Everton vs Burnley

Resurgent Everton will be aiming for revenge when they take on out-of-sorts Burnley at Goodison Park in an intriguing Premier League fixture.

Though Everton’s decision to appoint the opinion-splitting manager Rafael Benitez in the wake of Carlo Ancelotti’s departure for Real Madrid raised many eyebrows, a three-match unbeaten Premier League start (W2, D1) has already silenced many critics. A 3-1 thumping of Southampton at Goodison on the opening weekend gives Benitez an opportunity to become the third Everton manager in the 21st century to win his first two home top-flight matches in charge. Vengeance must be on the hosts’ minds heading into this encounter following a disappointing 2-1 defeat back in March, their second reverse in the last four Premier League H2Hs at this venue (W2). It’s safe to say the ‘Toffees’ have undergone a renaissance under Benitez, having scored seven goals in the Spaniard’s three league games in charge, as many as they managed in their final ten matches in 2020/21.

Unlike his Everton counterpart, Sean Dyche is staring at another season-long fight against the drop, at least based on Burnley’s sluggish start to the season (D1, L2). The ‘Clarets’ will be desperate to improve upon their hold-up play, having landed just a single point from two Premier League matches in which they opened the scoring this term. If Burnley fail to record consecutive away H2Hs within the same calendar year for the first time since 1982, they could invoke demons from the past. Indeed, a draw/loss would see the Lancashire outfit return under 3.5 points from their opening four Premier League fixtures, just as they did in 2014/15, the last season that saw them suffer top-flight relegation. Burnley can at least draw some courage from the fact each of their last four Premier League triumphs arrived away from home.

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