Analysis: Burnley 0-0 Manchester United

Where was the game won and lost?

United set up with their customary Louis van Gaal 3-5-2 formation while Burnley went equally customary with Dyche opting 4-4-2 once again with an unchanged lineup.

United have real quality in their offensive stars. Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Angel di Maria would walk into most Premier League teams while Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young offer a good turn of pace out wide. Make no mistake, they will feel should be walking a game like this at Turf Moor so why has it not worked for them so far this season and why did it not work today?

Louis van Gaal described Sean Dyche’s tactics prior to the match as involving lots of “long balls.” In some respects he was right, if hypocritical. Yes Burnley were very direct at times – and at times unnecessary I felt – however United were quite blatantly doing the same. The thinking behind Burnley’s directness will involve a number of things, entailing the fear of the brutal counter attack. With the likes of di Maria, Valencia and Young, United did have players with pace in their team this week and should Burnley lose possession in the middle of the park, they may be caught short at the back and the Premier League is a cruel division and games can change in a flash. By opting for long balls, it’s impossible to be counter-attacked because 90% of the other players are behind the ball.

Alternatively, United’s thinking behind their hoofing of the ball was more worrying. It told me that they had absolutely no confidence in playing through the middle, involving the likes of di Maria, Mata, Van Persie and Rooney. There was no cohesiveness in their play and the confidence collectively was obviously at a critical level, as you could see from the opening few minutes. It is worrying for their bid to climb the table.

So with all things considered, neither team could undo the other and the lack of finesse was costly for both teams.

Chance analysis

David Jones, 3 mins – Sloppy from United initially to give the Clarets’ confidence and get the crowd behind them, Lukas Jutkiewicz was bundled down by Phil Jones just outside the box and Jones’ technique was fabulous – only to be denied by the bar. As a keeper, De Gea has no chance as he can only see the ball about ten yards from its original position and therfore cannot react to the strike. The technique is key here as Jones must get the ball up and over the wall from a close distance. A free kick from 35-40 yards requires much lesser technique.

Lukas Jutkiewicz, 5 mins – Burnley’s best chance squandered in my opinion. The usually reliable Jonny Evans epitomised the broken confidence and character in the United squad with a horrendous back pass to De Gea. De Gea himself is very hesitant out to the loose ball which is why Jutkiewicz should be taking the ball inside the keeper and striking at an empty goal. If De Gea tries to make amends for Evans he could quite easily give away a penalty and be dismissed. A prolific goalscorer makes the most of these chances, but the big man hasn’t found that knack yet, it seemed as though he did not want to be the man on the end of that ball, wanting rid of it instantly.

Robin van Persie, 20 mins –  The Dutchman was the most likely all afternoon at Turf Moor and was unfortunate here. The Burnley defence should not allow a player of his calibre to latch onto a long, raking pass from di Maria. As it is, they did, and it required excellent reflexes from the arm of Tom Heaton to keep the scores level. The control and body shape of van Persie was of a top quality forward, even the finish was clean, so credit must go to Heaton for blocking.

David Jones, 27 mins – It was that man again in the thick of the action. Jones was abysmal I felt in the Chelsea defeat but has since made me eat my cruel words by bringing back his Championship style of performances. Here, you must question again the back three of United, with no one closing down Jones quick enough, giving him a free shot at goal. He duly obliged with a fierce volley which De Gea awkwardly parried over.

Robin van Persie 59 mins – It’s poor from Trippier down his side as he again delivers an underwhelming performance, fixing his eyes far too much on di Maria, which means he loses focus of the ball. This allows Di Maria to pick pocket the full back, race down the byline and deliver a cross. It’s cleared admirably from the Burnley defence although van Persie is on to the loose ball in a flash. His volleyed contact isn’t clean but it’s accurate and Heaton is beaten. Marney thankfully is on cue to block. Nothing to analyse other than admiration that he is willing to put his body on the line.

