By 90Min
February 09, 2018

Relegation-battling Swansea host seventh-placed Burnley at the Liberty Stadium this Saturday, but neither side's league position is indicative of their current form.

Swansea have undergone a transformation since the appointment of Carlos Carvalhal in late December, and have earned eleven points from their Portuguese manager's six games in charge. Last weekend's point at Leicester lifted them out of the relegation zone for the first time since October.

Burnley were in scintillating form earlier in the season but are now on a nine-game winless streak in the Premier League. They have been plagued by injuries and have struggled to score goals, although last weekend's draw against Manchester City could be a turning point.

Here's all the important information ahead of this weekend's meeting of the two sides.

Classic Encounter

Stu Forster/GettyImages

Swansea 3-2 Burnley (4 March 2017, Premier League)

Burnley's 2-0 win over Swansea back in November was a tediously one-sided affair, but the same could not be said of their previous meeting last March.

It was a crunch game for both teams in their attempt to avoid the drop. Swansea could have ended the day in the bottom three if results had gone against them, but Fernando Llorente's bullet header after 12 minutes settled the nerves at the Liberty.

Ben Hoskins/GettyImages

But not for long. Andre Gray equalised from the spot eight minutes later and added a second just after the hour to leave the Swans looking nervously over their collective shoulders. Martin Olsson's quick response restored parity, but a draw still wasn't a great result for the hosts.

Then, in the second minute of injury time at the end of the game, Tom Carroll's cross found Llorente and the Spaniard showcased his aerial ability once more to nod home the winner and send the home crowd into raptures. Swansea would go on to finish ahead of Burnley by just one point.

Key Battle

Aaron Lennon vs Kyle Naughton

Stu Forster/GettyImages

Burnley's excellent defensive record has continued unabated despite the absence of James Tarkowski, but their poor form has continued due to a lack of goals. The Clarets have lacked dynamism in attack all season, but Aaron Lennon's arrival a week before the transfer deadline could be the answer to their problems.

Lennon and Kyle Naughton were together at Tottenham but it hasn't really worked out for either of them since then. Lennon endured three unhappy and unsuccessful years at Everton after leaving White Hart Lane. Meanwhile, Swansea have been perennial strugglers during Naughton's time at the club.

Lennon's pace would have made a mockery of Swansea's pre-Christmas defence, but they have really tightened up since switching to a 5-4-1 system. If Naughton can nullify his former team-mate's forays forward, it will provide a solid platform for Swansea to go on and climb further away from the drop zone.

Team News

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Carlos Carvalhal has fielded the same team for Swansea's last three league matches and this has coincided with the Swans' best run of results this season. Another unchanged team seems the most likely outcome. A hamstring injury could delay Andre Ayew's return to the Liberty Stadium.

Amidst a sea of injuries, Sean Dyche received a boost this week with the return of Stephen Ward. Charlie Taylor was man-of-the-match against Man City but could find himself dropped to the bench to accommodate Ward. Matt Lowton may replace Phil Bardsley, who strained his hamstring last week.

James Tarkowski, Chris Wood and Tom Heaton all remain sidelined, but could return within the next fortnight. Steven Defour, Dean Marney and Robbie Brady are still long-term absentees.

Possible Swansea Starting Lineup: Fabianski; Olsson, van der Hoorn, Mawson, Fernandez, Naughton; Clucas, Ki, Fer, Dyer; J Ayew

Possible Burnley Starting Lineup: Pope; Ward, Mee, Long, Lowton; Lennon, Hendrick, Cork, Gudmundsson; Barnes, Vokes



Swansea have conceded at a rate of just one goal per game since Carvalhal's appointment. Considering that they have played Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal in that time, that's a pretty remarkable record for relegation candidates.

Burnley have also conceded only one goal in each of their last four games, and still have the best defensive record of any Premier League side outside of Manchester. So don't expect this to be a high-scoring encounter.

But while Burnley's goals have completely dried up, Swansea seem to have picked up the knack. Their league form is excellent, they come into this one off the back of an 8-1 thumping of Notts County, and they seem to have struck gold with a system that works at both ends of the pitch. An edgy home win is on the cards.

Prediction: Swansea 1-0 Burnley

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