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Burnley Ready for Top-Half Surge

Burnley’s back-to-basics approach has been the foundation of their resurgence since the turn of the year, saving the club from relegation from the Premier League. The club’s commitments in the Europa League at the start of the 2018/19 campaign appeared to have an adverse effect on the Clarets in the top flight. Sean Dyche’s men failed to win any of their opening five matches of the term and matters did not improve towards Christmas. Burnley were struggling in the bottom three on Boxing Day, looking devoid of inspiration after a 5-1 hammering at the hands of Everton.

However, a win over West Ham United would turn the tide and sparked an unbeaten run of eight matches. The Clarets held a 2-0 lead against Manchester United at Old Trafford before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men responded to earn a draw. They were able to build on that momentum to defeat Brighton & Hove Albion before securing their most impressive win of the campaign at home against Tottenham Hotspur.

Goals from Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes moved Dyche’s men clear of the relegation zone and have them trending in the right direction. It must be one of the best football bets of the day given the poor form of their rivals in and around them in the Premier League, including Leicester City who sacked Claude Puel due to their struggles, to back Burnley to finish in the top half of the table. They’re one of the form teams in the division and have returned to the standard of their performances of last term when the club finished in seventh – their highest placing in the top flight since the 1973/74 campaign. As a result, it would be worth monitoring the best football bets of the day tipped up by professional punters through betconnect for the Clarets to end the campaign in the top ten.

The form of Wood and Barnes in the final third has turned the tide. Wood scored 10 goals last term following his £15m from Leeds, enjoying a solid first season at Turf Moor. However, it took him time to hit his stride in the current campaign, scoring only once in Burnley’s opening 19 matches. In the club’s unbeaten run the New Zealand international has notched six goals, including a match-winning brace against Brighton. The 27-year-old has started to thrive in his partnership alongside Barnes, providing the foil that Sam Vokes was during his time under Dyche.

Barnes has scored five goals in the same period as his strike partner, holding his composure at vital moments for his team. The 29-year-old scored a stoppage-time penalty against Southampton, earning a point for his team and denying the Saints a home victory. Although it may seem insignificant now, but it could hold great importance at the end of the campaign. Barnes has been clinical when given the opportunity in the final third and his strike against Spurs highlighted his predatory instincts.

Given that their front two are firing on all cylinders, it has allowed Dyche to settle into the same system that served Burnley so well last term. James Tarkowski and Ben Mee are back to their old selves, providing a stubborn resistance in the middle of the defence. Tom Heaton has edged out two England team-mates Joe Hart and Nick Pope to regain the number one jersey. With the spine of their team settled, it would be no surprise to see the Clarets end the season on a high note.


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