Things to consider: Deadline Day Special

1. Don’t let this important point paper over undeniable cracks! It was an impressive performance from Sean Dyche’s men but you would be naive to think the squad is able to properly compete without recruitment. Should David Jones or Dean Marney be unavailable for whatever reason, the only other out-and-out midfielder is Steven Hewitt! Likewise, if either Michael Duff or Jason Shackell picks up a knock, the centre back replacement is the raw Kevin Long, who again doesn’t inspire massive amounts of confidence. If nothing else, versatility or depth is needed massively.

2. Palace have Wilfred Zaha, Jason Puncheon and Yannick Bolasie, West Brom have Stephane Sessegnon and Sunderland have Adam Johnson. These are all clubs who are expected to be battling right down at the bottom with players who can make things happen for their respective clubs. Burnley do not have this type of player. Scott Arfield is showing vibes of top level quality but he cannot unlock a defence and win games by himself. The rumour mill is rife and the latest link is George Boyd of Hull. Boyd is certainly of that ilk, if not quite as exciting as the links of Henri Lansbury and Craig Bryson on the past, however with the mess that the board have made of this transfer market, beggars cannot be choosers and a move for Boyd may be a decent punt in context.

3. Is Matt Taylor a wide-man anymore? For much of last season with the Hammers he played as a central midfielder, a defensive midfielder and a left back but rarely at left midfield. At 32, Taylor just hasn’t got the pace, the trickery or the energy to take on his man at full back and cause problems. In many ways, playing Taylor against a frail United defence played into their hands, with Arfield exposing all their frailties on the other side.

4. Shouldn’t 4-4-2 be used if you have two strikers on goal-scoring form (or one providing for the other)? Currently, Danny Ings isn’t firing and Lukas Jutkiewicz continues to provide solid performances without an end product. So in my eyes, why not place Ings wider and put another man in the middle such as Taylor (defensive midfield), or a new signing?

Burnley MOTM

Jason Shackell 8/10: It seems to be the trend but in my previous article, I gave him criticism, and this week, lo and behold he was largely excellent. He and Duff switched off the once to allow van Persie in behind once, however other than this, he lead by example and other than the chance I’ve mentioned, contained the frightening forwards of van Persie and Rooney.

The others

Tom Heaton 7/10: Most comfortable match of the season for the former United keeper. Super save against van Persie.

Kieran Trippier 5/10: Hasn’t carried that attacking spark up from the Championship. Still struggling a tad defensively.

Michael Duff 7/10: Assisted Shackell well in keeping the attacking ranks in red at bay.

Ben Mee 6/10: Best performance of the new season for him but still requires improvement. Awful distribution.

Scott Arfield 7/10: The one man who can make something happen. Good again, but would be awesome with pace.

David Jones 8/10: Is rebuilding his superb form of last season. Dictated play in the middle and came close to scoring.

Dean Marney 7/10: Outshone by Jones but his workmanlike partnership with Jones is again key to the team.

Matt Taylor 5/10: Not necessarily bad but very cautious in his game and the game passed him by.

Danny Ings 5/10: Tireless work ethic let down by poor decision-making and dreadful distribution.

Lukas Jutkiewicz 6/10: Good display from the big man but again showing his lack of potency in good situations.

United MOTM

Angel di Maria 7/10: £60m man didn’t give a £60m performance that’s for sure and I still feel that fee will never be repaid by the Argentine. However, he was the only player in red who looked like he could create something. Tricky, hardworking and positive thinking but definitely not a miracle man for the falling champions.

The others

De Gea 5, Blackett 6, Jones 6, Evans 5, Fletcher 6, Valencia 6, Mata 5, Young 5, van Persie 6, Rooney 5

Where next?

Forget Selhurst Park after the international break, the next place Burnley need to be going is late night shopping on Monday!

What did you make of yesterday’s game? Comment below.

Player of the Month: August 2014

The NNN-BX Player of the Month award is back!

No Nay Never is again teaming up with the Burnley Express for the monthly prize, with Jason Shackell looking to retain the season award.

