Burnley boss Sean Dyche says his current squad are better equipped to avoid relegation than the group he had back in 2015, as they prepare to tackle Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday (Arsenal 1/3, Draw 4/1, Burnley 10/1 – match result).
The Clarets are rock bottom of the division after winning one of their 17 games this season, but have played six games fewer than some of their rivals due to numerous postponements, and they are now five points from safety ahead of their trip to the Emirates.
Dyche has refused to panic despite their current predicament, and he says his side are better prepared than the team in 2015 that dropped back into the Championship.
He told reporters: “We had a very small squad with limited experience. We hardly invested in the team because finance went into helping the club move forward with things like the training ground – rather than on the pitch and with the wage structure.
“I think it is a different ballpark now. It’s not that we are huge payers or anything, but we have got a more experienced group, that’s obvious.
“We have players who have cost us more money. It doesn’t always guarantee things, but there is an investment to at least make us a team that can be competitive.”
Dyche has 16 fit players available to him for the game in the capital after Erik Pieters, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, and Dwight McNeil returned to training after recovering from Covid.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is without suspended duo Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka, while Nicolas Pepe and Mohamed Elneny are still at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Sunday’s battle between that pair is one of three at 14:00, with Crystal Palace hosting Liverpool (Palace 5/1, Draw 16/5, Liverpool 3/5 – match result), while Leicester City tackle Brighton.
The Eagles have stuttered of late, winning just two of their last ten Premier League matches, but they will be boosted by the return of Jordan Ayew from AFCON.
James McArthur and James Tomkins remain out, while the Reds are hoping to welcome back Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as they try to extend their unbeaten run to six matches.
After conceding two goals in stoppage time to lose 3-2 to Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester will be eager to claim all three points when they welcome Brighton to the King Power Stadium.
Wednesday’s defeat was City’s first at home since November, but they will need to be at their best, with Albion unbeaten in six (Leicester 17/10, Draw 12/5, Brighton 7/4 – match result).
The Seagulls could welcome back Lewis Dunk from injury, while the Foxes’ Daniel Amartey has returned from AFCON to hand Brendan Rodgers another option at the back.