Burnley may have been out in the last two Premier League games but they haven’t lost ground to their relegation rivals heading into Christmas.
Sean Dyche’s side were due to face Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon until the game was postponed after a Covid-19 outbreak at Bodymoor Heath meant Steven Gerrard’s outfit was unable to fill the game.
This is the second consecutive contest the Clarets have seen postponed after their meeting with Watford on Wednesday was called off hours before kick-off due to a number of positive Covid-19 cases in their squad.
At this point in the campaign you would much prefer to have points on the board, but the postponement of matches against Watford and Villa means Burnley has matches in hand on all the teams around them in the standings.
Leeds United, who are five points ahead of the Clarets, have now made three more appearances and are in miserable form heading into Christmas season.
The Whites were largely beaten by Arsenal at Elland Road on Saturday night as a brace from Gabriel Martinelli and goals from England duo Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe doomed Marcelo Bielsa’s side to a third consecutive league loss.
This means Leeds have conceded 14 goals in their last three games following their 7-0 midweek loss to Manchester City and the pressure is mounting on their Chilean manager.
Cries for Bielsa to be more tactically pragmatic have escalated as Leeds heal an alarming injury crisis with a dozen first-team players out of action. Leeds could make a stroke of luck when it comes to players returning from injury – their bench against Arsenal was made up entirely of members of their Under-23 and Under-18 teams, including Archie Gray, 15 – while the january window could be crucial given the need to add depth to the squad.
But with their injury crisis showing little sign of abating so far, it gives Burnley an opportunity to cut the points deficit and bring them back – if the games can continue through the holiday season, of course.
The Clarets face Leeds in their first game of the New Year and that could be a crucial part of the Premier League’s relegation landscape.
If their injury issues continue to plague them, Burnley has an opportunity to gain ground over those above them.
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