Here are the candidates for the August prize…

[yop_poll id=”11″]

It has been a difficult start to the season for the Clarets, with three defeats from four matches. Burnley started out with a 3-1 home defeat to Chelsea despite Scott Arfield giving Burnley an early lead, but goals from Diego Costa, Andre Schurrle and Branislav Ivanovic turned it round before the break.

The Clarets were much better in their next game, but remained pointless after going down 1-0 to Swansea City. A first-half goal from ex-Claret Nathan Dyer settled the contest, but Burnley created enough chances to get a result in a much improved second half.

A Roses cup clash with Sheffield Wednesday offered Sean Dyche a chance to rotate his squad and after making seven changes to his team, Burnley went down to a late penalty converted by Adthe Nuhiu. Burnley won’t be too disappointed to be out of the Capital One Cup, but the performance was well below par.

The month was rounded out by Burnley’s first point of the new season as they were held 0-0 by Manchester United at Turf Moor. David Jones hit the bar and forced a smart save from David de Gea, while Tom Heaton had to be alert to keep out a Robin van Persie shot as British transfer record signing Angel di Maria made his debut for Louis van Gaal’s side. Jason Shackell, Scott Arfield and Michael Duff were all excellent for the Clarets.

Who is your August player of the month?

Preview: Clarets host free-falling giants

Jamie Smith previews tomorrow’s clash at Turf Moor.

Burnley v Manchester United

12:45 – Turf Moor – Barclays Premier League

Three defeats in three have made it a tough start to life in the Premier League for Burnley, but Manchester United have started the season little better, crashing out of the Capital One Cup with a humiliating 4-0 thrashing at the hands of MK Dons.

Sean Dyche will be confident his team can get on the board against United, with new manager Louis van Gaal seemingly struggling to fit his players into his preferred 3-5-2 formation. United have looked unsure of how to play in that shape and with a lack of quality central defenders and central midfielders, it is questionable whether it is the right formation for the side.

Dyche made seven changes for the 1-0 cup defeat against Sheffield Wednesday in midweek, but none of the players who got their chance to shine performed particularly well and Dyche will probably revert to his usual team in the league. Stephen Ward may come in for the struggling Ben Mee at left-back.

There are fitness doubts over both Dean Marney and David Jones and should one or both of them miss out on the match, Dyche will have to shuffle his pack due to not having any specialist central midfielders in reserve. Scott Arfield or Matt Taylor – who ended up forming a makeshift unit on Tuesday night – could be asked to fill in, creating a space on the wing for either Ross Wallace or Michael Kightly.

Up front, the new partnership of Lukas Jutkiewicz and Danny Ings has shown some positive signs, but yielded no goals so far. Ings and Jutkiewicz both came close to opening their accounts at the Liberty Stadium last Saturday, with Ings shooting narrowly wide early on and the Juke placing a header just over the bar in the second half.

United have looked vulnerable when pressed high up the pitch so it will be vital Jutkiewicz and Ings both perform this duty, while Marney and Jones (or their replacements) will have to track the dangerous runs from deep from Juan Mata, who scored at Sunderland on Sunday.

There will also be a galactico on show as United look set to hand a debut to British transfer record breaker Angel di Maria, who arrived from Real Madrid in a £59.7m deal this week. Argentina international di Maria can play on the wing or on the side of a midfield three and it will be interesting to see if LVG attempts to shoehorn him into the 3-5-2 somewhere or changes the system to accommodate him. Fellow Argentine arrival Marcos Rojo is expected to miss out because of ongoing work permit issues. Another summer signing, midfielder Ander Herrera, could miss out through injury and England international Michael Carrick is also out.

Jonny Evans made his return in midweek but looked desperately poor, but his comeback at least offers van Gaal another defensive option. Chris Smalling limped off in the 1-1 draw at Sunderland last weekend, with Phil Jones the only other senior centre-back available to the United manager.

Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney looks a threatening partnership on paper but even after a year together at United, they are yet to gel. United have a plethora of number ten attackers, with Rooney, Mata, Adnan Januzaj and Shinji Kagawa all preferring a roaming role off a front man.

