Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 17/20
Premier League high-flyers Burnley take on Championship leaders Leeds United in what should be one of the most interesting matches in the third round of the EFL Cup. Both sides will be keen on continuing the rich vein of form even though we are likely to see some changes to the starting line-ups.
Burnley did well to avoid a straight return to the Championship last season, finishing some six points above the relegation zone, and the Clarets now hope for another successful campaign. The club did a very good job in the summer transfer window, earning around €50m from the sales of Michael Keane and Andre Gray, while investing a portion of the money into Chris Wood, Jonathan Walters, Jack Cork, Phil Bardsley and Nahki Wells. The Clarets in turn enjoyed a very good start to the Premier League campaign, taking eight points from their first five fixtures, holding both Spurs and Liverpool to 1-1 draws on the road. The time is now for some back-up players to try and impress boss Sean Dyche, who is almost certain to rest his star men in the League Cup clash against Leeds United. Chances are the likes of Jonathan Walters, Sam Vokes, Phil Bardsley, Ashley Barnes and Ashley Westwood among others will relish the opportunity to show what they’ve got and improve their status in the squad, so we have reason to believe Burnley will produce another quality performance, this time in front of their own fans.
Tom Heaton, Nahki Wells and Dean Marney remain on the sidelines, but Jeff Hendrick could finally make a comeback from injury.
After quite a while, Leeds United find themselves at the top of the Championship standings, and they seem like genuine promotions contenders. After finishing the previous campaign just outside of play-off positions, the Whites couldn’t hold on to star striker Chris Wood, but did manage to reinforce their ranks with Pierre Lasogga, Mateusz Klich, Pontus Jansson, Vurnon Anita and Samuel Saiz among others. New coach Thomas Christensen did well to quickly rebuild the squad and his team subsequently enjoyed a bright start to the new campaign. Leeds United went on to record five wins and two draws in their first seven fixtures, before they succumbed to the first defeat of the season at the weekend. Meanwhile, comfortable wins over Port Vale and Newport County saw them set up a clash with Burnley in the third round of the EFL Cup, and this match will be a good opportunity for the Whites to return to the right track. That is easier said than done though given the serious selection problems, while it is clear that weekend’s league fixture against Ipswich has the priority at the moment. Having suffered four defeats in last six away matches in the competition, Leeds will have their work cut out for them.
Pontus Jansson misses out with a hamstring injury, whereas Liam Cooper and Matthew Pennington will not be risked.
Full-back Luke Ayling and talented midfielder Conor Shaughnessy are expected to start in the heart of defence as three centre-backs are unavailable.
Key Factors to Consider
- Leeds missing three senior centre-backs
- Burnley won three of last four meetings with Leeds
- The Clarets won last three matches vs Leeds at home
- The Whites lost four of last six away games in EFL Cup (W2)
- Burnley had won 11 straight EFL Cup games at home before losing last two
Even if Sean Dyche decides to rest some of his starters, Burnley will be in a good position to make it four home wins in a row against Leeds United as the visitors face serious defensive problems. Their makeshift defenders will struggle to contain seasoned Premier League attackers and we fully expect the Clarets to make it to the next round.
Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 17/20
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