Last Saturday at Turf Moor was a good example of the age old adage in football; if you don’t put your chances away, one mistake can cost you the game.
The Clarets had twenty shots at goal against the Baggies, without a single one on target and that represents a very poor effort for Sean Dyche’s not so sharp shooters.
Ultimately, all the good work on the opening day of the season at Chelsea was undone by a defeat to a team who have recently become a constant thorn in the Clarets’ side.
A surprisingly subdued Turf Moor witnessed time wasting on a grand scale by a professional Pulis team, which strangled the life blood, passion and emotion from the home supporters.
However it must be said, three points from the first two league games is not a bad return for the Clarets at this very early stage in the proceedings.
The Clarets 2017/8 Premier League journey moves on this Sunday to 16.00hrs at Wembley Stadium, with a visit to last year’s runners up Tottenham Hotspur.
Glory, Glory Tottenham Hotspur is their fans proud battle cry; a club steeped in tradition, with great names from the past such as Jimmy Greaves, Glenn Hoddle and Jurgen Klinsman.
With White Hart Lane no longer the home of Spurs, the club are using Wembley this season while their new home is being built.
Such is progress in football; but let all Burnley supporters hope Turf Moor remains their physical and spiritual home during the rest of their lifetimes and cherish all of those Claret and Blue memories!
Spurs’ gaffer Mauricio Pochettino is facing questions about the venue’s impact on his teams prospects this season. He is resisting suggestions that Wembley is being seen as an unlucky ground for Tottenham, with only one win there in their last ten games.
Spurs memory of their first home game of the season at Wembley was not a good one. They fell prey to arch rivals Chelsea, the team Burnley despatched at Stamford Bridge in the first game of the new season.
It remains however a strong Spurs team and they will be expected to be calling all of the shots. Burnley must stop Erikson, Alli and Kane getting on the ball if they are realistically going to have any chance of getting something out of one of any team’s most difficult away games of the season.
It’s that simple, but simple can be difficult, as I often find when trying to boil an egg.
Similarly to Jay Rodriguez last week, the Clarets come face to face against another old Turf Moor favourite in right back Keiron Trippier. Trippier has done well at Spurs, establishing himself as a first choice selection and also earning his full England International debut.
At the time of writing, Burnley have an away game to play in the EFL Cup against local League One rivals Blackburn Rovers. The EPL will always take precedence for a Premier League team though!
So what have the first two league games suggested about the quality of the Burnley squad so far?
Three things come to mind for me. Steven Defour can play the full ninety minutes and links very well in midfield with new signing from Swansea Jack Cork. James Tarkowski as expected will take time to settle, as he learns what playing in the Premier League is all about.
Robbie Brady despite a sluggish start at Turf Moor is going to be a key attacking influence and is now beginning to show signs he is getting closer to real first choice consistency .
The recent criticism heaped on Tarkowski has so far I believe been unfair and Dyche’s faith in the player will be important in his development. There is no need for Tarkowski to jump through hoops to try and impress people. At the moment, it seems too easy for some to jump on the bandwagon and write off his budding Premier League career.
The team itself is adding style to grit and will undoubtedly give opponents a run for their money again this season. The team is still taking shape and it is likely there will be some inconsistent performances before the players really gets into their stride.
That in itself could lead to a lot of excitement and I would not be surprised to see one or two new players like new signing Charlie Taylor breaking into the side as the season develops.
Dyche’s strike force has received a big boost this week with the club’s record signing of Chris Wood from Leeds, for a reported £15 million plus add-ons. No one can doubt the New Zealander’s scoring record in the Championship last season.
The big question everyone is asking, can he do it in the Premier League? Let’s hope he forms a better partnership with Sam Vokes, the Clarets’ leading EPL scorer than he did with Andre Gray at this level. Chris Wood is a confident player and he has promised Burnley fans that they will see the best of him.
Sadly, one player who may miss out on the Wembley experience is Austrian international Ashley Barnes. Burnley are rumoured this week to be willing to sell the ex-Brighton striker. It was Barnes who put Burnley in front against Spurs at White Hart Lane last season and only a very poor refereeing decision prevented Spurs from being reduced to 10 men.
Burnley eventually lost the game 2-1 but a repeat of last season’s performance on Sunday, with a much improved Clarets’ squad, may well reap dividends for Sean Dyche’s band of merry men.
The player to watch this week for me is the Clarets’ Irish whiz kid Robbie Brady. Brady can be a real match winner on his day and has so far been unlucky with one brilliant free kick which hit the post to deny the Clarets a 4-2 lead. Brady’s consistent high quality delivery from set pieces has provided a lot of other chances.
The season is not in full stride yet and Burnley will undoubtedly be pulling out all the stops on Sunday at Wembley Stadium. Burnley fans will be praying for a SKY inspired curse on Spurs and hope the Clarets can take advantage and pull off another major surprise. Similar to the jaw dropper at Stamford Bridge.
Unbelievable Jeff! Come on you Clarets!
This Burnley centric match preview was written by Clarets Mad feature writer Michael Donnelly, alias “The Donz” (TEC).