Burnley 1-1 Brighton
- Goals: Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£5.4m) | Lewis Dunk (£4.8m)
- Assists: Erik Pieters (£4.3m) | Pascal Groß (£5.8m)
- Bonus points: Pieters x3, Gudmundsson x3, Dunk x2, Robert Sánchez x2 (£4.5m)
PREPARE FOR DOUBLE
Burnley produced a mixed audition for Double Gameweek 24 as they drew 1-1 with Brighton on Saturday.
A spirited second-half performance suggested they could provide Fantasy Premier League managers with attacking potential ahead of facing Crystal Palace (away) and Fulham (home).
However, the Clarets’ run of matches without a clean sheet extended to four in Gameweek 23, goalkeeper Nick Pope (£5.5m) recording just one over his last seven Premier League outings.
This latest blank for Burnley’s defensive assets was not the best preparation for a favourable Double Gameweek schedule.
Despite mostly retaining control at against Brighton, Sean Dyche’s men were still stretched at points, even if those moments were rare.
Ben Mee (£5.0m) was pulled out of position in the 19th minute and earned a yellow card for chopping down Neal Maupay (£6.1m), a foul which was close to ending up in the penalty area.
And either side of half time, Aaron Connolly (£5.2m) was twice able to carve through the heart of Burnley’s midfield and, without much challenge from Mee or James Tarkowski (£5.3m) unleash efforts on goal which required Pope’s attention.
But it was set pieces where Burnley really let themselves down on Saturday as Lewis Dunk (£4.8m) muscled his way to a free header in the 36th minute. Johann Berg Gudmundsson (£ was stationed on the far post but did not meet the effort in time to stop it finding the back of the net.
Between Gameweeks 18 and 22, the Clarets’ lack of defensive returns came with the mitigating circumstances of their opposition.
During that run, they faced Manchester United (home), West Ham (away), Liverpool (away), Aston Villa (home), Chelsea (away) and Manchester City (home) so there was certainly no shame in conceding 1.5 goals per match.
So to see Burnley fail to capitalise on the easing of their fixtures at the first attempt is a little discouraging.
THE HAND OF POPE
Meanwhile, Pope’s two-point score was his fifth match tally of three or fewer since Gameweek 19.
Unable to get that elusive eighth clean sheet of the campaign, Burnley’s goalkeeper also made just one save against Brighton, the first time he was unable to add an extra point for stops since the first match of Gameweek 19.
His last double-digit haul was against Liverpool in Double Gameweek 19 while two more were recorded Arsenal and Aston Villa earlier in the campaign.
And therein lies the trick with Pope’s Fantasy potential this season, when it has been no secret that his more explosive scores typically come in unfavourable match-ups rather than appealing fixtures.
In 12 matches against top-10 sides this season, Pope has made 61 saves. That is the highest total among all goalkeepers and, at 5.1 per game, is just shy of the threshold for a second save point.
However, in nine matches against sides inside the division’s bottom 10 at the time of writing, Pope has 25 saves. That’s a total bettered by 10 other goalkeepers and works out at just 2.5 per game, just short of the threshold for one additional save point.
Meanwhile, Charlie Taylor (£4.4m) is likely to remain out of the Double Gameweek 24 conversation considering he was unable to overcome his hamstring injury in time to face Brighton despite a positive update from Dyche.
“We will see with everything coming up and the schedule. These games keep on coming thick and fast. But there are encouraging signs from the players that they could be available for us soon.” – Sean Dyche
VYDRA KILLED THE RADIO STAR
Ahead of the Double Gameweek 24, there was a massive improvement in Burnley’s goal threat in their 1-1 draw with Brighton.
Coming into this fixture, the Clarets had suffered back-to-back defeats while not registering a shot on target in either game.
But at Turf Moor, they fired off 20 attempts on goal, 12 in the box and landed seven of them on target.
With Chris Wood (£6.2m) sidelined by a hamstring injury, Matej Vydra (£4.8m) was handed his third successive Premier League start, this time alongside the returning Ashley Barnes (£6.0m).
The Czech Republic international was by far Burnley’s greatest goal threat against Brighton, registering the most shots in the box (three) of any player and arguably unfortunate not to come away with an attacking return.
He got into space behind Joël Veltman (£4.3m) in the first half, laying off to Barnes, who blazed a decent chance over the bar.
Dwight McNeil (£5.7m) also took in a lay-off from Vydra but watched Robert Sánchez (£4.5m) bat away his effort in a fantastic performance by the Brighton shot-stopper that yielded a total of six saves and two bonus points.
“Sánchez did really well. Not just shots, but aerially as well he helped us out with a lot of the stuff that Burnley throw at you. He has got that ability to be a match-winner. The more he plays the better he will get.” – Graham Potter
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Pope; Pieters, Mee, Tarkowski, Lowton; McNeil, Cork, Westwood, Gudmundsson; Vydra, A Barnes.
Brighton and Hove Albion XI (3-4-1-2): R Sánchez; Webster (Lallana 75′), Dunk, White; Burn, Bissouma, Groß, Veltman; Mac Allister; Maupay (Trossard 62′), Connolly (Welbeck 62;).
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