Verdict: West Ham win
Best Odds: 5/4
With the chance to end 2018 in the top half of the table, Manuel Pellegrini’s high-flying West Ham side will travel to Turf Moor on Sunday afternoon.
Starting with the hosts, while Burnley may have managed to secure a seventh-place finish last season, things could not be going worse for the Clarets this time around. Coming off the back of a season’s worst performance in their 5-1 hammering at home to Everton on Boxing Day, Sean Dyche’s side have now lost their last three Premier League matches on the bounce. Now sat in the relegation zone and three points adrift of safety, it will be their growing defensive issues giving Dyche the biggest headache. Now conceding eight goals in their last two games, Burnley’s 41 goals conceded is the second worst defensive record in the top-flight. Remarkably picking up just one win in their last 12 league outings, the Clarets have also lost six of their last seven. Arguably the least in form side in the division, fans at Turf Moor will also be concerned by their recent showings in Lancashire. Losing four of their last five matches on home soil, Dyche’s men have also conceded 14 goals in those defeats.
Robbie Brady may again miss out for Burnley because of a knock sustained earlier this month, while fellow midfielder Steven Defour is also doubtful because of a calf problem.
Matt Lowton is suspended after accumulating five yellow cards.
As for the visitors, after putting their sluggish start to the season behind them, Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham side have finished 2018 in impressive fashion and will have one eye a European push next year. Coming off the back of a 2-1 win away at Southampton last time out, the London based club have now won five of their six matches in December. Most impressing the former Manchester City boss will be his sides recent record away from the London Stadium. Now winning their last three away matches on the bounce, another victory on the road on Sunday would be just the second time in their history they have won four consecutive away matches. One man to watch for the visitors will be summer arrival Felipe Anderson. Scoring another brace at St. Mary’s on Thursday, the Brazilian has been West Ham’s standout performer this season and now has seven Premier League goals in his last nine appearances. The former Lazio man also found the net twice when the Hammers picked up a 4-2 win over Burnley back in November.
West Ham hope Pablo Zabaleta can return from illness in time for Sunday’s game.
The Hammers, who were only able to name six substitutes in their last match, will monitor the fitness of Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic.
Key Factors to Consider
- Burnley have won just one of their last nine games against West Ham in all competitions (D2, L6).
- The Clarets have won one of their last 12 top-flight games, losing nine of those matches.
- They have lost six of their previous seven games, including the last three.
- West Ham have won five of their last six league games – as many victories as in their previous 20 matches.
- Their tally of 15 Premier League points in December is already their highest total in a single month in the division.
On paper, Manuel Pellegrini should see this as the perfect opportunity to end 2018 with yet another victory. Given the Hammers’ stellar run in December, particularly on their travels, it appears it could be another long afternoon for Burnley. Losing four of their last five matches at Turf Moor, we’re backing West Ham to come away with the victory on Sunday afternoon.
Verdict: West Ham win
Best Odds: 5/4
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