After a succession of 0-0 draws, Burnley were mauled in the Midlands as a combination of Burnley looking out of their depth and West Brom hitting the right notes culminated in the Baggies pasting the Clarets by four goals to nil.
A Saido Berahino brace and further goals from Craig Dawson and Graham Dorrans resulted in a third defeat of the season for Burnley but more worryingly, another game without victory and another game without a goal. It leaves Alan Irvine’s team in the top half of the table but Sean Dyche’s men languishing bottom of the Premier League.
– Long balls to Lukas Jutkiewicz twice deceived Dawson and Joleon Lescott but he was unable to get a toe on either of them
– Michael Kightly hit the first shot in anger but volleyed over from the edge of the box
– West Brom went perilously close as Chris Brunt’s wayward volley cannoned off Michael Duff and into the side-netting
– Burnley gave the ball away and Berahino advanced with it, wriggled free of Jason Shackell and Ben Mee but dragged wide from a difficult angle
– Burnley were sleeping at a corner as the ball was kept in and drilled towards goal, only for Tom Heaton to scoop it behind. Foreshadowing here perhaps
West Brom 1-0 Burnley (Dawson, 30)
There is a double irony in the sense that Burnley were struggling from corners from minute one and it was the man who so nearly joined the Clarets in the summer that scored against them.
In all fairness to Dawson, it was excellent movement from the centre half who found the space in the box that no one is occupying, although Jason Shackell didn’t cover himself in glory with his attempts to neutralise him. It was a looping centre from Brunt away from the melee of players surrounding the six-yard box. Heaton should really be claiming the ball as when it reaches the dead of Dawson; he’s almost on the goal-line when he heads home. Much like the third Chelsea goal, I feel Heaton’s positioning was all wrong and it meant he was again vulnerable to a pretty average delivery.
– Berahino lost Steven Reid and Shackell but wass denied a one-on-one by a last-ditch Duff tackle
– Dorrans ascended up the pitch unchallenged and forced Heaton into action with a rasping 40-yard curling strike which needed turning over the bar
West Brom 2-0 Burnley (Berahino, 45)
It was almost a mirrored copy of the first goal and Burnley should be rightly tearing their hair out once again.
Chris Brunt has always been excellent from dead ball situations in his career at The Hawthorns and Burnley should have known this prior to the match. They should certainly have worked out his influence by this point in the half but apparently the message hadn’t sunk in. His delivery in was wicked and Scott Arfield was slow to track the run of Dorrans across the near post. Using the pace of the ball, he was able to guide the corner across the mouth of the goal where an unmarked Berahino could not miss. Again, I would question Heaton’s concentration a tad however the majority of the blame must go to the way the set piece was defended as a whole and to leave a man unmarked in the six-yard box is suicidal.
– Craig Gardner hit a fierce strike which took a deflection and skidded wide of a diving Heaton
– Stephane Sessegnon was given the freedom to crash a volley towards the net but Ben Mee was there to block a certain goal
West Brom 3-0 Burnley (Berahino, 56)
Many have given credit to Berahino here and rightly so although there is a great deal wrong with it from a Burnley perspective.
The England under-21 international peeled away from Shackell and raced on to a neat through ball from Dorrans before expertly finishing across a keeper whose confidence was quite literally on the floor. Heaton may have been slow out to challenge and out of position when Berahino did finish but this was legitimately not his fault.
Dorrans was given acres and limitless amounts of time to stroll forward in possession of the ball unchallenged. He was a nuisance first half – as were much of Albion’s attacking players – so it beggars belief why he wasn’t offered a challenge of some sort. Equally disappointing is the lack of communication in the back-line as Mee played deeper than his counterparts, allowing Berahino to peel away from Shackell and remain onside.
– Jutkiewicz did well to rise highest to a deflected delivery from Kieran Trippier and his header was easily – if dramatically – parried by Foster. It was Burnley’s first shot on target and it came on 64 minutes
– The first shot on target was followed up with two quick fire efforts from substitutes. First Marvin Sordell from distance with a strike which went well wide and then Ashley Barnes with a half-decent opportunity from 15 yards which he skied
– Dorrans gave Mee the slip and was not picked up. He had a clear sight of goal but slipped and turned the ball into the side-netting
– George Boyd had a fierce attempt blocked and Kightly’s follow up is easily gathered by Foster. A second attempt on target
West Brom 4-0 Burnley (Dorrans, 90)
It was an excellent team goal reminiscent of that from Andre Schurrle on the opening game of the season.
Cristian Gamboa on the flank played a neat one two with Georgios Samaras, cutting apart Mee and Kightly on the Burnley left side. The full back played a great cutback into the path of the excellent Dorrans who arrowed a drive into the far corner.
Certainly there were faults in the build up from Burnley. A one-two shouldn’t really cut open an entire flank and Duff was for once showing signs of his age as he lethargically closed down Dorrans although credit where credit is due and it was a fine team goal from the hosts.
What went wrong?
