Premier League Preview: Everton vs. Burnley

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• Everton can win a third successive game against Burnley for the first time since 1968-70, when they enjoyed a four-match winning streak.

• Burnley are without a league goal in four hours and 59 minutes since George Boyd’s winner in the 1-0 victory over Manchester City.

• The Toffees are one of only three possible Premier League teams with an unbeaten home record in 2015 – along with Arsenal and Chelsea. They have won two and drawn four since a 1-0 defeat against Stoke on Boxing Day. (BBC Sport)

Burnley held ground against Arsenal last week and will have a normal, week-long turnaround away from home, facing a competitive Everton squad on Saturday.

The first competition between these two outfits in October ended in a clear Everton victory, 3-1, as Samuel Eto’o’s brace ultimately made the outcome possible.

The Toffees were once in the dead middle of the Premier League table at 10th place. However, they’ve dropped two spots, although Roberto Martinez’s side has pulled together to finish the last four games unbeaten.

The highlight in that stretch was a 3-0 win over Newcastle United, with Romelu Lukaku nailing a penalty kick and Ross Barkley burying the final goal in the last minute.

In other good news for Everton, the gifted striker Lukaku, who has been out for the past month due to a groin injury, will likely take the pitch tomorrow.

[RELATED: Prince-Wright’s PL picks for the weekend]

Burnley is coming off the toughest eight-match period of the season, no doubt. Their opponents included Chelsea, Manchester City, Southampton and Liverpool, and luckily, the Clarets managed to steal one on home turf—a 1-0 win against City.

From now until the end of the year, Sean Dyche will aim to jump the ranks in order to stave off relegation.

Currently, his team sits at 19th place with 26 points but other squads are close to that tally. Leicester City, in last place, has 25 points, while Hull City is three points ahead and one spot out of the danger zone.

Catch the Everton-Burnley live on NBC Sports Live Extra at 10 a.m. ET.

What they’re saying

Everton boss Roberto Martinez on Kevin Mirallas’ return and stay with the Toffees (Liverpool Echo): “Kevin picked up a really difficult injury when you are a sprinter like he is. He has had a soft tissue problem so we need to be careful. Now he is getting to 100% and Kevin has been a really important player for us in the last two years and his goal scoring threat is something that we really need in the team.”

Burnley manager Sean Dyche on squad/transfer flexibility (Sky Sports): ”It’s recognised we’ve tried to do something different from the norm – which is to throw money at every situation…We’re trying to build something on and off the pitch. There are challenges that come with that because it is quite hard to get players in who don’t need developing, who can just go in and do it on the money we’ve spent.”

Match injuries/absences

As mentioned earlier, Lukaku is back. Leon Osman’s groin injury will probably keep him out. Although going strong in training, Bryan Oviedo’s hamstring injury will be fully healed in May, while Aiden McGeady also shouldn’t see time on the field in this one.

The Clarets have to deal with the extended nonappearances of Dean Marney and Kevin Long. Steven Reid (calf) and Ross Wallace (knee) are doubts for Burnley as well.

Prediction

You can’t deny that Everton’s been hot as of late, but it’s still unclear when their run of form will end. Against a desperate Burnley, regardless of Lukaku’s impact, the Toffees should hit the five-game unbeaten mark. Everton 2-1 Burnley.

Report: Man United plotting January move for Sancho

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Jadon Sancho has made it known that he intends to return to England and the Premier League in the not-so-distant future, and Manchester United appear to be weighing up a January move for the 19-year-old Borussia Dortmund star, according to a report from the Guardian.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

With Sancho struggling early in his second full season in the Dortmund first team, Man United chief executive Ed Woodward could see this as an opportunity to acquire an exciting, young English talent at a cut-rate price.

Just last month, Sancho was dropped and fined by Dortmund for returning late from England duty. Last weekend, he was subbed off after 34 minutes — without an injury — and harshly criticized by manager Lucien Favre after the game.

