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Ipswich Should be a Real Crackerjack of a Game - Notes for Burnley
Thursday, 31st Dec 2015 11:01 by HarryFromBath

HarryfromBath assesses the mood in the opposition camp ahead of Saturday’s game at Turf Moor by delving into their forums.

“If we are in a false position this season, it’s that we are higher than we should be”, “The truth is that we have looked average all season”, “The wheels haven’t quite some off but the signs are that they are working loose”, “We have hit a speedbump somewhere along the way and struggled since.”

Burnley recorded handsome 4-0 home wins over Charlton and Bristol City either side of Christmas but Clarets are taking these results with a pinch of salt. These are the only wins the team has picked up in a nine-game run with the 3-0 reverse at Hull on Boxing Day more of a reflection of recent performances.

“The football we have been served up has been pretty dreadful all season, and in recent weeks in particular it has been turgid”, “Being hard to beat but hard to watch is one thing, but being hard to watch while leaving dropped points all over the place is another and unlikely to lead to promotion.”

“We’re a disjointed, largely characterless side devoid of creativity and flair, with little to offer other than work-rate and effort”, “Good teams don’t have to worry about us ripping them apart with pace and skill. They have to keep organised and match our effort. We won’t have enough to hurt them.”

“Will Sean Dyche get us performing this season? Who knows, the signs aren’t looking good at the moment”, “It’s broken and something needs changing. I just hope that he isn’t too stubborn and set in his ways to address the problem”, “Let’s hope early January sees more than one epiphany.”

Sean Dyche

“I’m not in the ‘Dyche out’ brigade, but I’m starting to get a little concerned, We are very one-dimensional and have absolutely no pace in the squad apart from Andre Gray”, “I’m a big fan of Dyche but his team selections, reactive substitutions and negative tactics are testing my resolve.”

“I think his management style has been found out. His inflexibility and stubbornness hobbles us.” Many fans’ exasperation with their manager stems from a belief that their team should be playing with more swagger in a weaker division.

“It’s not disloyal to say we are not playing free-flowing football”, “It has been awful to watch for some time now. I can accept why we played that way last season in the Premier League but we have needed to see a bit more fluency and attacking intent to go alongside the pragmatism this season.”

“Be careful what you wish for”, “Dyche still has the club’s backing and Burnley do not react in a knee-jerk way when it comes to changing managers. What he has done in the past coupled with our being in the top six coming up to a transfer window gives him the chance to turn things around.”

Some Clarets are urging fellow supporters to get a grip. “Anyone saying ‘Dyche out’ needs to give their head a wobble. He’s not perfect but he’s one of the best and the perfect fit for us. Yes, we have been poor but for God’s sake I can’t believe people are asking for a change of manager. Bonkers.”

Formation

“Things need to change. Our style is one-dimensional and easy to read. Even the lesser teams get the lion’s share of possession against us. We should be playing the ball on the ground with the players we have and not going long”, “We invite pressure and invariably it ends up with a lump up the field.”

“I bet opponents can’t even be bothered to scout us. Everyone must know what to expect”, “We’re so obvious to play against. It is starting to feel as if teams know that if they keep things quiet early on we will quickly run out of ideas. They tweak things in the second half to pick off our weaknesses.”

Burnley under Sean Dyche still play the 4-4-2 formation which delivered them promotion two seasons ago. Many feel that their problems are more to do with personnel than their formation, with defender Michael Duff and winger George Boyd having been regularly singled out for criticism.

Heaton (c)LowtonKeaneMeeDuffBoydMarneyBartonArfieldGrayVokes

The starting XI (above) performed well against a poor Charlton side before Christmas. Matthew Lowton offered more of a threat at right-back than Tendayi Darikwa and Dean Marney was more adventurous in the centre alongside Joey Barton than the more defensive and cautious David Jones.

This same team came unstuck at Hull on Boxing Day. Duff was exposed for two of the Tigers’ goals, Boyd was heavily criticised for an ineffective game on the wing and the two-man midfield “were overrun”, “No width, creativity and pace and a manager out-thought by Steve Bruce.”