United were tipped to return to the top four at the first attempt this season, but it is starting to look as though their rule at the top of English football could be drawing to an abrupt end after the era of Sir Alex Ferguson ended last year.

Both sides have started the season badly and will want to turn things around ahead of a two-week international break.

Further reading: Manchester United season preview.

Possible line-ups

Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee; Arfield, Marney, Jones, Taylor; Ings; Jutkiewicz

United: de Gea; Evans, Jones, Smalling; di Maria, Fletcher, Cleverley, Valencia; Mata; Rooney, van Persie

Form: LDL

It’s been a winless start to the season for van Gaal’s men, despite the fixture computer apparently having handed them a straightforward start to the new campaign.

A home game against Swansea City looked easy on paper but United lost 2-1, following that result up with a dire 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light last weekend. The 4-0 shellacking at the  hands of MK Dons in the Capital One Cup piled on the humiliation for the free-falling giants, who will be desperate to get back to winning ways at Turf Moor.

Dangerman: Angel di Maria

Argentina international di Maria comes with a British transfer record fee and a reputation to match, with his versatility likely to be key to van Gaal. He could fill in at left wing-back until the return of England youngster Luke Shaw, use his boundless creativity in central midfield, or attack teams viciously with his speed and creativity from the wing.

He has been compared to Arjen Robben by van Gaal, hinting he could be used in an attacking role, but with United so short of quality midfielders it might make more sense to use him there in the short term.

Di Maria found himself surplus to requirements at Real Madrid this summer following the big money arrivals of World Cup stars James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos at the Bernabeu, but he remains a top level player.

Manager: Louis van Gaal

After David Moyes turned out to be a wet blanket, the Old Trafford board has gone for his polar opposite in Louis van Gaal as they attempt to replace Sir Alex Ferguson.

With seven league titles to his name and a European Cup, LVG certainly has the pedigree required and he also led Holland to third place in this summer’s World Cup, although they could only draw 0-0 with Costa Rica in the quarter-finals and needed penalties to go through.

Although van Gaal has a fierce reputation as a strict disciplinarian, his approach also includes making his players feel loved and he has a particularly strong relationship with Robin van Persie.

Prediction: 3-1

It will be another packed crowd at Turf Moor and United are there for the taking, with their defence certainly weak and their midfield lacking star quality. Burnley will be confident they can get a positive result on the board for the first time this season and condemn United to even more misery.

How do you see the game going? Comment below.

And if you’re not attending the match, why not follow the action with the return of the world-famous NNN live blog from noon. And if you are going to Turf Moor, call us with your reaction after the match.

Week 3 preview: Fantasy football and Super 6

Who are the players to watch this gameweek?

Fantasy football

A tough gameweek to predict due to the number of mid table clashes and top six encounters.

The early kick off this weekend is at Turf Moor, where the Clarets take on struggling Manchester United in front of the TV cameras. Expect to see British record signing Angel di Maria make an appearance at some point. Di Maria debuts at £9.5 million and may provide that inventiveness that United have been sadly lacking. United’s defence is still an issue, so maybe this will be the weekend when Danny Ings nets his first top flight goal at £6.0 million.

Stoke have made a shaky start, only managing a draw against ten-man Hull last weekend. They travel to the Champions, so expect a high scoring affair. Stevan Jovetic is the man to look at here. Two goals against Liverpool on Monday showed how clinical he can be and also proves his form. Other players to look for include Eric Dier, who I can’t seem to not mention. Two goals in two games – he is the top defensive player. Spurs face off with Liverpool on Sunday and this will provide Dier’s toughest defensive test.

“The bomb squad” are back in at Aston Villa and they host Hull on Sunday afternoon. While poor last weekend, players such as Charles N’Zogbia (£5.5 million) and Darren Bent (£4.9 million) are now beginning to get selected again and are also returning to match fitness. Villa may also be able to profit from Hull’s Europa League disappointment.

