Burnley vs Arsenal line-ups predicted as Sean Dyche backs Jay Rodriguez to fill Chris Wood void

It’s somewhat of a guessing game trying to predict Burnley’s squad for their Premier League return to Arsenal on Sunday.

The Clarets haven’t kicked the ball since losing to Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup earlier this month and have seen several players test positive for Covid since.

It forced the postponement of their matches with Leicester City and Watford and Sean Dyche said on Thursday he had 16 senior players in training.

READ MORE: The evolution of Burnley’s transfer strategy as Clarets make continental moves and step up search for signings

That means several are still out, with Ashley Barnes certainly out as he continues his recovery from injury while Maxwel Cornet is out of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson has returned to training following Covid and injury while Charlie Taylor has a foot problem and is uncertain.

Erik Pieters, who has recovered from Covid, is in line to start at left-back if Taylor doesn’t feature while Matej Vydra plays through the pain of a hernia problem that will likely require surgery.

It means Jay Rodriguez looks set to lead the line at the Emirates as the striker seeks his first league goal in almost a year.

He has scored five goals in the cups this term, all against lower league opponents, and is set for a run in the squad following the sale of Chris Wood.

And Dyche is confident the 32-year-old, who has struggled at times this term with injuries, illness and Covid, can regain his form.

“He was close to being on the squad roster anyway, then he had a hamstring, and illness and Covid and illness and such,” the Turf boss said.

“Jay has a great history of playing for Burnley and playing in the Premier League so we certainly think he can work for us.”

On Rodriguez not having scored a league goal for 11 months, Dyche added: “By right, I don’t know how many games he’s played since last February, but he must be due huh!”

Predicted Burnley XI: Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters; Brownhill, Westwood, Cork, McNeil; The no; Rodríguez.

Arsenal will be without midfielder Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey through suspension, while Pierre Emierck-Aubameyang is also out and Mohamed Elneny is out of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Predicted Arsenal XI: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Smith Rowe, Lokonga, Odegaard; Saka, Lacazette, Martinelli.

Kick-off in Emirates on Sunday is at 2pm and we’ll bring you all the action here.

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