How Burnley and Leicester could pick up points


As the 2014/2015 Premier League season nears the half-way point, there are a number of teams who have struggled to find the form and consistency required to stay away from danger at the wrong end of the table. Statistics have proved that it is extremely rare for teams who find themselves bottom of the pile on Christmas Day to avoid relegation to the Championship, but there are others who may already have the feeling that they are in for a long, hard season. Hull, Burnley and Leicester currently occupy the relegation spots ahead of the next round of fixtures in Week 16 where all three may find their chances of securing a much-needed three points extremely difficult. The Premier League has already proven to be a league in which any team can beat anyone on their day, but there may need to be an element of tactical astuteness if Steve Bruce, Sean Dyche and Nigel Pearson wish to lift the spirits at their respective clubs. Fans can place bets with Coral whilst on the go if they believe the tactics that their team use will be the winning ones, and secure three points that could lift them out of the relegation zone and towards potential safety.


Few may be surprised that Dyche’s men currently sit 19th in the table, but this does not reflect the level of performances that Burnley have put in, particularly in recent weeks where they can feel unfortunate not to have secured more points. They went down 2-0 in the battle of the classic 4-4-2 formation at Queens Park Rangers, but could easily have left Loftus Road with at least a point if it were not for an inspired performance from goalkeeper Rob Green; it is a lack of cutting edge and ruthlessness which may ultimately prove Burnley’s downfall. The upcoming fixture at Turf Moor against high-flying Southampton not only promises to be a tough game, but one which Dyche may have to consider a tactical change in emphasis. Sticking with a 4-4-2 will ensure Burnley remain balanced in all areas of the pitch and provide Ronald Koeman with food for thought, but Southampton carry a considerable attacking threat, particularly through midfield where creativity and pace comes to the fore. This is where a 4-5-1 or the more common 4-2-3-1 variation may work in Burnley’s favour; being more compact in midfield may be key to restricting the space given to the likes of Dusan Tadic and Sadio Mane, while Michael Kightly and George Boyd could be utilised on the wings to prevent Southampton’s full-backs from bombing forward and support Danny Ings – the only striker Burnley have that can score goals at the highest level.

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Nigel Pearson finds himself under immense pressure to hold onto his job as manager following a poor run of form that has seen them slide down the table despite a bright start to the season. The 5-3 victory against Manchester United now feels like a distant memory, with Leicester lacking any sort of confidence and form that would suggest they have enough to avoid going straight back down to the Championship. Pearson’s controversial comments towards a fan have further darkened the clouds over the King Power Stadium, with the upcoming visit of Manchester City unlikely to lift their mood. Sergio Aguero’s injury may be the only chink of light that Leicester could take positivity from, but Manchester City have struggled on their travels against teams who prefer the 4-4-2 tactic. Queens Park Rangers caused considerable problems against the reigning champions, and Leicester do have it in them to make a similar impact. Pearson may look to make a tactical change to overcome the disappointing defeat at Aston Villa; although Paul Konchesky’s red card has been rescinded, pushing Jeffrey Schlupp back to left-back and switching Rihyad Mahrez to left midfield may restore the balance in a system which gets the best from both players. Replacing Konchesky with Mark Albrighton should provide Leicester with the attacking threat they need to prevent Manchester City from running riot, particularly as Manuel Pellegrini’s defence has look far from secure in recent weeks.

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