Arsenal look favorites away at Leicester, but be sure to remove Oliver Giroud, who is out injured until the turn of the year. Other notable absentees include Steven Pienaar, Kevin Nolan as well as, at time of writing, a slight doubt over Diego Costa’s fitness.

Super 6

Five Premier League games are in play this weekend. Manchester City have made a perfect start to their title defence and look likely to win by a couple of goals at home to Stoke. Newcastle were abject last weekend against Aston Villa and they host Neil Warnock’s Crystal Palace. The new manager bounce may be able to pull this game away from a bore draw.

QPR sit dead bottom of the table, and I think they’ll struggle against Sunderland, who looked capable of getting results last weekend. Swansea are early pace-setters, but wasn’t entirely convincing against Burnley. West Brom will provide good opposition and I could see a draw here. I also think that West Ham and Southampton are too hard to separate.

Finally, in the Championship, Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth travel to Norwich, who have won four on the bounce in all competitions and will be expecting to score three more points here.

Don’t forget, it’s not too late to join either of our leagues. For Fantasy Football, simply go to fantasy.premierleague.com, create a team and join our mini league using the code 4175-5349.

Meanwhile, to enter our Super 6 league, go to super6.skysports.com, make your weekly predictions and join the No Nay Never league with the code T5LJCX

Previous encounters: Manchester United

Last time out

Burnley were dining at the modern top table of football for the first time. They’d opened their Premier League account with a whimper, beaten 2-0 by Stoke at the Britannia, before the defending champions would introduce Turf Moor to the top-flight after a 33-year exile. Burnley were written off before kick off but 19 minutes into the game Robbie Blake stunned the world as he volleyed home what would be the only goal of the game. Manchester United had 63% of the possession and nine shots on target but couldn’t find away past Brian Jensen. Even a penalty wasn’t enough as the Dane stopped a Michael Carrick penalty just before the break. Turf Moor was in classic midweek night mode and everyone there that night was treated to the greatest show of resilience.

Burnley 1 – 0 Manchester United. 19 August 2009.

One for them

Clarets fans were dreaming of a giant killing when Manchester United visited Turf Moor for the League Cup in 2002. United would progress to the quarter final stage thanks to a first half strike from Diego Forlan that was added to by a fantastic goal from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the second half. United would have had more if it weren’t for the poor finishing of Danny Pugh.

Despite a strong United side turning out it was actually Burnley who started brightest as Robbie Blake and Gareth Taylor combined well early on but Taylor could only see his efforts flash wide of Roy Carroll’s post. Marlon Beresford held United back at first attempt as he saved as the feet of Ruud Van Nistelrooy before Forlan opened the scoring. Solskjaer came on for Van Nistelrooy in the second half before firing home after a Luke Chadwick layoff.

Burnley 0 – 2 Manchester United. 03 December 2002.

Head-to-head at Turf Moor

Burnley – 28 wins, 94 goals.

Biggest win – 6-1, 1963/64.

Manchester United – 18 wins, 66 goals.

Biggest win –  1-4, 1933/34.

Draws – eight.

Last five

WLXLD

Paul Weller: Burnley can get a result against United

It’s been a very difficult start to life in the Premier League – but probably one we all expected.

When the fixtures were released, everyone said September is the month in we need to kick on and start picking up points. Having lost the opening two games, people need to stay positive and believe that we can pick up points against the smaller teams. Forget August and look forward.

Pressure

Manchester United visit on Saturday and after an awful start, they will be playing under huge expectations. They just have to win.

I personally never really felt pressure in my playing career, I tried to take every game as it came and just relax.

The biggest pressure game I ever played in was against Plymouth, a game we we needed to win and hope other results went our way. I didn’t really feel any different in the build up to that game and once the match starts you forget everything around you and just focus on winning it.

As for other players, they are totally different. Some are a nervous wreck before games and some just sit back and have a cup of tea. The dressing room is full of different characters, all preparing for the game in their own way – but once that whistle blows there we’re ready for war.