Heaton (c)LowtonKeaneMeeWardKightlyJonesBartonArfieldGrayVokes

“Sean, if you ever needed to go again with the same starting XI, it is now”, “Same team Saturday, Sean.” Many Clarets this coming Saturday will be annoyed if the manager does not retain the same starting line-up (above) which began Monday’s game against Bristol City.

Duff was dropped from the back four with Ben Mee switching into the centre and Stephen Ward replacing him at left-back. Michael Kightly offered more as a natural winger than Boyd on the right while Jones and Barton anchored the midfield, linking play and giving it more balance.

A Lack of Intensity

“The possession and pressing have gone”, “I really thought we would rip into teams. We have to start now”, “We have lost two main attributes this season, our intensity and our pressing”, “We aren’t pressing as high up the pitch or as effectively as we did last time in this division.”

“I thought we were the fittest team in the division. We should be pressing the opposition high up the pitch and passing the ball along the ground which is best for Andre Gray. Instead we don’t press as much as we should and the ball spends most of its time in the bloody air.”

Burnley 4 – 0 Bristol City

“Back to back 4-0 home wins are very encouraging. Well done all”, “Bristol are very poor and in the relegation battle. I don’t think you can read too much into today’s result”, “You can only beat what’s in front of you”, “Another very professional performance against substandard opposition.”

An Andre Gray hat-trick and a Scott Arfield finish saw the Clarets stroll to a comfortable win on Monday. “Can we have the same team for Ipswich please, although it will be a far more difficult game?”, “Saturday’s match against Ipswich will be a much tougher test.”

“Well, at last we witnessed a quality game of football by the Clarets. The changes in personnel and position gave us more tempo and we played better football”, “The changes we made worked well. We looked more expansive and threatening”, “There was a much better balance about the team.”

Hull 3 - 0 Burnley

“Dear God, that was grim, battling through rain and floods to watch a Burnley team that looked like it would not score in a month of Sundays”, “Disappointed is not a strong enough word, disgusted may be closer to the truth”, “It was a below par first half followed by a horror show.”

“This has ruined my Christmas.” Hull took control of the game when former Town loanee Jake Livermore opened the scoring on 57 minutes. Abel Hernandez curled home a second for the hosts nine minutes later and Sam Clucas sealed a comfortable Boxing Day victory with a third Tigers’ goal in the last minute.

“We got battered by a physically stronger team who went for broke in the second half. Lowton got tortured, Duff had a nightmare, Barton and Marney were overrun and the Boyd and Arfield were anonymous”, “We were out-thought, out-fought and outmuscled today, very concerning.”


“I watched the game with two neutrals. I told them beforehand that Dyche would set up for a 0-0 draw, we would concede and he would do nothing until they scored a second. Then he would make a double substitution and we would then start to play. It went exactly to script.”

Fans were angered by the team taking the same defensive approach used in the 1-0 defeat 11 days earlier at Middlesbrough. “It’s no good playing for a nil-all in every away game and then acting surprised when you create nothing”, “If you missed the game be grateful. It was a horror show.”

Burnley 4 – 0 Charlton

“Phew, that was a real relief, not a particularly good first half but much better in the second. That will hopefully boost confidence and take us on another good run”, “Charlton every week, please”, “Let’s not get carried away by beating a very poor side who will go down if they don’t play better.”

After failing to find the net in their three previous games, Arfield broke the Clarets’ duck converting a Lowton cross just before the break and added a second on 53 minutes. Gray added a third two minutes later after a slick move and strike partner Sam Vokes added a fourth on 78 minutes.

“We didn’t need a cutting edge. There was nothing to slice through”, “Charlton were the worst side to visit Burnley in recent memory. They lacked interest, didn’t track back, had no shape, didn’t press and weren’t especially mobile”, “If you were an away fan who made the trip, you would be furious.”

Goalkeepers and Defenders

“We need a dominant centre-half”, “We can’t keep making mistakes at the back.” Several Clarets have highlighted how much they have missed the defensive experience and leadership of Jason Shackell, who joined promotion rivals Derby very late in the summer transfer window.