[ MORE: Sterling backs Gomez after boos were heard at Wembley ]

Woodward and United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are said to be interested in signing Sancho, who they see as a summer transfer target ahead of the 2020-21 season, in January to allow the player an additional six months to settle into his new surroundings before the massive weight of expectations are fully thrust upon him.

Sancho scored 13 goals in 43 appearances (all competitions) for Dortmund last season. The former Watford and Manchester City academy product has four goals in 16 games this season.

Man City’s attempt to block UEFA investigation denied in court

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MONTREUX, Switzerland (AP) Manchester City lost its attempt Friday to block an investigation into allegations it deceived UEFA while violating rules that monitor soccer club finances.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that City’s appeal against UEFA’s handling of the investigation was inadmissible. The two-time defending Premier League champions tried to stop UEFA’s club finance panel from handling a referral by investigators to impose a punishment.

“At CAS we can only hear appeals against final decisions,” said Matthieu Reeb, the court’s secretary general.

UEFA investigators had called for a severe penalty — that City be excluded from the Champions League for one season.

The file will now proceed to UEFA’s club finance judges. Any sanction they impose can also be challenged at CAS.

The latest UEFA investigation started after leaks of City’s internal correspondence and documents to German news outlet Der Spiegel last year.

The leaks implied City deceived UEFA for several years, including by hiding information that revenue from potentially overvalued commercial deals came from the club’s owners in Abu Dhabi to curb losses.

[ MORE: Report: LA Galaxy want Cavani to replace Zlatan ]

City has never disputed the authenticity of the documents.

“There was absolutely no examination of the merits,” Reeb said of the three-judge panel’s ruling. “We cannot say whether the decision of the alleged breach of financial fair play rules are real or not.”

Friday’s ruling extends a long-standing conflict between City and UEFA in the era of “Financial Fair Play” rules which began in 2009 after consultation with clubs. The project was intended to protect clubs from reckless overspending.

UEFA rules limit cash injections from wealthy owners, which critics say penalize emerging clubs with big ambitions. Commercial deals such as shirt sponsorships that are suspected of being inflated are also assessed for the fair market rate.

City was deducted $22 million of Champions League prize money by UEFA in 2014 in the first round of FFP judgments.

Report: Bruce hopes to bring Xhaka to Newcastle in January

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Steve Bruce has prioritized a loan move to bring Granit Xhaka to Newcastle United in January, according to a report from Sky Sports.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

Xhaka, now the former captain of Arsenal after his recent confrontation with the club’s fans, is expected to leave Arsenal in January and Bruce hopes that Fabian Schar, a longtime teammate of Xhaka with the Swiss international team, will be able to persuade the 27-year-old midfielder to choose the Magpies over what will surely be a long list of clubs desperate to acquire his services.

According to the report, a number of clubs in Italy have already expressed an interest in signing Xhaka — whether or loan or permanently — therefore Bruce and Co., are likely to face plenty of competition. However, the chance to remain in the Premier League and prove his detractors — many of them Arsenal fans — wrong could be appealing to Xhaka.

[ MORE: Report: LA Galaxy want Cavani to replace Zlatan ]

Xhaka, who is not currently injured, hasn’t made an appearance for Arsenal since the incident occurred late last month. Schar recently said that he “can’t wait to give [Xhaka] a hug” next time the two players see each other.

VIDEO: Each PL team’s best and worst player of October

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PST’s Joe Prince-Wright looks at the best (and worst) player of October for each Premier League team as the league enters its final international break of 2019.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

With Liverpool and Leicester City flying high, picking the Reds’ or Foxes’ best player presented plenty of worthy candidates. As for terribly underperforming sides like Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Southampton, it was a challenge for the opposite reason, though JPW wasn’t short on options when it came to worst performers.

Hit Play on the above video to see who graded out well — and not so well — for your club, and feel free to agree or disagree all you want in the comments below.