Plymouth went one up in that match and I should of been marking the guy who scored. That wasn’t good. I thought ‘blimey we need to win now’. I went down the other end and hit the bar and was starting to think it wasn’t going to be my day – but thankfully things turned out okay.

Manchester United

I’d like to think the players relish every game, especially against the big boys.

There is no expectation on Burnley to win the game on Saturday, so the boys should go out very relaxed and enjoy it. I find that if the players are relaxed and prepared well, you will have a better chance of winning or getting something from the game.

If there are no injuries from the game against Sheffield Wednesday, I think Sean will stick with the same side that played at Swansea. There could be one change at left full back, but I think that would be very harsh on Ben Mee.

I do think we can get a draw out of the game. United are vulnerable at the back so Ings and the Juke could get a goal or two. But on the other hand, Burnley have to be careful of Mata playing in the hole.

If we play a narrow midfield four and condense the space, I think we’ll get a positive outcome.

I played against United in 2002. It was a great occasion but not the score we wanted, as sadly they beat us 2-0. I think it was Diego Forlan and Ole Gunnar Solskjær who got the goals. They didn’t field their strongest side but I still got to play against some great players.

We didn’t prepare for that game any different to any other. I wasn’t one for being sick or needing to be calmed down. It was just another game for me.

But it is so interesting to see how others get on. Some were on the toilet while some were really quiet, which wasn’t like them. The dressing room is a strange place to be, especially just before the bell goes.

My main memories against them, though, are actually as a young lad in the youth team. We used to play in the A and B team leagues and I came up against a tough United side on many occasions. As I’m the same age, I faced Beckham, Scholes, Butt, Neville, Gillespie, Casper etc. They were very good games – and I learnt a lot about football from them.

Can we do it? Leave a comment below.

Burnley shouldn’t break the bank

Hmmmm…

It’s all a bit awkward isn’t it, this Premier League lark?

Promoted on a wave of optimism and pride in our small, cheaply assembled squad, we’re now finding it difficult to accept that much the same squad has struggled to make it’s mark just yet in the top division.

Even worse, it turns out that football isn’t particularly fair, and improving on that squad isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do. Pride starts to bristle when a player chooses Fulham, Watford or Derby wages in the Championship over Burnley wages in the Premier League. Have they no ambition? No pride of their own? Worse: is playing for Burnley really that unappealing?

It’s pretty obvious that we need a centre half. Duffer’s had two decent games so far, but do we really expect him to maintain that level throughout the season, or for neither he nor Shacks to pick up a knock? Sure, bringing Stephen Ward in frees Ben Mee up to switch back to the middle, but it’s probably not the solution most of us had in mind.

We probably need a central midfielder too. Someone to put some pressure on David Jones and Dean Marney, and again to provide that cover. But midfield’s widely considered to be the hardest position to play, and top flight quality midfielders don’t grow on trees.

Finally, we’ve got four fit strikers, with Sam Vokes still to come back, but I suspect most fans would secretly harbour a desire to get in another. A recognised goalscorer to ensure the chances we made at Swansea don’t go begging all season.

But I’m sorry guys: we’re probably not going to get any of them. We might get Craig Dawson, but it’s looking to follow the same pattern as so many others so far.

That’s not me being negative, it’s just the truth of the matter. Sean Dyche isn’t coming into every press conference talking about ‘market leaders’ and ‘inflated prices’ because he loves corporate buzzwords (although it is probably the only thing about the gaffer more gratey than his voice). He’s coming out saying that stuff because it’s true.

Ross McCormack went to Championship strugglers Fulham for£11m.

Eleven.

Million.

Quid.

There’s really not much more to be said. When the players we’re looking at are being signed for those sorts of prices, it becomes a seller’s market, and in a seller’s market we’re quickly out of the running unless a player desperately wants to come to us.

Last season’s promotion was built on a framework of hard work and a strong team ethic, with a healthy dollop of luck. That squad was too small last year, it was always going to be too small this year.

I don’t want to see us breaking the bank, smashing club transfer records and paying huge wages that unsettle the guys who signed for a club that prides itself on being run a certain kind of way.

