. And finally, how do you see the game going and what’s your prediction?
I think it could be a very exciting game. From what I have seen from Villa this season they also look to play on the front foot and Burnley will look to do the same. The Clarets will take plenty of confidence into the game after victory over Norwich and they also didn’t have a game in midweek. I’m going to go for 1-1.

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