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Preview: Burnley vs. Sheffield United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between Burnley and Sheffield United, including team news and predicted lineups.

Two sides with aspirations of European qualification for next season will go head-to-head in the Premier League on Sunday lunchtime as Burnley play host to Sheffield United at Turf Moor.

The clubs are only separated by two points in the Premier League table, with Sheffield United occupying seventh on 47 points while Burnley lie 10th on 45 points after 32 matches.

Match preview

Burnley players celebrate Ben Mee's goal against Crystal Palace on June 29, 2020© Reuters

The defensive resilience of Sean Dyche's men paid dividends once again as Burnley kept their second clean sheet in a row with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Crystal Palace on Monday.

The ever-present Ben Mee - so often at the forefront of Burnley's efforts to preserve a slender lead - scored his first Premier League goal since January 2017 at Selhurst Park as Dyche's men kept the race for the European places very much alive.

Following on from a 5-0 drubbing at recently-dethroned 2018-19 champions Manchester City, Burnley have recorded victories by a solitary goal against Watford and Palace since the restart, and the Clarets have only tasted defeat once in their last eight league outings.

Dyche's men are also unbeaten in their last five league matches at home, having taken points off Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur before play was called to a halt, and Burnley can leapfrog the North London pair with a win this weekend should Arsenal and Spurs lose to Wolverhampton Wanderers and Everton respectively.

On an individual level, Nick Pope will be aiming to keep his 14th clean sheet of the season as he leads the way in the battle for the Premier League Golden Glove, with the Englishman having recorded one more shut-out than Alisson and Ederson as things stand.

Sheffield United players celebrate scoring against Tottenham Hotspur on July 2, 2020© Reuters

Meanwhile, Sheffield United also demonstrated exactly why they are among the Premier League's European chasers as they enjoyed an impressive 3-1 victory over fellow top-four rivals Tottenham on Thursday.

It would not be a Premier League game without a touch of VAR controversy, however, with Harry Kane seeing his equaliser ruled out due to a Lucas Moura handball after Sander Berge had broken the deadlock for Sheffield.

Nevertheless, the Blades stuck to the task at hand as further strikes from Lys Mousset and Oli McBurnie allowed Chris Wilder's men to leapfrog Spurs and enter gameweek 33 in seventh - five points adrift of fifth-placed Manchester United.

In doing so, the Blades also managed to end a four-game winless run in all competitions since the restart, and with a challenging set of fixtures against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Chelsea, Leicester City and Everton still to come, it was imperative that Wilder's men regained their confidence after a lacklustre opening to Project Restart.

The Blades will now endeavour to score their first goal on the road in the top flight since February, and Sheffield United have only managed to pick up one league win from their last seven away from home - potentially a cause for concern for Wilder as he looks to bring European football to the Bramall Lane faithful.

However, Sheffield ran riot against Burnley in the reverse fixture and enjoyed a 3-0 victory courtesy of a John Lundstram brace and a John Fleck strike.

Burnley Premier League form: WDDLWW

Sheffield United Premier League form: DWDLLW
Sheffield United form (all competitions): WDLLLW

Team News

Jay Rodriguez in action for Burnley in pre-season on July 30, 2019© Reuters

Burnley's injury problems at the moment are well-documented, but Jay Rodriguez may be back in time for the visit of Sheffield to provide a much-needed boost for Dyche.

However, Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood, Matthew Lowton and Johann Berg Gudmundsson are not expected to play a part so soon.

Jack Cork was forced off in the win against Palace, but the midfielder's injury is not thought to be too serious and he should make the cut for Sunday.

Sheffield United are facing several injury problems of their own, with Lundstram and Fleck - the match-winners during the visit of Burnley at Bramall Lane earlier in the campaign - both on the treatment table.

Jack O'Connell is nearing a return to action but may not be risked by Wilder, and Mousset should have done enough to earn a spot in the starting lineup following his goal against Spurs.

Burnley possible starting lineup:
Pope; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Brownhill, Westwood, Cork, McNeil; Vydra, Rodriguez

Sheffield United possible starting lineup:
Henderson; Egan, Basham, Robinson; Baldock, Berge, Norwood, Osborn, Stevens; McBurnie, Mousset

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Burnley 1-0 Sheffield United

Both Burnley and Sheffield United are dealing with depleted squads at the minute, but the two sides have shown all throughout the season that they are capable of grinding out results no matter the circumstances.

However, given Sheffield's underwhelming away form and Burnley's strong recent home results, we are backing Dyche's side to take the spoils and overtake their fellow European hopefuls this Sunday.

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Thursday's key events

· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
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· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

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