We showed against Swansea, and for big chunks against Chelsea, that we can compete at this level with the players we’ve got.

It’ll be scant consolation if we get relegated without winning a match, but football’s a game of fine lines, and I for one believe that if we’re going to succeed it’s going to be because the players who bought into what the club is selling found another gear, another level to their games, and not because we abandoned our principles and filled the club with players who only want to be here because we were prepared to pay more than a Championship side.

It shouldn’t have worked last year, and it probably won’t this year, but it might, and if it does it’ll be a story we can be really, truly, proud of. But if it doesn’t then at least we tried to do it the Burnley way. Let’s not tear the club apart because football isn’t fair and we can’t afford to spend what others can.

This is turning into a bit of a ramble, and I’m not convinced I’ve made a consistent point yet, so I’m going to close with this. When Cesc Fabregas turned that ball round the corner to Andre Schurrle and we finally started to realise the magnitude of the task that faces us, a Manchester United-supporting friend of mine sent me a text that simply said: “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.”

He thought he was being funny, but, for me at least, he hit the nail on the head.

Whatever happens this season I will be smiling.

And at least we’re not Man United fans.

Can we be positive despite the lack of transfer activity? Comment below.

The lack of signings

As the transfer deadline looms the fact the Burnley haven’t added to the squad for a while has caused some fans great consternation.

While I am the first to admit it is both worrying and frustrating, maybe all of this doom and gloom needs to be tempered somewhat.

So far we have already signed seven players, at one point that was the most in the league. Admittedly, the likes of Matty Taylor will never be a marquee signing, but it is not a bad signing either. The brief this summer seems to be “experienced players” and whomever we can get that’s played for Bolton. We are trying to add to the squad that won us promotion and that we are trying to add the right type of player.

Secondly, fans like to speculate about signings and money, it makes the boring times between games bearable but the fact of the matter is we do not know how much is exactly in the pot to spend. We can say “well, we get £20 million from Sky and X from Y” but we don’t know, until the financial records are released, what is going where. For us to say “we have all this money” is based on an assumption as we are not in full knowledge of the facts.

Thirdly, and I know this point really grates when Sean Dyche mentions it, but, the “market” is ridiculously inflated this summer. As soon as a player like Ross McCormack went for £11m all clubs added a extra few zeroes to players’ valuations. I’m not saying it is all Fulham’s fault but… As a result of this players that would naturally fall into our restrictive price bracket quickly become too expensive. It has been a Burnley mantra for years that you “don’t bet the ranch” and this window shows there is no sign of that changing.

Fourthly, we are not Barcelona (or possibly Rovers given their losses). We will have a transfer window in January in which to be priced out and frustrated. Dyche didn’t spend anything last summer and added to the squad in the winter. Granted it was Ashley Barnes but that gave the squad a little kick when we needed it.

Finally, we say “In Dyche We Trust” and we should continue to do so. I imagine that he is as frustrated as we are over the situation. He is not going to publicly criticise the board nor is he going to damage the team ethic by splurging on a marquee player that damages team morale. He is trying to buy a certain type of player who fits into his “One Team” mentality.

The other way to deal with transfers is to do as QPR do and spend big on many players who will take a wage and do nothing but bulk-up the fringes of the squad.

We have to balance the reality of our situation with expectations. Survival is the main objective and with only two games gone, we are not doomed yet.

Do you agree with Matt or are frustrations over transfers justified? Comment below.

Are Burnley being ‘over-cautious’ again?

Earlier this week, Jamie Smith asked the board to give Sean Dyche more backing in the transfer window.

“Burnley’s transfer strategy this summer has been a mess at best and a shambles at worst,” he wrote.

It’s difficult to disagree.

We’ve missed out on major target, after major target, after major target. When Craig Bryson signed a new deal at Derby many critisised him for playing us. But Henri Lansbury has since done the same, pursuits of the likes of Craig Dawson among others have dwindled away into nothing – and now James McArthur looks to be the latest in a long line to slip through the net.

