Betway Insider’s View of the Opposition: Burnley
Eight points from visits to four of last season’s top seven means that Burnley have already bettered their away tally from the previous campaign.
Yet their form at home, where Sean Dyche’s side claimed 35 of the 40 points that achieved Premier League survival last time around, has been far less convincing.
On the face of it, four points from three matches at Turf Moor against Huddersfield, Crystal Palace and West Brom is far from disastrous.
But that record is masked by an errant Lee Chung-yong back pass that gifted Burnley their only win – and, more importantly, only goal – in a game that Palace dominated with 23 shots to the hosts’ four.
That bodes well for West Ham, who completed the double over this weekend’s opponents on the final day of last season to extend their unbeaten run at Turf Moor to four matches.
Not that their meeting on Saturday is likely to produce many goals.
Both teams have averaged exactly one goal per game so far this season, with their respective success built on solidity at the back.
West Ham have kept a clean sheet in three of their last four league matches – the one exception coming against Spurs and a rampant Harry Kane – while only the two Manchester clubs have conceded fewer goals than Burnley at this stage.
The Clarets centre-half pairing of Ben Mee and James Tarkowski are only separated by Brighton’s Shane Duffy for most clearances this season with 139 between them, 101 of which have been made with their heads.
So, though West Ham possess arguably the Premier League’s best header of the ball in Andy Carroll, he is sure to face fierce competition from his markers when it comes to aerial duels.
Keeping the ball on the floor, then, looks to be the Hammers’ best option.
That shouldn’t prove a problem, given Burnley – who have had less than 40 per cent possession in five of their seven games this season – tend to sit back and invite pressure.
Manuel Lanzini, who is in line to make his first start of the season, ought to be a prominent figure in linking play, with Javier Hernandez the man most likely to benefit from his passes between the lines.
Under 2.5 – 8/13
West Ham to keep a clean sheet – 2/1
Javier Hernandez to score at any time – 21/10