Burnley vs Leicester: A six-pointer of the grandest proportions

Chelsea’s win over Manchester United last weekend has all-but ensured that the Premier League title is heading to Stamford Bridge, while the Champions League qualification berths look wrapped up as well.

Despite Mauricio Pochettino’s return to St Mary’s this weekend and the tussle between the Argentine’s old and new clubs to finish higher on the table, English football’s standout fixture i the top flight will be played at the other end of the standings.

In a six-pointer of epic proportions, Burnley host fellow relegation candidates Leicester City at Turf Moor in what looks like a fixture that will play a significant role in the respective sides’ chances of avoiding the drop.

The hosts were initially looking doomed in their first season back in the big time, but an upturn in form and some inspirational results gave Sean Dyche’s men a real chance at staying in the top flight.

With the lowest wage bill in the Premier League, the Turf Moor club had the hard-work of George Boyd and the goals of Danny Ings to thank for their mini revival, but in recent weeks it hasn’t quite gone to plan.

The Clarets have not won in their last four games, while Ings has not scored in his last eight outings.

Burnley have proven this season that Turf Moor is not an easy place to go though, with a 0-0 draw against Tottenham and narrow defeat against Arsenal in recent weeks showing as much.

If Dyche’s men are to avoid the drop this term, remaining home games against Leicester and Stoke will be vital.

Nigel PearsonAlthough Burnley sit on the bottom of the pile currently, positions can be deceiving; victory over Leicester on Saturday and other results going their way could see the hosts lifted out of the relegation places and potentially up to 16th.

Leicester meanwhile have also been largely written off this season, especially given that they have been cut adrift at the bottom of the division for large portions of the campaign.

Nigel Pearson’s position was reportedly under threat, while it looked like a lost cause for the Foxes a month ago.

However, in the last couple of weeks, the King Power Stadium faithful have started to believe that their side can put bad luck and defeats behind them.

Three consecutive victories against West Ham, West Brom and Swansea have lifted the club from a position of no hope to giving the side a real chance of completing one of the most notable acts of escapology in recent memory.

Another win here would play a sizeable role in guaranteeing Pearson’s men’s safety and could well all but condemn Burnley to a Championship return.

Both teams will feel a certain amount of empathy to each other given their similarities; both have been labelled as not good enough, both are newly promoted, have spent time at the bottom of the table and have not had much luck over the course of the campaign.

Each team have both conceded 51 times in 2014-15, but, somewhat surprisingly given the threat of Ings and Ashley Barnes, Leicester have scored eight more goals than Burnley.

There are scenarios where both teams can both stay up this season, with the likes of QPR, Sunderland and Aston Villa demoted to the second-tier.

Similarly, regardless of Saturday’s outcome, both teams could yet be relegated also.

The race for survival is more than likely set to go down to the wire, but Saturday’s result at Turf Moor could well be a decisive moment for Leicester, Burnley or both.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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