Burnley vs Crystal Palace pre-match analysis: Can Sean Dyche add to Frank de Boer despair?

The Eagles have lost all three of their Premier League games thus far under Frank de Boer.

Burnley vs Crystal Palace pre-match analysis: Can Sean Dyche add to Frank de Boer despair?
Frank de Boer has found life tough in the opening weeks of his Crystal Palace tenure (photo: Getty Images/Christopher Lee)

With Frank de Boer's Crystal Palace job already reportedly on the line, Burnley could not have wished for a better time to host the Eagles after a positive start to the campaign. The Clarets are aiming to cement a top half position whilst their visitors are looking to net their first goals and points of the season.

Chris Wood will be targeting a spacious Palace defence

The hosts' main threat comes in the form of record signing Chris Wood. The £15 million signing made an instant impact in the Premier League with a late equaliser at Tottenham Hotspur before scoring three on international duty for New Zealand.

De Boer's defence will be fearful of the aerial threat and goalscoring potential of the Kiwi but may face further problems in the form of Ashley Barnes if he starts alongside Wood. Palace have tried various formations across the summer but have failed to deliver with either three or four at the back. 

A common downfall for the Eagles has been the gaps between their defenders. Rarely in-line and often too far apart, Huddersfield, Liverpool and Swansea have found it too easy to get in behind a ropey defence. The movement and nous of Barnes could provide an even greater threat than the powerful demeanours of Wood and Sam Vokes.

Mamadou Sakho signed on deadline day to bolster their options but is lacking match fitness after failing to play in the last four months. Jairo Riedewald and James Tomkins are injury doubts leaving Palace short of options in defence.

 

 

Time to shine for Benteke and Townsend

Another issue for Palace has been their lack of prowess in front of goal. The Eagles have failed to score in their opening three matches and will be without the services of attacking threat Wilfried Zaha. Their best passer of the ball, Yohan Cabaye, is a doubt and will be analysed closer to the game, though de Boer will be desperate to get the French playmaker involved or risk losing control of the engine room to Steven Defour and Jack Cork.

In the absence of Zaha, a lot rests on the shoulders of Andros Townsend. The winger has been inconsistent in recent years and struggled for form in the early stages of this campaign. Playing against a rejuvenated Stephen Ward, the trickster will have to be on top form if he is to impress on Sunday afternoon.

The away side will be looking to Christian Benteke to notch their first goal of the season as he lines up against a central defensive partnership of Ben Mee and James Tarkowski who have impressed since the departure of Michael Keane over the summer. However, Palace have failed to score in seven of their last eight Premier League matches, losing the same number of games.

The first goal will be critical at Turf Moor, particularly as Palace have been losing at half-time in five of their last seven top flight games. Yet Sean Dyche's side have only won a solitary game in their last seven home contests, leaving the visitors a sprinkle of hope as they make the long journey to Lancashire.