It is Burnley v Newcastle on Monday night and Rafa’s team will be hoping, even expecting, to build on consecutive victories and seven points from the last nine.
Up against them will be a home side who stopped a run of three defeats with a goalless draw at Leicester.
Charlie Taylor was linked repeatedly with Newcastle but their much talked about search for a new left-back still hasn’t ended, with Rafa said to be hoping for one in the new year.
Instead Taylor signed for Burnley in summer 2017 after he had ran his contract down at Elland Road.
He thinks the goalless draw at Leicester will have given them, especially the defence, confidence going into the Newcastle match.
In the first 11 matches Burnley had conceded 25 goals, more than everybody but Fulham.
A bit of a change from last season when only the top five conceded more than Burnley’s 39 goals in 38 games.
Maybe a bit like Newcastle, Sean Dyche’s team just had a change of luck.
When you look at the stats, Leicester had 22 shots to Burnley’s 6, 5 on target to 1 for the visitors, plus a corner count 12 v 1.
Despite Burnley outscoring Newcastle 12 goals to 9 so far this season, Rafa’s team have a 7 goal advantage in terms of goal difference, which puts Newcastle the higher team at the moment as both have 9 points.
A massive relief of course to see Newcastle creating chances and a centre-forward scoring them against Bournemouth in the last match but I think we all know that if NUFC are to be alright this season it will be built on a solid defence.
With only 15 conceded so far, only one club outside the top seven has conceded less goals.
In the past six hours of football, Newcastle have only conceded the one goal and if they can continue that at Burnley then there’s every chance of keeping the winning run going.
Newcastle have had to play numerous combinations at centre-back due to injury and sometimes Rafa reverting to three/five at the back. Ironically, this time it is at left-back where it looks as though the Newcastle boss will have a choice to make after Dummett came back from international duty injured.
Last season Burnley picked up more points away (28) than at home (26) and this season they have picked up one more away from home (5 v 4), Charlie Taylor hoping Monday will see those stats change in favour of Turf Moor.
Charlie Taylor talking to the official club site:
“They used to say it should be easier at home…when you’ve got your fans behind you and your home comforts.
“It’s surprising, but it’s good that we are picking up points on the road.
“But at the same time, we want to make Turf Moor a fortress and be tough to beat at home. That’s something we can definitely do.
“We want to win our home games and what better time to do it than against Newcastle on Monday.
“It’s very tight (at the bottom).
It’s still early on in the season, but you want to beat the teams around you more than anything, and we want to put as many points between us and the bottom three as possible.
“I think that (getting a clean sheet in the goalless draw at Leicester) was the most important thing overall.
“We would have gone there wanting three points but getting a clean sheet was brilliant and something that will breed a lot of confidence into us.
“We were hard to break down and it was a bit more like we were last season.
“We were so together at the back and I think that showed.
“A lot of people said we were back to our old selves.”