Tom Heaton

“Tom Heaton cannot be faulted for the Hull defeat. There was some shocking defending in front of him at times.” The 28-year-old ex-Bristol City man “makes goalkeeping look so easy”, “One brilliant stop against Charlton kept us in front. He’s a class act”, “He leads his back four well.”

“Heaton bosses our defence”, “Does he ever shut up?”, “His handling is very good although one dropped catch against Bristol could have cost us on another day”, “Sometimes he is guilty of looking long for Gray too quickly”, “A calm and assured presence, making good saves when called upon.”

“We look far better with Matthew Lowton in the side.” The 26-year-old ex-Villa right-back “is decent going forward but not always assured at the back. His decision-making in his own half could be better at times”, “His composure and quality in possession is excellent”, “Continues to impress.”

“Lowton looks much more assured than Tendayi Darikwa and picks out his final pass time and time again rather than hitting and hoping”, “He links up well going forward and plays a huge part in our attacking play”, “He looks very assured and has a Premier League footballing brain to match.”

Stephen Ward made his first league appearance in the starting XI this season against the Robins. The 30-year-old ex-Wolves left-back “had a great game in the first half but came under pressure in the second and faded a bit. Games will improve him”, “He definitely gave us much more balance.”

“I have been advocating Ward for a while at left-back. He needs time to find fitness”, “He was great early on and gave us a new dimension going forward but faded later”, “He slotted in nicely, linking up well in attack”, “He clearly needs game time but wasn’t the messiah some were predicting.”

“Michael Duff should not be playing after January. He had to do better with Hull’s second and third goals.” The 37-year-old ex-Cheltenham centre-back and Clarets’ stalwart “is an absolute legend but have a look at replays of those two goals to see how he is starting to get caught out nowadays.”

“Duff’s age is costing us”, “Sorry to have to say it but Michael Duff is starting to look very old”, “He is left for dead and then Mohamed Diame bends his shot around him, 2-0 to Hull”, “We definitely need a replacement in January. I don’t think he will make it through the rest of the season.”

“Ben Mee looks much more assured at centre-back.” The 26-year-old ex-Manchester City youngster “always plays better in this position, I just wish he would grow two inches as he struggles there against big strikers”, “He was a colossus and supported Ward when he was out of position.”

“Mee is a wholehearted player and good defensively but my God is he poor with the ball most of the time”, “I like him and his defending is absolutely fine, but he has a lot of the ball and doesn’t make the best of it going forward at left-back”, “The majority of his crosses seem to hit the first man.”

Michael Keane

“It is shameful we didn’t replace Shackell and tried to cover it up by laughably suggesting that Keane was his replacement.” The 22-year-old ex-Manchester United centre-back “can be suspect from crosses and ball watching a bit but is class in his proper position playing at right centre-back now.”

Michael Keane (r)

“Keane looks better than Shackell on the ball and is as good if not better in the air and has more pace. All that said, Shackell was a better defender. His positioning and concentration are better than Keane’s and that is where years of experience and reading the game make him a better player.”

“Keane continues to be good in parts”, “His surging runs from the back, decent distribution and goal scoring threat are strengths”, “He has been outmuscled and out-jumped at headers and is raw, but he will learn and get stronger and more wily”, “A versatile, modern, ball-playing centre-back.”

Central Midfielders

“Welcome back Deano”, “We have desperately missed Dean Marney’s dynamism in midfield, the urgency to move the ball through the ranks.” The 31-year-old ex-Hull man “bursts into the right channels creating space for others”, “His attacking energy made all the difference against Charlton.”

“Marney breaks up play, always uses the ball positively and sets the tempo with his aggressive play which leads others to follow suit”, “He has a cracking engine to support our attacks, drive play and set the pattern of the game”, “He had energy and tenacity in a perfect box-to-box performance.”

“David Jones can frustrate with his sideways and backwards passing but he is still so dependable.” The 31-year-old ex-Wolves and Wigan player “is a very clever and assured midfielder and it is no coincidence that he has had so much success in promotion winning teams at this level”.

“It’s a good job Jones is in midfield with Joey Barton being careless in possession. People complain about his safe passing but give me his possession football over kicking it to the opposition every day of the week”, “Jones and Barton don’t push up but with Kightly out wide that is less important.”

