Big North West derby preview: Burnley v Wigan

Turf_Moor_lukas_skywalkerWhat, you thought I meant the Liverpool-Man U game? Not a chance.

More local derby goodness to come this weekend, with a trip down the road to Turf Moor on Saturday. It’s a tasty encounter in prospect, as although both teams have experienced extremes of good and bad thus far in the 2009 campaign, should each be on their game, we could potentially have a game to eclipse even a certain other NW derby this weekend. Let’s face it, injury problems are likely to water down that match somewhat (famous last words…).

Not that this game is likely to be anywhere close to the start of Match of the Day, after all, it’s Little Burnley against Even Littler Wigan, such is the top-four bias in the mainstream media. But who could blame them? That Fergie bloke’s more entertainment than the vast majority of contestants on Britain’s Got the X Factor. Can’t say the same for the rest, however, as in contrast, they’ve been inconspicuous this season. Perhaps the likes of Carol [sic] Ancelotti and Rafa Benitez know they have their work cut out.

Anyhow, I’m turning into Gary Lineker or some pundit from Soccer (read: Sucker) Sunday here. Burnley come into this game on the back of a painful defeat at the hands of local rivals Blackburn, but boss Owen Coyle remains positive:

Here we are with 12 points that nobody ever envisaged us having, and with probably the lowest budget the Premier League has ever seen… There is a lot to be positive about at Burnley Football Club. — Owen Coyle

Twelve points from nine games? That’s a cracking start to a season for a team with aspirations of Europe, never mind a newly-promoted outfit. Even scarier, each of those points have come at Fortress Turf Moor, which has already seen such top-of-the-table forces as Manchester United and Everton perish. Only Arsenal and Chelsea can boast a similar record, with not a single loss at home in four games.

But this isn’t going to be a walkover for The Clarets, oh no. Latics already have defeats of Aston Villa and Chelsea to their credit, and although it’s clearly a revamped team looking to find its feet in the Prem this season, some of the mightiest have already fallen at the hands of Hugo Rodallega and… Titus Bramble. Cough.

The bookies don’t really know which way to swing ahead of this Lancashire six-pointer, and neither do I. Obviously I’ll be shouting for Wigan as ever, but on balance perhaps a point would suffice, especially considering our lukewarm record on the road: we haven’t achieved a single point since picking up a win at Villa in the season opener, and have conceded twice as many goals as we have scored on our travels. On the other hand, Burnley’s awsome home record has to come to an end at some point, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it?

Image by Lukas Skywalker at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons.

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