This Burnley Side Isn’t Going To Scare Anyone - Notes for Burnley
Tuesday, 18th Aug 2015 05:00 by HarryFromBath
HarryfromBath assesses the mood in the opposition camp ahead of Tuesday night’s game at Portman Road by delving into their forums.
“We look like we’re still suffering a hangover from last season and that happens to the majority of relegated teams. There clearly is still the character there and we are unbeaten so there is plenty to build on”, “With injuries and a lack of replacements, we are in a little bit of disarray.”
“Early days but we will have to improve to revisit the Promised Land.” Two draws, at Leeds nine days ago and at home to Birmingham on Saturday, have seen the Clarets make an unbeaten return to the Championship after last season’s relegation but many fans see the team as a work in progress.
“This division is in our hands but we need another two or three players to grasp it”, “Most Burnley fans are realistic and are aware of the difficulties getting relegated can cause”, “We will need time to adapt and it appears we are close to putting the last few bits of the jigsaw together.”
“We are not going to attract high-calibre players if we start the season on a losing streak.” Some fans are frustrated with a perceived lack of transfer planning but the majority are positive. “Very few teams get promoted back in the first season. Let’s give the boys time to get back into a rhythm.”
Missing Jigsaw Pieces
“If we have any ambition of even making the play-offs this season we need to add pace and creativity because the side is bereft of these at the moment. If we do that I see us having a very good season”, “A bit of time to settle and some decent reinforcements and we will be fine this season.”
Burnley have not fully regrouped since losing important players over the summer break. The departures of striker Danny Ings (to Liverpool), right-back Kieran Trippier (to Spurs) and centre-back Jason Shackell (to Derby) have seen key partnerships broken up in most areas of the pitch.
“We need to replace Marney. We need someone who can break up play and spread the ball to advancing full-backs.” Clarets widely agree however that their biggest loss has been central midfielder Dean Marney, the 31-year-old having been absent since February with a knee injury.
“The midfield is the root cause of our problems. You need someone to link the back of the team to the front. Without Marney coming deep to collect the ball and moving it forward and wide, you won’t create the volume of chances needed to score”, “Marney, what a miss he is.”
The Lansbury Saga
“Get Henri Lansbury in, put him in the middle and get Scott Arfield back out wide.” Clarets have been patient with their club over their handling of the 24-year-old’s on-off move from Nottingham Forest. Their frustration with Forest is only matched by a desperation for the move to take place.
“This should have been done and dusted ages ago. I find it quite puzzling pursuing this lone target when we have been rebuffed on past occasions”, “Wasting more time while another club messes us around would be utterly insane, especially a club as seemingly dysfunctional as Forest.”
“Something stinks because if he was asked to leave and he said he wants away it would have been done by now”, “Under usual circumstances yes, but trading conditions at Forest, as well as their chairman’s modus operandi are a little weird at the minute. Be patient.”
“While losing Ings, Trippier and most of all Shackell were huge blows, losing Dyche would have left us with no hope whatsoever”, “An absolute class manager and a class person”, “I would give him a little bit longer, like 10 years”, “Dyche masterminded a success on a shoestring budget.”
“Dyche’s transfer delays shouldn’t cause concern.” The Burnley manager enjoys a huge amount of goodwill among Clarets and they trust his judgement with the current squad rebuild. “I hope we give him the proper opportunity to bed in new players and build another promotion-winning team.”
“Dyche fixed this club just as it was about to break”, “The goodwill should last for a very long time. He got us promoted with no assets. He more or less had us holding our own in the top flight with no money and we mostly believe he isn’t to blame with our limited squad and spending plans.”
Formation and Playing Style
“At the moment we are a team born out of the Protestant work ethic. We need a little of that Latin flair”, “We have two tactics, the long ball or wait for our right-back to cross”, “Mid-table is beckoning without an injection of something”, “Once midfield gets sorted, we’ll see a swift improvement.”
The starting XI (above) for their two league encounters has played a similar brand of football to that which saw them promoted two seasons ago. Wingers play on their wrong side often to cut in and connect with midfielders and strikers, with full-backs overlapping or linking up with them out wide.
The linking midfielder plays an important role in this system and Scott Arfield has struggled since moving inside from normal left midfield role. The wingers have struggled to connect with midfield and striker Jelle Vossen has had little useful service. The lack of tempo and creativity is a concern.
