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Preview: Aston Villa vs. Burnley - prediction, team news, lineups
18/12/2021 14:42:14

Amid the coronavirus chaos in the Premier League, Aston Villa are due to welcome Burnley to Villa Park on Saturday afternoon, with the fixture as it stands scheduled to go ahead.

Villa were victorious on Tuesday night, recording a 2-0 win at Norwich City, but Burnley saw their clash with Watford, scheduled for Wednesday, called off at the final moment due to a COVID-19 outbreak in Claudio Ranieri's squad.

We say: Aston Villa 2-1 Burnley

Villa have not beaten Burnley at Villa Park since October 2010, but the home side have shown excellent form under Gerrard, and we are expecting a Villa victory on Saturday afternoon, albeit by a close scoreline.

Match preview

Villa were forced to close their training ground on Sunday due to a coronavirus outbreak in their squad, but Steven Gerrard's side were still able to take to the field against Norwich on Tuesday, recording a 2-0 victory at Carrow Road courtesy of goals from Jacob Ramsey and Ollie Watkins.

Unless there is a further outbreak on Friday or Saturday, this match will go ahead as scheduled, although several senior players and a number of first-team coaches will again be absent.

Villa have been impressive since Gerrard's arrival as head coach, with the former Liverpool captain leading the team to four wins from six Premier League matches, suffering two defeats in the process, which has moved them into 10th spot in the table on a tally of 22 points from 17 matches.

The home side are actually just three points behind seventh-placed Tottenham Hotspur as things stand, although Spurs have three games in hand, with the London club badly hit by COVID-19.

Villa only picked up one point from their two league games against Burnley last season, though, with the two teams playing out a goalless draw at Villa Park before the Clarets won 3-2 at Turf Moor.

Burnley, as it stands, have one coronavirus case in their squad, but their fixture at home to Watford on Wednesday was postponed hours ahead of kickoff due to positive results in the away team's squad.

The Clarets have therefore not been in action since drawing 0-0 with West Ham United on Sunday, and Sean Dyche's side have actually shared the points in four of their last five Premier League fixtures.

Burnley have won one, drawn eight and lost six of their 15 league matches to collect 11 points this term, which has left them in 18th position in the table, two points behind 17th-placed Watford.

Dyche's team are due to host Everton on Boxing Day before visiting Manchester United on December 30, and the Clarets will not want to be in the relegation zone heading into 2022.

A record of six defeats is very low considering their spot in the table - Norwich City at the bottom have lost 11 - but they have been the draw specialists alongside Southampton and Crystal Palace.

Team News

Jed Steer, Anwar El Ghazi, Morgan Sanson and Keinan Davis did not feature for Villa at Carrow Road amid suggestions that all four have tested positive for coronavirus.

Marvelous Nakamba, Leon Bailey and Bertrand Traore all all injured, but Matty Cash, Emiliano Buendia, Ezri Konsa and Ashley Young should all be fit despite picking up minor issues against Norwich.

Academy graduate Carney Chukwuemeka could come in for his second Premier League start of the season, with the youngster potentially joining Buendia and Watkins as part of a front three, although Danny Ings is also now in contention for a start in the final third.

As for Burnley, Dyche has not named the player who has tested positive for coronavirus, but Ashley Barnes will definitely be absent through injury, while Connor Roberts and Dale Stephens are also doubts.

Maxwel Cornet should recover from a thigh problem to feature alongside Chris Wood in the final third of the field, while Josh Brownhill is pushing to feature in central midfield.

There will not be any changes at the back, though, with James Tarkowski and Ben Mee again operating in central defence, and Matthew Lowton and Charlie Taylor featuring in the full-back spots.

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:

Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; McGinn, Luiz, Ramsey; Chukwuemeka, Watkins, Buendia

Burnley possible starting lineup:

Pope; Lowton, Mee, Tarkowski, Taylor; Gudmundsson, Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil; Wood, Cornet

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