MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

Burnley have taken two points from their four games over the festive period, but that tally doesn't tell the full story.

While the Christmas schedule started badly, with a resounding 3-0 defeat at the hands of Tottenham, the Clarets have been unlucky since then. That two-point haul could quite easily be seven.

Instead they saw a win at Old Trafford turn into a draw with Jesse Lingard's injury-time equaliser, before suffering the same fate on New Year's Day as Liverpool snatched all three points from Turf Moor.

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At Huddersfield the Clarets had enough chances to claim victory and were denied a clear penalty when Jeff Hendrick was brought down by Jonas Lossl. A story of what could have been for Burnley over the festive schedule.

ROTATION V CONTINUITY

Dyche and Jurgen Klopp took very different approaches to the challenge of a second game in three days. While Dyche said 'same again' to 10 of his 11 starters, with James Tarkowski the only fresh face, Klopp rang the changes, with seven alterations made to the side that beat Leicester City.

Dyche has never tinkered with his team over the festive period and he insists his players are capable of standing up to the demands placed on them at this time of year. The Clarets started sluggishly on New Year's Day, suggesting the schedule might be catching up with them, but they found an impressive second wind to launch a late onslaught that should have brought about a point.

It was all change for Liverpool and while the Reds lacked their first XI quality they did look to benefit from fresh legs. But all told the difficulty of playing Saturday-Monday did neither team any favour, and it didn't benefit the fans either, who saw a Burnley side occasionally lacking their usual zip and a Liverpool side shorn of their star men.

The festive fixture list is rightly here to stay, but playing twice in three days seems an unnecessary struggle, especially when the schedule has been so distorted through TV games, leaving some sides much fresher than others.

JBG'S GROWING INFLUENCE

It's been a long wait for Johann Berg Gudmundsson to record his second goal in a Burnley shirt. The Iceland winger opened his account for the club on November 5, 2016, scoring in a 3-2 win over Crystal Palace.

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Since then he's gone 34 games without finding the back of the net until his late leveller on New Year's Day. Gudmundsson was a one in five man during his time at Charlton and even accounting for the step up in standard he'd expect more than two in 47 for the Clarets so far.

But the goals could flow now the drought is over. Gudmundsson has had a growing influence on the Clarets side this season, topping the assists chart with five. He's relished the creative pressure that has come in Robbie Brady's absence as well and the Iceland winger has turned in a series of dazzling displays of late.

Gudmundsson looks a player full of confidence at the moment, happy to run at defences and take his man on, and he's becoming a key man in this Burnley side.

TESTING THE TOP SIX

As touched on after the draw at Huddersfield Burnley's strength this season has been their performances against the teams below them, with just four goals conceded in 14 games against teams eighth and below.

But the Clarets have shown they can test the top six as well. While they've not beaten one of the teams above them since success at Chelsea on the opening day, they have drawn at Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester United, where they were minutes away from a famous victory.

Arsenal and Liverpool have also needed last-minute winners to claim all three points at Turf Moor, with only Manchester City at the Etihad and Spurs at Turf Moor proving too hot to handle this season.

TIME FOR A REST

As mentioned above it's been a busy schedule for Burnley over the Christmas period, but is now the chance for a rest for some of Dyche's regulars?

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He has often rung the changes for cup competitions and although the Clarets will be roared on by 7,600 travelling fans at the Etihad on Saturday it would be no surprise to see changes made again.

The options for change are plentiful in attack, but we're also likely to see starts for Matt Lowton, Kevin Long, Ashley Westwood and perhaps even Dean Marney as Dyche looks to give some of his key men a break before Premier League action resumes at Crystal Palace.