“We need more creativity and pace before the window shuts”, “Creativity is the main issue. We don’t seem to be making chances, exactly the problem we had for most of last season. You can have the best strikers in the world but they won’t score if you don’t have players who create for them.”
“The long ball is not going to get us far without some pace in attack”, “The last two games looked like that horrible run in the early spring of Sean Dyche’s first season in charge. We had no pace in that side, were bypassing midfield and expecting our target man to be our playmaker.”
Burnley 2 - 2 Birmingham City
“I came away from Turf Moor thinking we let a very ordinary team off the hook. We huffed and we puffed but couldn’t beat the Brum”, “We were leaden in attack, unimpressive in midfield and poor in defence”, “It was absolutely dire stuff, no midfield, no creativity and toothless up front.”
“We are still unbeaten in the league despite playing poorly.” Burnley came from behind twice at Turf Moor on Saturday with second-half set-piece goals from Michael Keane and substitute Matthew Taylor. Clarets bemoaned the team’s lack of intensity and vision especially before the break.
“It is horrible to watch us play so poor”, “When you play long ball football, what do you expect?”, “Birmingham look like a football team but we look like Sunday League, hoofing the ball with no invention and pace”, “We struggled to create anything meaningful in midfield.”
Port Vale 1 - 0 Burnley
“Port Vale, to put it simply, wanted it more than us. They harried, chased and closed us down. There were times when we knocked it about nicely but Vale did a really good cup tie job on us and kept us out”, “Port Vale was a veritable banana skin if ever there was one.”
“Well done to them and good luck in the next round. They were better than us”, “It was a night where our lack of pace was exposed. We looked like we didn’t have an attacking threat.” Fans widely acknowledged that the Valiants were worthy winners against a disjointed side which lacked rhythm.
The Clarets’ starting XI for the Capital One Cup highlighted their lack of depth. With two wide men struggling in the heart of midfield, the hosts dictated the pattern of the game. “The midfield was totally dominated and our passing was appalling”, “We did not look like scoring all night.”
“It was exactly the performance you would expect from playing an entire game without a recognised central midfielder - no control, no options for players on the ball, soft-centred, no support for defenders or service to strikers”, “One bright note was that we didn’t have to endure extra-time.”
Leeds United 1 - 1 Burnley
“A bit of a scrappy match but a good point away from home”, “It was a solid performance and result. I liked the way we looked fit and organised. We demonstrated our resilience again which bodes well”, “A good result in a tricky opening day fixture. The performances will improve.”
Mirco Antenucci opened the scoring for the hosts with a left-footed strike on the 83rd minute only for substitute Sam Vokes to reply for the Clarets three minutes later. “A performance that shows we will be top half of the table at least. We had other gears to find whereas Leeds did not.”
“The lack of pace was evident all over the pitch. We had very little in terms of real creativity”, “It was a bonus point. If Leeds had scored two or three it would not have been a shock. Their young lads ran midfield and looked to be positive time and again. We were slow and had no creative ideas.”
“It was the right result in the end as neither team deserved the win”, “It wasn’t convincing and there are tricky questions over the team’s balance”, “The resilience was still there”, “It is good to know that the tenacity and ability to tough it out remains intact. It was the hallmark of our promotion.”
“The back four lack the assurance we have been used to seeing over the last couple of seasons”, “At the back there are too many potential weak links and I can see us shipping goals in every game. We need to replace Shackell like-for-like and shift Keane across central defence.”
“Tom Heaton always looks like he doesn’t have a lot to do, partly because he makes everything look easy. You could hear him as ever against Birmingham.” The 29-year-old former Bristol City keeper “makes excellent reflex saves and has had no chance with any of the goals we have conceded.”
Right-back Tendayi Darikwa has started both league games. The 23-year-old summer arrival from Chesterfield “is a player you class as a very promising prospect”, “He’s raw, fast, innovative and attack-minded”, “Naïve at times but an exciting talent”, “Our best outlet against Birmingham.”
“Darikwa is a threat going forward in a team devoid of creativity”, “He’s a dynamic presence on our right. He has a weakness on the back post which has been evident once or twice”, “Takes ownership and works his socks off”, “Great going forward but naïve for the penalty against Clayton Donaldson.”
Clarets are less happy with left-back Ben Mee. “He struggled with Sam Byram for the Leeds goal”, “Byram had him on toast and he let the scorer go”, “Very poor but very committed”, “What he lacks in pace he make up for in effort, typified by the clashes of heads he seems to get in every games.”
