Michael Owen has pinpointed “outstanding” stand-in skipper Jonjo Shelvey as the player who has “epitomised” our recent rise to form – but believes we’ll have to settle for a point at Turf Moor on Saturday.
Shelvey has been instrumental since being handed the captain’s armband in Jamaal Lascelles’ absence, with the midfielder enjoying a purple patch in front of goal as well, becoming our outright top scorer after bagging in each of his last 3 appearances.
Burnley have been in poor form of late, enduring a 5-0 thrashing away to Tottenham last time out, but Owen has backed them to stop the rot with a draw against Newcastle:
“Burnley have lost six of their last eight league games while Newcastle are unbeaten in three and have picked up seven points from the last nine available.
“The Clarets begin the weekend only three points above the drop zone and they badly need a positive result at what is likely to be a nervous Turf Moor.
“I expect them to pick up a valuable point against a Magpies side whose upturn is epitomised by Jonjo Shelvey who has been in outstanding form of late.”
This is certainly a game Newcastle can win, but Burnley supporters will be going into this one with the exact same minset – regardless of our strong run of form.
Both teams set-up in a pragmatic and structured manner, so a draw is probably a fair prediction and a result Bruce would take to keep our points tally ticking over after back-to-back wins.
That said, our defensive approach didn’t stop us beating Sheffield United, so there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t make it three wins on the bounce here against an out of sorts Burnley side.
A win could move the Magpies up to 6th – who would have thought we would be saying that in December!
We won 2-1 at Turf Moor last year, so here’s hoping we see a repeat result and performance on Saturday!