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Bye Vokes and Barnes – Hello Deeney

Despite a run of seven Premier League games without a win, Sean Dyche’s side still sit 8th in the table, a remarkable feat that saw the Clarets boss rewarded with a bumper four and a half year contract.

Masterminding an early season charge for the European places, Dyche guided a group of players, deemed as ‘average’ by many, into the top four.

However, since a 1-0 victory over Stoke in December, which saw the Clarets temporarily climb to fourth, Burnley haven’t recorded a win.

That said, the performances haven’t been bad and it has been a bit of a hard luck story, with a refereeing error preventing Burnley from all three points against Huddersfield and late, late goals against Manchester United and Liverpool saw them drop a further three points.

The main problem for Burnley lately has been scoring goals.

The Clarets have fired blanks in five of their last seven league games, but despite this, Dyche hasn’t entered the market for a striker so far this month.

One man who Dyche knows very well is Troy Deeney, and the Watford striker appears to be on his way out of Vicarage Road.

West Brom have been rumoured to have made a £16 million bid, with Watford holding out for around £20 million, well within Burnley’s parameters.

Premier League rivals, Crystal Palace, also in the market for a new striker, have earmarked Ashley Barnes as one of their top targets, with the Eagles willing to pay £11 million for the former Brighton man.

£11 million for Barnes is a lot of money and should an offer come in, Burnley shouldn’t hesitate to accept it.

As good as Barnes has been for the club, he leaves a lot to be desired at Premier League level, with his technical quality on the ball not the greatest.

The same goes with Sam Vokes, he’s been a great servant for the club over the last 5/6 years, but as the club moves forward, unfortunately, some players fall by the wayside, as they are replaced with players of a higher calibre.

This could be one of those situations, with the money raised from the sale of Barnes being put towards a move for Deeney, who offers more mobility, better quality and more of a goal threat than Barnes or Vokes.

Burnley’s two key players so far this season

A solid start to the season sees Burnley sitting seventh, with seven points from four games, which any Clarets fan would’ve taken in June when the fixtures were released.

A win at Stamford Bridge is the highlight, but a late equaliser at Wembley from Chris Wood was a close second.

Sean Dyche is a big believer in instilling a team ethic, but despite this, there have been some stand out performers in the side.

Jack Cork

A summer signing from Swansea City, Cork has been a revelation in the heart of the Burnley midfield, immediately securing himself as one of the first names on the team sheet.

The former Chelsea youngster has slotted seamlessly into the midfield, forging a partnership alongside Steven Defour that looks to be one of the strongest outside of the top 7.

Comfortable on the ball, Cork retains possession well and it is no coincidence that his return to the club has coincided with a change in the way in which the Clarets play, with a more possession based style being implemented.

Cork is also willing to work extremely hard in midfield out of possession and he is one of the leading players in the Burnley squad when it comes to winning the ball back.

Steven Defour

After a difficult second half to last season, which saw him sat on the bench for most of it, or utilised sparingly on the wing.

The Belgian missed a large chunk of the season through injury and his lack of fitness was evident, but after a full preseason, he has come back into the fold looking rejuvenated.

Defour has been instrumental in the heart of the Burnley midfield, pulling the strings in an attacking sense and being the heartbeat of the Clarets side.

The defensive side of his game has also come to the fore this season, his increased fitness has lead to his defensive stats being bumped up and he leads the way in the Premier League in terms of interceptions.



Burnley 1-0 Crystal Palace: Match Report

Burnley registered their first home win of the season today, picking up a 1-0 victory over struggling Crystal Palace.

Despite having the lions share of play, the Eagles failed to turn their dominance into goals, and their wait for Frank De Boer’s first point in English football goes on.

An early strike from Chris Wood, who was making his home league debut, was enough to seal all three points for the Clarets, who move up to seventh in the process.

Despite a sprightly start, Palace found themselves behind after just three minutes.

A slack pass from Chung Yong Lee sent Wood clean through on goal, and he made no mistake from 35 yards, guiding the ball past a hapless Wayne Hennessey, who was stranded on the edge of his box.

The Eagles almost hit back straight away, when Burnley failed to clear a corner and Scott Dann fired a shot goal-ward, but Matt Lowton was on hand to clear off the line.

In what was an end to end game early on, Burnley nearly extended their lead, when Stephen Ward supplied Sam Vokes with a free header six yards from goal, but his glancing header drifted agonisingly wide of the far post.

Christian Benteke also went close for the visitors when he headed Andros Townsend’s cross inches wide of Tom Heaton’s post.

Heaton’s day wasn’t to last much longer though, after a collision with Ben Mee saw him fall awkwardly and pick up what looks to be a dislocated shoulder.

James McArthur was next to try his luck for Palace, as he met Yohann Cabaye’s corner, but again, he couldn’t keep his header on target.

Early in the second half, Jeffrey Schlupp was presented with a golden opportunity as the ball broke to him 18 yards from goal, but unchallenged, he blazed his shot over.

Palace’s created another golden opportunity 15 minutes from time, when Benteke broke through the Clarets’ back line, but stand-in goalkeeper Nick Pope stood firm, producing a smart stop to keep the Belgian at bay.

Dann went close again for Palace late on, when he brought down Townsend’s corner and fired across goal, only for James Tarkowski to make an excellent block to preserve the Clarets’ clean sheet.

Undoubtedly the best chance of the game also fell to Dann, when in the dying moments he was presented with a free header three yards from goal after Cabaye stood up a perfect cross, but the former Blackburn centre half somehow headed wide.

All in all, it was a typical dogged Burnley performance. All 11 players giving their all for the shirt and throwing themselves in front of shots to preserve all three points. A change in system meant a change in style for Burnley, as they reverted to a more direct style, with two target men leading the line. Seven points from four games is a more than respectable return for Burnley, and they now look competent at Premier League level.

Harry Redknapp closes in on yet another signing

Birmingham are closing in on Brentford’s Jota, according to Sky Sports News HQ, who understand a £6million fee has been agreed between the two clubs.

Jota has been the subject of interest from Fulham and Middlesbrough in recent weeks, while Premier League Burnley and Swansea were also interested in the Spaniard, but neither firmed up their interest.

It is believed that Middlesbrough and Fulham were keen to follow up their interest, but the price they were quoted, was higher than the £6 million that Birmingham are paying.

Jota has been influential for the Bees throughout his stint in West London, playing a key role in Brentford’s push for promotion in the 14/15 season, where he set the league alight.

Upon his return to Griffin Park last season, after spending time with Eibar, Jota slotted back in seamlessly, scoring a hatful of goals to end the season with, which appears to have earned him a move.

Leicester winger subject of huge bid from Bournemouth

Leicester City winger, Demarai Gray, is the subject of a £25 million bid by Bournemouth, according to Sky Sports News HQ.

Gray is understood to be keen on a move to the South Coast, but the Foxes are keen to hold on to their rising star.

The former Birmingham winger hasn’t featured much for Leicester during his 18 months with Leicester, as Claudio Ranieri preferred to utilise Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton.

With a question mark still hanging over the head of Riyad Mahrez, it seems unlikely that Leicester will let Gray leave, but if the player decides to push for the move, then it could be a late one that goes through.

Gray has made 42 appearances for Leicester in his 18 month stint, scoring two goals in the process, but his influence to the Foxes side has been wider than just goals and assists.

Working under Ranieri, Gray has vastly improved the defensive side of his game, which makes him almost the perfect fit for Bournemouth