Joey Barton

“It’s no coincidence that the ball lands at Barton’s feet every time it drops in midfield. He usually takes a superb touch and plays a first time pass. He knows what’s going on around him and reads the game superbly”, “His positional play, reading of the game and distribution are excellent.”

“Barton is the beacon with his positioning, availability and block tackles.” The 33-year-old ex-QPR midfielder “does a whole load of ugly defensive work which is vital”, “He has an uncanny knack of getting a toe, knee or whatever to avert danger at critical points”, “He’s a class act at this level.”

“Barton seems to take pleasure in giving the ball away just to give him something challenging to do because the match seems to be too easy for him”, “He gives possession away with some woeful passing”, “His errors are frustrating because we should be talking about the good things he does.”

Wide Midfielders

“The Hull game was like George Boyd’s Burnley career, starting brightly and fading into anonymity.”

The 30-year-old ex-Peterborough and Hull man “runs and runs but he lacks pace and is unable to anticipate where the ball might go. When he gets there the ball has gone somewhere else”.

“George Boyd has been horrible, a poor £3 million player who runs and runs but does very little”, “He is talented and I can see why he cost what he did. He has ability but is being turned into a workhorse”, “Surely the time has come for him to replace Vokes as a creative number 10 behind Gray.”

“A really positive display”. After a run of substitute appearances, 29-year-old ex-Stoke winger Michael Kightly started against the Robins. “He had a cracking game both going forward and tracking back. I wish he was more consistent as he could go AWOL against Ipswich on Saturday again.”

“So refreshing to see a player try to beat a man”, “Kightly terrorised Bristol City’s defence by running with the ball and delivering consistently well”, “He’s the nearest thing we have to a real winger”, “He did everything we have been waiting for Boyd to do. Please do not drop him against Ipswich.”

Scott Arfield

“Don’t you just love Scotty?” The 27-year-old ex-Huddersfield midfielder “had an industrious performance against Bristol City on both wings and took his goal well with his swinger”, “It was a strange game for Scott. At times he looked way off it and at times he was bob-on. It was a great finish for the killer third goal.”

Jonathan Kodjia v Scott Arfield (r)

“Get out wide, man.” Arfield has been praised for finishing and his anticipation, but has been criticised for drifting inside as well as for some of his distribution. “It was a good finish against Bristol City but I still think he is colour-blind”, “Let’s hope he passes to the correct coloured shirt today.”

Strikers

Summer signing from Karlsruher SC, Rouwen Hennings, has regularly appeared from the bench in recent games. The 28-year-old “looks lively and looks a little trimmer”, “He showed some good touches against Hull, but was introduced too late along with Kightly to make a difference.”

“He’s a bit good, you know”, “What have they done with Hennings? He looks a stone lighter and twice as fast. He has always been technically good but seemed too slow to affect the game, he will be pushing Vokes for a start”, “We have a real player here but I don’t think he will fit our system.”

Sam Vokes

“Someone said earlier that Vokes is not the player he was. Sadly I’m beginning to think he actually is the player he was, a five to 10-goal-a-season man. He has missed a hatful of chances this season which we would have buried in our promotion campaign”, “He’s lucky to be in the team.”

“An excellent pass for Arfield’s Bristol goal”, the 26-year-old ex-Wolves man is praised for his “good passing and link-up play”, “He isn’t bullying defenders and using his size. He is too nice”, “Big Sam hardly won a ball at Hull but we had to keep him on. We only had lumping it upfield as a tactic.”

“Our route one game has gone because Vokes struggles to hold it up any more”, ”It was sad to see him looking so poor at Hull”, “He is good dropping off, spinning and playing the cute ball through, if a little limited elsewhere”, “He seems to have lost a yard of pace since his knee injury.”

Andre Gray

“Super, super Andre Gray”, “It was lovely to see him finally getting a hat-trick. Aside from that his all-round play was much better today”, “He’s a natural deadly finisher with the ball at his feet. He’s not as deadly in the air nor is he adept at snuffing out chances or reacting if they flash across the box.”

