ADAM GOODWIN (@agjournalism) previews Thursday night’s British battle in the Europa League between Burnley and Aberdeen from Turf Moor.
Burnley v Aberdeen | Thursday 2nd August 2018, 19:45 | BT Sport
Aberdeen thought they had managed to secure a 1-0 win heading back to England but a late Sam Vokes goal means this tie is very much in the balance.
Fortunately for Burnley, the Premier League season doesn’t start for another week, so they don’t have to worry about fixture congestion just yet. However, Aberdeen play Rangers on Saturday and, despite Graeme Shinnie saying that the SPL has taken a backseat for now, they will undoubtedly still have half an eye on getting their season off to a good start at the weekend.
After Fulham reportedly pipped them to Alfie Mawson, the Clarets are yet to make any movement in the transfer market so far. That’s slightly worrying bearing in mind they potentially have a long European season on the way, but none of that should have too much impact on this game.
Anders Lindegaard is set to start in net for Sean Dyche’s side after an injury to Nick Pope in the first leg and I wouldn’t be too keen on backing a Burnley clean sheet with him in goal.
Steven Defour and Robbie Brady are also out of this game which means the experienced Aaron Lennon will start on the left wing. Burnley will need the know-how of Lennon as they look to play their first home European game in over 50 years.
Burnley’s form at Turf Moor last season was extremely impressive at times but they ended the 2017/18 campaign with just two wins in seven home games. They were also without in win in any of their last five league games and this poor form could potentially spill over to this game on Thursday.
Unlike Burnley, Aberdeen have the experience of being in Europe after playing in the Europa League for the last four seasons. You can’t say they’ve been successful during this time though, having never made it past the play-offs.
Both teams have scored in only one of their last seven games in this competition, and they won just three of those against Rijeka, Ventspils and Siroki Brijeg – nope, me neither. Whether their experience of playing in Europe will give them much of an advantage over Burnley is yet to be seen, but it can’t be a bad thing.
And Aberdeen are no mugs, by the way. They have players with quality in Joe Lewis, Tommie Hoban, Gary Mackay-Stevens and Stevie May and Burnley’s direct style may not be too useful when they come against a side who is used to it week-in-week-out.
Derek McInnes is another reason why I’d like to get them onside. He turned down the Sunderland job this time last year (what a great decision) and I believe he will manage at a higher-level one day.
For a side that finished just nine points behind Celtic (which is an achievement compared to recent years), 9/1 (Ladbrokes) seems like a generous price. The pressure is off Aberdeen and I have a feeling the pressure might get to Burnley in-front of what will surely be a record-breaking crowd at Turf Moor.
The betting angles
I’m keen to get the Dons onside and you can back them with a +1.5 Asian Handicap headstart at 13/17 with BetVictor. This means your bet is a winner if Aberdeen win, draw and even if they lose by one goal. It’s not the biggest price in the world but it looks a sure bet for this one.
If you want a slightly bigger price, I’ll have a punt on Aberdeen to win 1-0 at 21/1 with BetVictor. Their games in Europe don’t tend to feature too many goals and I think McInnes is tactically qualified to mastermind a shock victory at Turf Moor.