Burnley and Bournemouth renew hostilities in Tuesday’s FA Cup fifth-round clash at Turf Moor, with the hosts heading into this game following a 1-1 draw with fellow relegation rivals Brighton & Hove Albion.
Meanwhile, the visitors began life without Jason Tindall in the dugout in optimal fashion as they claimed a 3-2 victory over Birmingham City in the Championship with Jonathan Woodgate at the helm.
Brighton had taken maximum points from clashes with Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool before their journey to Burnley, so a point for the Clarets in that fixture is not the worst result on paper by any stretch.
However, Sean Dyche was left scratching his head after his side could only take a share of the spoils despite a dominant second-half showing, with Johann Berg Gudmundsson finding the back of the net for the first time since August 2019 after Lewis Dunk’s header had broken the deadlock.
Despite failing to win any of their last three matches in the top flight, 17th-placed Burnley are still eight points clear of the bottom three after 22 outings, and fixtures with Crystal Palace, Fulham and West Bromwich Albion in the coming weeks are certainly more welcoming than their first few matches of 2021 were.
As much as the Turf Moor faithful will be desperate to see their side stay up, they would undoubtedly love a cup run, and Burnley’s penalty-shootout victory over MK Dons in round three preceded a dominant 3-0 victory at Fulham last month, with Jay Rodriguez (2) and Kevin Long notching up the goals in that one.
By reaching the fifth round this season, Burnley have already achieved their best finish in the FA Cup since the 2016-17 campaign – where they were famously knocked out by then non-league side Lincoln City at this stage – and victory over Bournemouth would see the 1914 FA Cup champions advance to the quarter-finals for the first time since the 2002-03 season.
The sacking of Tindall did not go down well with sections of the Bournemouth fanbase, but they at least got to witness Woodgate get off to a dream start in the Vitality dugout with a narrow in over Birmingham at the weekend.
Jack Wilshere continued his impressive start to life with the Cherries as he notched up Bournemouth’s second on the day – with Woodgate going on to hail the midfielder’s “unbelievable talent” after the game – while Arnaut Danjuma and Philip Billing also netted as the Cherries ended a five-game losing run in the Championship.
Whether or not Woodgate remains in the hotseat for the long-term remains to be seen, but Bournemouth fans will be praying that the former Middlesbrough boss can help get their promotion charge back on track and potentially steer them to their first FA Cup quarter-final since the 1956-57 season.
The Cherries thrashed Oldham Atheltic 4-1 before scraping a narrow 2-1 victory over Crawley Town to set up a fifth-round fixture with Burnley, and the 2020-21 tournament marks just the second time in 31 years that Bournemouth have made it this far, with Everton sending them packing at this stage in the 2015-16 season.
Burnley came up trumps in the last four Premier League meetings between the two sides before Bournemouth’s relegation last season, and a fourth-round meeting in the 2004-05 FA Cup also saw the Clarets run out 2-0 winners.