Draw specialists Burnley well matched with Everton
Both teams struggling to score
Sky Sports Premier League, Mix & Main Event, 12.30pm Saturday
A match between two teams who can neither score nor win ought to have punters leaning towards only one outcome – and the bookies are wise to that.
Forget fancy draw odds for this fixture, some firms are shorter than 2-1 about a stalemate at Turf Moor, where two of the Premier League’s most out-of-form sides kick off the weekend in a tussle which is unlikely to set pulses racing on a bitter winter’s day.
Burnley, the lowest home scorers in the top division and without a win in 12, against Everton, the third-lowest away scorers who have won just once on their league travels in the last 14 months.
This is potentially bleaker than the weather and the draw is hard to get away from.
Indeed, draws are something of a speciality of the Clarets who have shared the spoils in three of their last four and six of their last 11.
Against Southampton last week they were the better side and went ahead, but couldn’t hang on. The Clarets, grateful for a productive autumn, are grinding their way to safety and it’s not pretty.
Gloomy Clarets diehards have seen their side score just ten goals at home, though that’s one more than Everton fans have seen their team score on their travels.
Sean Dyche’s men have scored only 22 goals in total so they are unlikely to blow away anyone, even a team as travel-sick as the Toffees. They haven’t scored more than a single goal in a game since Boxing Day so the return to full fitness of joint-top scorer Chris Wood (he has four goals) is a bonus for Dyche.
As for Everton, they’ve had the one away win this term, at Newcastle in December, and questions over Sam Allardyce’s dour tactics won’t go away. They were pretty awful in defeat at Watford last Saturday though a prickly Allardyce is adamant that it’s results that matter rather than performances.
The returns of Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines make them stronger defensively, and more of an attacking threat down the flanks, though how much freedom they get remains to be seen.
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Allardyce has not been beaten in his six trips to Turf Moor and Everton really ought to be able to have enough to avoid defeat against fairly toothless opponents.
As for the goal threat, it looks weak. Fifteen of Burnley’s 28 matches have resulted in one-goal wins or losses and it’s 6-5 about a one-goal winning margin. All but six of their 28 fixtures have yielded two or fewer goals but there’s absolutely no value in 1-2 about under 2.5.
1pt 21-10 general
Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski and Chris Wood have recovered from injuries. Steven Defour, Scott Arfield, Robbie Brady and Jon Walters remain sidelined.
Eliaquim Mangala, Ramon Funes Mori and James McCarthy are out. Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines are available.
Everton have picked up one win from their last 22 away Premier League games, losing the last four.
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