Andre Gray (l) v with Mike Williamson

“I am glad we have him.” The 24-year-old ex-Brentford man is the division’s current top scorer with 15 goals. “He’s a predator, raw around the edges granted but very exciting to watch”, “He certainly isn’t a fox in the box, but he can score goals that others can’t using his pace and power.”

“Andre needs a creative player with him.” He struggled at Hull missing one excellent chance when the Clarets were one down. “Our stifling away system doesn’t suit him”, “He may as well have stayed at home as he had no support and just getting banged hapless hoofed balls.”

“He was caught lazily offside a few times against Bristol City”, “Their defenders only ventured forward after he had been substituted”, “His problem is that he plays right on the shoulder and only has a split-second to time his run”, “His pace, power and desire to shoot early will get him loads of goals.”

Clarets’ Views on ITFC and the Game

“This weekend is critical”, “It’s a tough one. They are doing well. We are still to show up against stronger sides. Home advantage will be a bonus but there are unlikely to be many away fans so the atmosphere won’t as great as it could be.”

“This is a really tough one. They are on a roll.” Although three-quarters of Clarets have predicted a narrow home win, they are taking nothing for granted. Several have flagged up that they have beaten none of their fellow teams currently in the top six this season.

“Is it true Ipswich are the league’s highest away scorers? This one will be a tough test so any winning scoreline will do for me”, “Despite our last two home results we don't have a good record against top 10 teams this season so far. They are on a good run and had a good result against Brighton too.”

“Ipswich will be full of confidence on Saturday and our fans will really need to raise the roof and be the extra man.”

“It’s a very difficult game as Ipswich have just broken a club record with five consecutive away wins after winning at Brighton and sit just one point behind us in the table so they will be far from pushovers. They will have extra travelling with less rest but a win usually counters that.”

“It's probably the kind of challenge we need right now. To beat a decent team like Ipswich with some panache will show that we really are in the business of hunting down the leaders. A draw will be neither here nor there but a defeat would reinforce the view that we're play-off material at best.”

“I think if we get at them we should do it. Brighton went close several times but we will need to play quickly and accurately cutting out the mistakes. I'm not sure how Ipswich have won these games either going toe-to-toe or as breakaway specialists. We will need to be patient if it's the latter.”

One Claret wasn’t just thinking about the football: “As long as the Red Devils aren't here for a New Year display we should be OK.”

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Photo: Action Images



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Steve_M added 11:12 - Dec 31
Are you sure you didn't get confused and read through our message board there Harry? All seems very familiar. I'll take a 0-0 with both sides cancelling each other out now.
7

IpswichT62OldBoy added 11:19 - Dec 31
Another good job done well Harry.
I think we have the beating of Burnley, I am saying 0-2, we score early and get a late break away after soaking up pressure
2

blueherts added 11:29 - Dec 31
Gonna be a real test - may be some tired legs - would love another 3 points but would def take a draw - we have been excellent on the road but this is a real challenge
Burnley have alot of quality all across the pitch - and we MUST stop Andre Gray doing what he did on the opening game
Bru , Sears and Fraser must start to give us some creativity in the side
Hyam for Douglas
Keep it going Mick and TC in what has been a great 2015 - I really think we can be in the top 6 come May - and would like a striker and creative mid (maybe a RB !) to add esp as we have no McGoldrick or Bishop ... Clough from Bolton , Moncur from Col U ? we know we will not spend big , but do think we need to add
Here is to a great 2016 to ALL TWTD posters ! - regardless of opinions ! and , of course , a successful campaign over the coming 5 months !
2

Bluebell added 11:29 - Dec 31
Thanks again Harry and a Happy New Year to you.

Well how many people thought we would be beaten by Brighton at their place? I predicted we would win.

I think the only one we need worry about at Burnley is Gray. Give him half a chance and he will score. With our away record at the moment, as long as our defence keep tight, there is no reason why we can't beat them. I predict a hard fought 0.1.

We need to get away from the rest of the pack and start the New Year as we mean to go on.