Some have argued that the players we’re chasing are not worth the prices their current club is asking for – but is that just the reality of football finance in 2014? I don’t think a Cadbury’s Freddo bar is worth 25p, but that’s what the going rate is so I’ve got to pay it.

So far this summer – despite this year’s income being significantly larger – we’ve spent less than we did last time we were in the Premier League, which was far from excessive itself.

Fans were critical of the club back in 2010, when our eventual relegation seemed to come about without a fight. Many of our summer signings were nowhere near Premier League standard and when the need for reinforcements was clear in January we instead opted for a couple of loans and Brian Laws.

Speaking to No Nay Never a couple of years later, Burnley director Brendan Flood admitted regret at a number of mistakes that the board made during that one-year stint at the top.

Like last season, promotion in 2009 was somewhat unexpected. Flood told us there was what he called a “culture shock” within the higher reaches of the club that summer.

“Whilst we’re delighted, there’s the nervousness of suddenly being involved in wages levels that are probably, in most peoples terms, excessive,” he explained.

“You’ve got high multiple wages against what you pay in the Championship, so you get dragged into the Premier League way of thinking that if you’re not paying wages of £25 to £30 million a year, you’re going to go down.

“We were a little bit scared of that, hence we were probably slightly over-cautious year one.”

We didn’t end up reaching that £25 million figure – our total wage bill for the 2009/10 season was the league’s smallest at £22 million. For comparison, the next lowest spenders were Wolves with £30 million – a figure almost 50% more than ours.

Were we ‘slightly over-cautious’ as Flood suggested? Probably, yes.

Come the end of the season we were only five points adrift, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that had we invested in one or two more quality players we might have made those up.

Of course spending more doesn’t guarantee more points and there will always be exceptions to the rule on both sides – but there are very clear and consistent correlations between investment in wages and eventual league position.

Flood’s comments suggest that it was certainly within our means to invest more, but we chose not to because we were ‘scared’ and ‘nervous’.

Are we doing the same again?

Some might question whether it’s wise to take advice on further investment from Flood, who has faced his own financial challenges in recent years,

He was hit particularly hard by the recession and in 2013 No Nay Never exclusively revealed that he was forced to take out an IVA – typically used by individuals in financial difficulty to avoid entering bankruptcy and helps them to repay their debts. As a result he was made to resign from the Clarets board due to the Football League’s fit and proper person rules, though he has since returned.

And former chief executive Paul Fletcher told NNN last April that Flood did take ‘calculated risks’ on the way to our promotion in 2009.

“There were some people on the board who just wanted to have their four-course meal and red wine every Saturday and didn’t want the risks that would put us in the Premier League position,” he admitted. “He was the one out there making the tough decisions and it was the calculated risk which we had to do.”

Without knowing the specific details of our budget and spending this summer, there has to be an element of guesswork to any analysis of transfer activity. However, parallels are certainly becoming apparent between our transfer activity in 2009 and 2014.

We should be considerably better off this time around. Premier League prize money has rocketed since 2009. Thanks to incredible new sponsorship and television deals, last season Cardiff earned £62.08 million for finishing bottom – incredibly, that’s more than the £60.8 million Manchester United got for winning the title the previous season.

When we were last in the Premier League, we got £33.89 million for our 18th place finish – plus parachute payments.

Yet this income boost doesn’t appear to made its way to the transfer chequebook. Pound for pound, you’ve got to assume that investment in the squad is significantly down from that ‘overly cautious’ last spell in the top flight.

We will probably add to the squad before the window ‘slams’ shut at the end of the month – but you’ve got to wonder how far down Sean Dyche’s list of transfer priorities we find ourselves after missing out on so many targets. And it remains to be seen whether the calibre of player we do manage to afford will be of the calibre required to keep us up.

Nobody expects us to get everything right first time – nor is the club expected to spend beyond its means – but are we suffering from the same fear that cost us our place Premier League last time?

Is this a ‘groundhog day’ situation? Leave a comment below.