Having seen Eddie Howe depart and Sean Dyche arrive as manager, Burnley have seen a few changes this season. Jamie Smith from No Nay Never tells us what to expect from the home side…
What’s the verdict on this season so far?
It was always going to be tough after Eddie Howe walked out and Sean Dyche’s main job was to stop us conceding so many goals. Unfortunately, that has come at the expense of our attacking play, resulting in a distinct lack of entertainment in recent weeks. There was a hint of a play-off challenge at the turn of the year, but that fizzled out quickly and we’ve been in rotten form recently.
What’s the opinion on Sean Dyche so far?
Mixed. Nobody expected Howe’s replacement to come in with a magic wand and fix all the team’s issues right away, but Dyche has struggled to find the balance between attack and defence. Simply put: we are no longer playing to our strengths. Charlie Austin – the best striker in the league for my money – looks frustrated asked to play alone up front. Most accept Dyche needs time to build his own side, but there is impatience already. Being awful for four home games in a row at season ticket renewal time isn’t clever either.
Have there been many changes since he arrived?
We look a completely different team compared to Howe’s side, though the only change to the squad has been the addition of Alex Kacaniklic on loan from Fulham. We’re usually one up front now, long balls from the back, zero creativity in the side. Dyche doesn’t seem to fancy Junior Stanislas much, though he was probably our main attacking threat earlier in the season. Austin is our only goal threat and we’re not creating anything for him. The main change has probably been that our home form has got even worse. Oh, and Dyche banned hats from the training ground. Dunno why.
What can we expect tactically?
Not a lot. We’ll pass the ball happily around the back under no pressure but nobody in midfield takes responsibility for the ball, so we hoof it far too often. Plan B is to chuck Sam Vokes on and hit the ball even longer. It’s not exactly subtle and a handful of managers have taken points off us by making positive substitutions while Dyche waits.
Who are the key players to watch out for?
Austin, though he’s looked a shadow of the striker in the first half of the season. He’s not great outside the box but comes to life when he gets the right service. Watch out for Kieran Trippier’s searching crosses from deep looking for Austin in the air – his heading is excellent. His movement is good too and he’ll find pockets of space in the box. Apart from Austin, there really isn’t a lot to write home about in our side and that’s why we’re firmly mid-table.
What’s going to happen on Monday?
We’re going to play more negative hoofball and make Forest look like Real Madrid. Bad teams have looked good against us at Turf Moor recently, so goodness knows what a side in decent form is going to do to us. It could get pretty ugly. Can’t see anything better than a dull 0-0 for Burnley and we’ll be lucky to get that.
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Image: By Adam Haworth (Jimmy Mac Stand Uploaded by Kafuffle) (CC-BY-2.0), via Wikimedia Commons