Come on you Blues!
3

LankHenners added 11:44 - Dec 31
Thanks Harry - they'll be a different team to the one who we comfortably beat 2-0 in August (I remember AMN being absolutely terrific that evening), and a draw here to keep the pace will be a good result. A win would be outstanding but I reckon it will be a close game - Gray will give Berra and Smith arguably their toughest test of the season, and we already know this season what impact he can have when allowed space.
2

LesTibbetsbrokenleg added 11:58 - Dec 31
Thanks very much for your insightful posts over the year Harry, and all the best to you in 2016.
As mentioned by Steve M, some of the their comments almost match the views of quite a lot of posts about MM on this website: stubborn, one dimensional etc.
It looks like being a tough match, but if we can nullify the threats of Gray and Barton, then we should come home with at least a point. Let's hope so!
by the way, didn't Paul Jewell try to sign Boyd from Peterborough? He doesn't exactly sound like flavour of the month with some of the Burnley fans.
2

Swailsey added 12:15 - Dec 31
Fantastic as always - thanks Harry!
2

BtreeBlueBlood added 12:29 - Dec 31
Hoping for a 2 nil to us - but we haven't had the luck up there recently

In the home game AMN was on fire that night - and he gave me his shirt as he came off.

1 without the sky bet logo as he was only 17 at that point.

still got to get him to sign it before he heads home to Arsenal.
2

ericclacton added 13:04 - Dec 31
Well done Harry good stuff. Another massive game Burnley at their place, I'd take a draw now,
Barton always a thorn in our side, plus the likes of Kightly Arfield and Gray, still you never know we might surprise them. Happy New Year my friend.
2

BlueBoots added 13:27 - Dec 31
Hull took them apart by getting players with pace running at the Burnley back 4 - I'm sure MicMac will be aware of that, so hopefully Sears and Fraser can get on the ball and do the same...

Happy New Year to my fellow TWTD-ers!
4

BLUEBEAT added 13:39 - Dec 31
gonna stand on a podium and balance a load of toys and cabbages.
0

StowTractorBoy added 13:44 - Dec 31
Have been to Turf Moor several times and have never seen us win there (missed the game when the parachutist hit the roof) so I would also take a point now. No doubt Kightley will be recalled who has in the past given our defence a torrid time. Barton has been a pain to us as well and Heaton for me is one of the best keepers in the league. Gray will be a handful for our back four but then Sears and Murphy will be a threat I am sure. Come on Town a great opportunity to cement our place in the top six.
2

GoldieBlue added 15:24 - Dec 31
Think I would take a point before the game just keep the momentum up. However think we have a really good chance of 3.

MM must stick with that team that beat Brighton, that is best starting 11 with current injuries and on paper is a better side than Burnley.

Only bishop over Douglas for me when fit and that is definitely a top 6 side and potentially very exciting to watch for the rest of the season.
2

RegencyBlue added 16:19 - Dec 31
They sound a bit like us - hopeful of playoffs but not playing particularly attractive football so far!

Three points Saturday would really put down a marker from our perspective so here's hoping.
2

Currie10 added 16:35 - Dec 31
Dreading this game.

Burnley have had an extra days rest, would have been cruise control at 2-0 home to freefall Bristol City.

Whereas we would have got back late vs Brighton, a second away game on the spin and from what I saw, the players gave absolutely everything for 90 minutes at the Amex.

Definite advantage Burnley, but live in hope. COYB!
1

TR11BLU added 18:23 - Dec 31
Seems fitting to end the year reading one of your excellent posts Harry, hats off to you dear fellow, always commences the match build up for me.
You get the TWTD New Year honour for me!
3

DerryfromBury added 21:03 - Dec 31
Thanks Harry. Repeat performance of Tuesday night required I fear. Still not many were predicting Tuesday's result, so be prepared for a surprise come 4:45 tomorrow. COYB
3

Cloddyseedbed added 22:36 - Dec 31
Good insight as always Harry. DerryfromBury I think you should prepare for a surprise tomorrow at 4:45. I'd like to think our away form could see us spring a surprise up in Lancashire on Saturday!
2

mparkyn added 00:29 - Jan 1
Thanks Harry -great read as normal. Happy New Year
1


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