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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Everton should put Europa woes behind them against Clarets

Burnley have ridden their luck on road this season

Everton's Oumar Niasse gets the winner against Bournemouth
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Ronald Koeman is under pressure after Everton's stuttering start to the season but his position could be strengthened by a victory over Burnley at Goodison Park.

The Toffees' faithful vented their disapproval after Thursday's 2-2 draw at home to Apollon Limassol which leaves the Merseysiders at the foot of Europa League Group E with one point from two games.

And the voices of discontent would grow louder if Everton don't become the first team this season to inflict an away defeat on Burnley.

The Clarets have gone to Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool and come away with a win and two defeats, although they rode their luck on each occasion.

Chelsea won the shot count 19 to ten against Burnley despite the considerable handicap of red cards for Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas in the 14th and 81st minutes.

Dyche's side were under the cosh at Tottenham (losing the shot count 28-13) and Liverpool (35-5) but survived thanks to a combination of heroic defending, poor finishing and good fortune.

Sooner or later Burnley's luck is going to run out and they might suffer against an Everton side desperate to improve after a slow start to the season.

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Everton have been showing tentative signs of improvement. They cruised to a 3-0 success over Sunderland in the League Cup third round and came from behind to defeat Bournemouth 2-1 last Saturday.

Substitute Oumar Niasse made the difference against the Cherries, scoring two goals during 43 minutes on the pitch, but he was unavailable in midweek as he was not included in Everton's Europa League squad.

Everton looked unbalanced against Apollon with too many players wanting to play centrally and only Dominic Calvert-Lewin looking to stretch the Cypriot side's defence.

Adding Niasse to the mix will give Burnley's defence a tougher time and force them to retreat, affording more room for Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson to get on the ball and create chances.

It was no coincidence that Everton played some of their best football of the season after Niasse's introduction against the Cherries and if the play in a similar manner they will give Burnley a tough time.

Burnley will look to take advantage of the tension in the home crowd and try to stay in the game for as long as possible.

They are always a threat from set-pieces and their direct style is perfectly suited to late-summer signing Chris Wood, who has netted three times in his first six Burnley appearances.

But Burnley's tally of nine points from their first six games is probably a few more than they have deserved and they look more likely to be dragged into a relegation battle than push for a top-ten finish.

Home results may still be crucial to their survival hopes because their recent mini-revival on the road – three league matches without defeat – may be coming to an end.

2pts 7-10 general

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Team news
Everton's treatment room remains busy with Michael Keane, Phil Jagielka, Ross Barkley, Ramiro Funes Mori, Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy and Yannick Bolasie recovering from injuries.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche has the same options as last weekend with Tom Heaton, Nahki Wells, Jonathan Walters and Dean Marney remaining on the absentee list.

Key stat
Everton have won 11 of their last 13 home league matches.

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Everton have won 11 of their last 13 home league matches
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