“Mee usually makes up for his lack of an attacking threat with being very solid, but has been hapless on occasion.” The 25-year-old ex-Manchester City man “lacks the pace to be a modern full-back”, “He gets done time and again in the air and on the deck. I like him but we have better on the bench.”
Former Wolves left-back Stephen Ward is seen as the alternative to Mee. The 29-year-old started at Port Vale. “He offered very little and looked slow”, “He stopped a few crosses but offered very little going forward”, “He wasn’t tested defensively but looked to be forging a relationship with Kightly.”
“Michael Duff was a little off his best against Birmingham.” The 37-year-old centre-back and club veteran “does the ugly things well and puts everything on the line”, but “was bullied by Clayton Donaldson and his distribution was as poor as ever”, “Looked off the pace and not up to his usual standard.”
“Duff was committed generally against Leeds but his distribution was poor and he was not quick enough. In other words, it was a typical Duff performance. His inclusion was warranted against a big Leeds side alongside two young defenders. I’m a huge Duff fan, but there is no room for sentiment.”
“Keane is so composed on the ball at the back and he will grow into a great player for us. He and Shackell would have grown into a great partnership for us at this level so we need someone to partner him soon”, “He scored a great goal against Birmingham but was weak for their opener.”
Michael Keane (top right)
“Another very assured display from this young man - he oozes class.” Clarets consistently praise the composure of the 22-year-old ex-Manchester United centre-back. “He was a real set-piece threat in the Birmingham box but less imposing defending our own, not dominant against Donaldson.”
“Keane is not as alert to the danger as Duff is”, “He gets caught out of position but his athleticism gets him out of trouble. I prefer him as a right-sided centre-back”, “He is still learning that role so switching him to left centre-back is too much for him”, “He looks a prospect but just needs games.”
“The inability to bring in a central midfielder is a major concern”, “We desperately miss a willing midfield runner”, “If we had signed another central midfielder this summer people wouldn’t be so anxious. We needed at least one before Dean Marney got injured and have known this for an age.”
“Central midfield?”, “A square peg in a round hole”, the 26-year-old ex-Terrier “never went forward and didn’t show for the ball against Birmingham”, “Arfield didn’t move the ball quickly or precisely enough, again”, “Failed to find any space further up field and didn’t break up play or create.”
“He doesn’t pass, tackle of drive forward. Lansbury or whoever cannot come in quickly enough.” Arfield has been criticised for his inability to play strikers and wide players through with enough quality as well as his reluctance to attack space. “Vossen is forced to come back looking for the ball.”
“Scotty has drive, power and covering ability but without the passing ability or forward impetus of Marney. He gives the ball away too often”, “He lacks guile and passes poorly”, “He tried to work the midfield at Port Vale but didn’t seem to move forward, just sideways”, “He was no threat at all.”
“David Jones is being asked to do too much”, “A lot of his play goes unnoticed. He played one great reverse pass under pressure at Leeds when others would have hoofed it out for a throw”, “He controlled the play well with a couple of tidy interceptions”, “Calm and keeps us ticking over.”
The 30-year-old ex-Wigan man “is tidy in possession and rarely gives the ball away. He is one of the best midfielders at this level but doesn’t offer much going forward. He needs someone who does next to him”, “He keeps the ball well but always passes sideways and has no attacking threat at all.”
“Jones’s lack of a right foot slows the game down”, “If the word ponderous had not been invented…”, “He slows our play down and is weak in the air but retains possession well”, “He’s steady and unfussy in a way we have come to love last time we were in this division but he needs a partner.”
“We have stopped playing hide-and-seek now, George. You can come out now.” George Boyd is “a million miles from the player we saw for the best part of last season”, “Is he back from his holidays yet?”, “Boyd is hiding at the minute and he should be taking more responsibility”, “He just looks flat.”
“When did that pacey skilful Peterborough winger who went at players and shot from everywhere get replaced by a wannabe ultra-runner?” The 29-year-old ex-Hull man and one-time Town target has been criticised for “going missing at times”, “Boyd keeps drifting inside, running into brick walls. He should stay wider.”
“That extra quality is what has been missing.” Former Hammer Matthew Taylor replaced Michael Kightly on Saturday and scored Burnley’s second equaliser with an 81st minute freekick. The 33-year-old “did more positive things in 10 minutes than most of the team did in 90”.