In my opinion there’s only so much you can blame players for in football and if they simply aren’t good enough, you cannot accuse them of playing below par and rubbish, because they simply can’t perform to the expectations people bestow upon them.
There will be much criticism for the likes of Ross Wallace, Reid and others out on the playing field but there must be a moment when you realise these players just aren’t good enough at this moment in time. The simple reason as to why Burnley got beat against West Brom is because they had a good blend of pace, flair and workhorses. Burnley only have the latter. You cannot fault any of their attitudes or their work ethic but there is a real lack of creativity, invention and quality in general. It is not their fault they quite simply are not equipped to perform at this level yet, the finger of blame can only be pointed at the chairmen for not backing Dyche with credibility financially.
Experts have said that Burnley are hard done by due to the injuries of Sam Vokes and Danny Ings. Everyone with a smidgen on interest in the club was aware Vokes had a long term injury and would not be back until the Christmas period. Many people would have been aware of Danny Ings’ injury record it has been something that has continuously derailed his career. It beggars the question where the money was to buy a Lewis Grabban or a Britt Assombalonga, or even an Adam le Fondre. Instead, prayers are being asked for one of either Barnes or Sordell to find a rich vein of form and score goals via the assistance of Jutkiewicz but it really isn’t looking like happening.
It’s not just the strikers in general that are the problem though – it’s the service given to them. Long ball after long ball after long ball will be followed by a hopeful cross from the flank. In short: there is just no creativity or craft, no midfielder who can weave his way into space before playing an intricate through ball into an attacker. I can’t even remember the last time a player went one-on-one or was played in behind.
The tactics are far too hit and hope which many will say is down to the manager when actually it’s down to what the manger has to work with. It says a lot for the likes of Wallace, Arfield and Boyd if there are no attempts to play through the middle. But why are they even there if this is the only hopeful route to Jutkiewicz and company? Why not just play an 8-0-2 formation?
You can’t defend set pieces in such a manner and expect to win a match however the problem is far greater than the issues regarding corners. If any manager is capable of bringing this team back to life then Sean Dyche is certainly the man of miracles. Conceivably, Dyche could turn this situation around. He has the full backing of the fans, the owners and the players and therefore can challenge the odds. Look at Sunderland last year after their wretched start. However, Burnley need to turn this form around fast or certain relegation may not be such a pessimistic thought after all.
Ashley Barnes 6/10: The energetic front man caused a few problems when he came on at half-time. Lescott and Dawson were struggling at times to cope with his runs in behind and turn of pace. Had a spell of good link up play with Jutkiewicz and later substitute Sordell before blazing over Burnley’s only decent chance all game, and even then it would have taken an excellent strike to score from it.
Tom Heaton 4/10: Poor for the first goal, partly to blame for the second and slightly to blame for the third. Not his day.
Kieran Trippier 5/10: Persistently giving the ball away and wasteful going forward. Alright defensively.
Michael Duff 5/10: Had a very good first half but deteriorated in the second and slow to Dorrans for goal four.
Jason Shackell 5/10: Confidence was rocked after losing Dawson for the opener and had a hard afternoon from then on.
Ben Mee 5/10: A little more assured on the ball than Trippier oddly though lacked the means to cope defensively.
Ross Wallace 4/10: Virtually no impact on the game on the right but how could he when tactics were hit the long ball.
Scott Arfield 5/10: He’s Burnley’s Mr Reliable but he played as well as he can. He needs more quality around him.
Steven Reid 4/10: The game passed the former Albion man by and he looked every day of his 33 years.
George Boyd 4/10: Couldn’t affect his game with the tactics. He was trying to give his all but had little incentive to do so.
Michael Kightly 5/10: One of the brighter sparks in the midfield for endeavor but looked out of his depth on first start.
Lukas Jutkiewicz 5/10: Ridiculous what was being asked of him. He is a grafter but not a miracle worker.
West Brom MOTM
Saido Berahino 8/10: He may be the third choice striker at The Hawthorns but with Brown Ideye and Victor Anichebe out he certainly made a good claim to a regular starting berth today. Burnley’s defending was far from impressive but he took full advantage when given opportunities to do so, being in the right position for his first and keeping his composure for his second. A constant threat with excellent chemistry with his attacking team-mates.
Foster 6, Wisdom 6, Dawson 7, Lescott 6, Pocognoli 7, Morrison 7, Gardner 7, Dorrans 8, Sessegnon 7, Brunt 7
It’s the quite daunting task of Championship champions Leicester City in the Foxes den. Last season this fixture would have felt difficult however this season it seems like an enormous task. There is no sign of any goals coming soon and in general it looks a very depressing prospect for Burnley. All supporters would like to think an upset is on – after all Sean Dyche remains manager so the impossible remains possible. For me though, I’m struggling to see beyond a second successive defeat, albeit a lesser one at that.
Prediction: Leicester 2-0 Burnley
What’s your assessment of yesterday’s game? Comment below.