Match Preview: Aston Villa vs Burnley

Saturday 18th December
Premier League
@Villa Park
KO: 15:00 GMT

Aston Villa will keep the Premier League campaign running as they welcome Burnley to Villa Park (subject to COVID/Premier League regulations).

The rapid emergence of a new variant means changes will be made to the way in which fans will enter Villa Park and for many teams across England, their games are being postponed as a result.

Villa will aim to secure another three points against a stubborn Burnley side that have only lost six games despite sitting in the bottom three.

A win would continue the incredible turnaround of form since the arrival of Steven Gerrard with Villa winning four out of the last six and only losing by an odd goal to the top two in Manchester City and Liverpool.

Villa returned from a midweek trip to Carrow Road with three points against Norwich City, who themselves recently appointed ex-Villa boss Dean Smith following the departure of Daniel Farke.

Goals from Jacob Ramsey and Ollie Watkins gave Villa a largely comfortable win and an assist from Carney Chukwuemeka after coming off the bench late on will have given Gerrard food for thought.

Whilst the Villa faithful will be confident, Burnley can be a frustrating side and patience may be the card to play for Villa.

Burnley come into the game in 18th place but with two games in hand on most sides due to recent postponements against Tottenham Hotspur (weather) and Watford (COVID).

Sean Dyche’s men have only won once this season and remain winless on the road.

Despite this they have drawn four of their eight away games but have come under fire from numerous pundits for their style and willingness to play.

They have failed to score in their last three games drawing 0-0 away to Wolves and home to West Ham either side of a 1-0 defeat away to Newcastle United.

Home and away form shows Aston Villa (home) in 9th place with 4 wins and 1 draw and 3 defeats from their 8 games at Villa Park and subsequently 13 points. They have scored 14 and conceded 11 times so far. Burnley (away) see themselves in 19th having picked up just 4 points from 24 having drawn 4 and lost 4 of their 8 games on their travels. Their goal difference is -7 having scored 6 and conceded 13.

Last season saw Burnley take 4 points from the two meetings with Aston Villa with a 0-0 draw at Villa Park followed up with a 3-2 win for Burnley at Turf Moor as they twice came back from goals from Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins with goals of their own from Ben Mee, Dwight McNeil and Chris Wood.

Aston Villa Team News

Villa will likely be without Jed Steer, Anwar El Ghazi, Morgan Sanson and Keinan Davis who are muted to be the players to have tested positive for COVID.

Marvelous Nakamba is awaiting results on a knee scan which could sadly see him miss the rest of the season. It would be a big blow after his excellent recent form.

Leon Bailey and Bertrand Traore remain absent and will not feature until the New Year.

Cameo appearances from Danny Ings and Carney Chukwuemeka could see them both feature.

Possible starting line up:
Martinez, Targett, Mings, Konsa, Cash, Douglas Luiz, McGinn, Ramsey, Buendia, Chukwuemeka, Watkins

Burnley Team News

Burnley will be without Ashley Barnes for the trip with both Connor Roberts and Dale Stephens likely to miss out too.

Sean Dyche also eluded to a player testing positive for COVID but the player has not been named as of yet.

Other than these, it should be more of less the usual line up for Burnley and the impressive Maxwell Cornet should start up front with Chris Wood.

Possible starting line up:
Pope, Taylor, Mee, Tarkowski, Lowton, Westwood, Gudmundsson, Brownhill, McNeil, Cornet, Wood


Opposition breakdown:

Burnley have scored just 14 goals this season, meaning they are tied second behind Norwich City (8) for the least goals scored. 8 goals have come from open play, 5 from set pieces, and a single goal came courtesy of an own goal.

Defensively, they have conceded only 21 goals with 15 from open play, 5 from set pieces, and a single goal from a counter attack.

They are fairly balanced in attack but have a slight tendency to attack down the left hand side more often with 40% of attacks coming from the left, 26% from the middle channel and 34% from the right hand side.

In regards to shots at goal, Liverpool have had 36% from outside the box with 52% inside the 18 yard box and 12% within the 6 yard box.

Burnley have scored 64% of their goals in the first half of games with 29% coming in the first 15 minutes.  They have only scored twice in the final 30 minutes of games this season.

In contrast, they have conceded 58% of their goals between the 31st to 45th minute or the 61st to 75th minute.

Maxwell Cornet is the top scorer this season with 5 goals followed by Matthew Lowton and James Tarkowski with two each.

One to watch:

Top scorer, Maxwell Cornet is today’s focus and it is no surprise as he has impressed in a side with little attacking endeavour.

The Ivorian is attributed with strengths including long shots, passing and tackling and he can be effective in the air too.

He can be prone to being caught offside.

He has scored some eye-catching goals this season and will be a player for the back line to keep tabs on throughout the game.

Head to Head record:

Aston Villa 51 wins, 28 Draws, Burnley 41 wins

Last five meetings:

27 Jan 2021 – Burnley 3-2 Aston Villa (Premier League)
17 Dec 2020 – Aston Villa 0-0 Burnley (Premier League)
01 Jan 2020 – Burnley 1-2 Aston Villa (Premier League)
28 Sep 2019 – Aston Villa 2-2 Burnley (Premier League)
24 May 2015 – Aston Villa 0-1 Burnley (Premier League)


A game in which Villa will be hoping to win to continue the good form but Burnley’s defensive style could frustrate them with their own chances likely to come from long passes for Maxwel Cornet or set pieces for the likes of James Tarkowski and Chris Wood.

Villa haven’t beat Burnley at home since 2010 but under Gerrard they have looked tough to beat and strong going forwards.

Aston Villa 2-1 Burnley

Tip of the day

If you back the score prediction, the 2-1 win for Aston Villa is available at around 13/2 currently.

Aston Villa win – 4/6
Draw – 14/5
Burnley win – 4/1

I can see the midfield being key for goals this weekend with Burnley off tight against set pieces and deep as a team. John McGinn is 12/5 to score anytime (13/2 first goalscorer) and Jacob Ramsey is 3/1 to score anytime (8/1 first goalscorer).

If you combine the 2-1 and either player to score first, John McGinn is 30/1 and Jacob Ramsey 35/1.

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