“We need to use Taylor’s set-piece threat as there is little creativity elsewhere.” There have been calls for his inclusion in Tuesday’s starting XI, but he struggled against Port Vale. “I hate to slate a player but that was brutal. Taylor had no tempo and was awful. He couldn’t pass or tackle.”
“Have you ever had a dog that loved to chase a stick but who regularly ran past it and kind of forgot why he was running in the first place?”, “Kightly started well against Leeds but then turned into the normal headless chicken”, “He shows for the ball and has good moments but is often indecisive.”
The 29-year-old former Stoke man “showed some promise but there was more of the running up blind alleys”, “He kept running into trouble against Birmingham and falling over”, “They know that if they doubled up on him he would go backwards and do nothing”, “I wouldn’t start him at Ipswich.”
“Kightly tries hard and was the only one trying to take the opposition on”, “Boyd is defensively solid but Kightly is poor and does not break his neck to get back into position when we lose the ball”, “Summed it up by beating three Brum men and putting in a dire cross.”
“Even though there is plenty of choice up front, there does not seem to be a natural partnership there that I can see working”, “We look clueless up front. We hold the ball, but going backwards”, “Goals from open play will be rare events unless our personnel drastically improve or change.”
“Marvin Sordell has all the right attributes but no heart or desire to use them.” The 24-year-old former Bolton man “is useless and we should look to move him out”, “It frustrates me that he does not take advantage of the one asset he does have, pace”, “Dead end Marvin”, “A great third touch.”
“Marvin is tidy and keeps the ball well.” While most Clarets are critical of the former Hornet, he does have his backers. “His pace allowed us to stretch Leeds defenders and there was better balance to the side when he and Vokes came on”, “The lad is trying but it is never going to work.”
“I’m surprised there has been no reported pursuit of Sam Vokes this summer.” The 25-year-old ex-Wolves striker “has pace and composure and can score”, “When he came on, his presence upset and pressurised the Leeds centre-backs. He scored an unstoppable header from a wicked cross.”
“Vokes scored over 20 times last time round in this league.” Some Clarets would like to see him start ahead of Lukas Jutkiewicz and point to his track record but others disagree. “Vokes will struggle just as ‘Juke’ has. They are both big men who need someone with a bit of pace up there with them.”
One potential new face worth flagging up is striker Rouwen Hennings. The 27-year-old signed last week from Karlsruher in the German second division. “His movement and anticipation are what we require”, “He presses, nicks the ball and poaches”, “Has scored come crackers with his left foot.”
“I’m not sure that Vossen fits in with Dyche’s style of play as he plays better with a more mobile partner. Hopefully Hennings is that man.”
Leeds' Giuseppe Bellusci and Jelle Vossen
The Belgium international who played for Middlesbrough last season on loan from Genk “is struggling to get into the game but his service has been appalling”.
“Vossen is an enigma. He showed some good touches and looks to have the creativity and guile that is sorely missing. The problem is that his teammates often seem to be not on the same wavelength”, “His speed of thought and deft touch has impressed”, “His vision is good but has no goal threat.”
“On Wikipedia his nickname is ‘The Magician’. He certainly pulled off a disappearing act at Port Vale”, “He went missing because we didn’t give the ball to him”, “He’s meant to be razor sharp in the box so needs to be there, not 25 yards from goal, isolated and waiting for a non-existent midfield run.”
“People here have decided that Jutkiewicz is useless and ignore the good in his performances, while his defenders turn the smallest bit of good play into something very positive.” The 26-year-old ex-Boro man divides opinion. His industry is praised while his ball control and technique are dismissed.
“I am desperate to see him score because he is working his socks off”, “’Juke’ works tirelessly and is mostly isolated. He needs better service and support”, “Goals will come with more game time and a quick partner”, “He is constantly fouled but battles hard and pulls defenders all over the place.”
“’Juke’ has a great ability to find the opposition goalie with shots”, “His touch is clumsy and he is laboured in possession too often”, “His delivery is not up to par”, “He has no pace and he never looks like he’s going to score”, “If you are not scoring goals as a striker, you shouldn’t be playing.”
Clarets’ Thoughts on ITFC and the Game
Apart from travel arrangements and ticket queries, there has been no discussion yet about us or the game on Clarets forums. I will update the forum on Tuesday afternoon with any interesting or insightful opinions once they have fixed their gaze properly on the game.
The busiest Burnley message board is the polite and knowledgeable Clarets Mad.
Photo: Action Images
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