International breaks are met with loathing from Premier League fans, with the prospect of a weekend without top level domestic football leaving many supporters feeling empty and devoid of purpose. Most can, and will, watch the international qualifiers but it is hard to get so motivated for a game that potentially involves no players from your team and that is just an early step towards a major tournament in two years’ time. With the second of these international breaks in a matter of weeks now upon us it is worth considering which, if any, fans and clubs might actually welcome the time off and might be glad of the two weeks away from Premier League action; there are at least two clubs that I can think of.
Burnley’s lack of goals
Current 4/11 favourites for relegation in the Premier League football betting Burnley finally remembered how to score in their 2-2 draw against Leicester City last weekend. Michael Kightly’s first half goal was the Claret’s first since the opening game of their season- their fans had to wait 655 minutes to see them hit the back of the net for a second time. The draw was enough to take Burnley off the bottom of the table but they know that they will need to find some goal-scoring form to match their stubborn defence if they are to have any chance of staying up.
Hope on the horizon
The international break should give striker Danny Ings the opportunity to finally shake off the hamstring injury that he picked up in September, and it will gave Sam Vokes further time to recover from the serious knee injury that he suffered back in March. Between them the two strikers scored 47 goals last season and, when fit, they could have the ability to break open tight games. Burnley need them both back and firing desperately otherwise their season could be over before it has really begun.
Whilst Burnley may have been expected to struggle on their return to the Premier League, last season’s fifth placed team Everton would certainly have expected to be higher up the table than their current 17th position. The Toffees have managed just one premier League win all season- a 2-0 victory over West Brom- and their defensive displays have been a real cause for concern for their fans. Having secured Europa League football last season, the strain of extra travelling and fixtures seems to be taking its toll on Roberto Martinez’s men and, their unbeaten run in Europe has come at the expense of domestic results.
Arguably Martinez’ biggest headache at the moment is his injury list, with the Toffees most consistent defender John Stones set to be out for eight weeks. The Spaniard’s injury worries don’t end with the England international, however;
- Seamus Coleman- Hamstring
- Kevin Mirallas- Hamstring
- James McCarthy- Hamstring
- Slyvain Distin- Thigh Strain
The international break will certainly not be long enough to lessen all of the injury worries but it will provide some much needed respite and will see the return of Ross Barkley to training. If Martinez can get any of his injured men back out on the field then it will give the Toffees a desperately needed boost.
Not long enough
The international break may seem to extend endlessly towards the horizon but it will be over in the blink of an eye. The two weeks without Premier League feels like an eternity for football fans but, for Sean Dyche and Roberto Martinez the break probably can’t be long enough.