Tag Archives: Burnley

Premier League Review

I am starting this week’s review with the match between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday night because it had a big talking point.

The game finished 1-1 with goals from Anthony Martial and a trademark long range effort by Ruben Neves. The result itself was interesting enough as its evidence that Wolves aren’t far away from the top six.

The talking point came when United were awarded a penalty with the score at 1-1 and last week’s scorer of a penalty Marcus Rashford went into conversation with Paul Pogba. The result of the chat resulted in Pogba taking the penalty and then subsequently having the spot kick well saved.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed after the game that the penalty duties are being shared between Rashford and Pogba and that “whoever feels confident on the day” should take it. This for me is a risky and strange policy as it adds an unnecessary seed of doubt and pressure to the taker, which showed its force again in United’s next match on Saturday, More on that later.

Moving onto Saturday’s roundup which I am starting at Anfield where the only two teams with 100% records in the league went head to head as Liverpool faced Arsenal.

Liverpool were controlling much of the possession and territory but Arsenal created good openings on the break from record signing Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

In the process, interestingly, Pepe became the first player to successfully dribble past Virgil Van Dijk breaking a record that has stood for well over a year, no mean feat. It has also become more evident that Liverpool are not performing as well in defence without Allison in goal and his deputy Adrian almost cost them another goal, as just like last weekend, one of his clearances went straight to the Gunners but luckily for him, Aubameyang, uncharacteristically, lacked composure.

Despite all of this, Liverpool’s territorial advantage paid off with them taking the lead through a Joel Matip’s header just before half-time.

After the break, David Luiz cost Arsenal any hopes, by first tugging Mohammad Salah’s shirt in the penalty area, with Salah himself scoring the penalty. It was the Egyptian once again who embarrassed Luiz by the touchline as the Brazilian needlessly dived in and Salah chipped the ball over him before running to the edge of the box and superbly curling into the bottom corner just before the hour. This ended the contest, although Arsenal did get a late consolation through Lucas Torreira.

The result means Liverpool are the only side in England with a 100% record and continues Arsenals poor record at Liverpool, however they can take something from the chances they created.

Now back to Manchester United who were playing Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, a venue where Palace hadn’t won since 1989.

United were dominant as expected, but couldn’t find the break through and Palace broke after 32 minutes which left Jordan Ayew one-on-one with David De Gea, who silenced the crowd by coolly slotting home.

There was yet more United penalty drama in the second-half when they were awarded a spot kick when Scott McTominay was bundled over. Everyone waited to see who would take the kick following Monday’s drama and this time it was back to Marcus Rashford.

However, he suffered the same fate as Pogba seeing his penalty cannon off the inside of the post. This only further strengthens my argument that Solskjaer’s method is an incorrect one. United continued to push and found an equaliser through summer signing Daniel James, who scored in consecutive home matches by curling in a delightful equaliser in the 89th minute following Pogba’s good tackle on Wilfred Zaha and with a neat build-up from Rashford and Anthony Martial.

The Red Devil’s thought they could still win it but were caught with too many players forward allowing Zaha to burst forward and find full-back, Patrick van Aanholt, who netted the winner in the 93rd minute, thumping in as the ball broke loose.

The result means United have picked up just one point from the last two matches and are showing they may struggle to get into the top four once again, a thought I had in pre-season.

Chelsea and Frank Lampard headed to Carrow Road to face a vibrant and confident Norwich side following their 3-1 win over Newcastle United looking for their first win of the season and Lampard’s first as a Premier League manager. Lampard continued to show faith in striker, Tammy Abraham and his decision paid off with the youngster scoring two excellent goals to open his Chelsea account. The first came after just three minutes, however, it didn’t take long for Norwich to hit back though, as just three minutes later, Todd Cantwell latched onto Teemu Pukki’s cut back.

Chelsea restored their lead 11 minutes after Cantwell’s equaliser for Norwich, Mount – cut inside the hosts’ defence and unleashed an unstoppable shot high into the net for his second goal of the season.

In a frantic first half Norwich equalised again and it was no surprise that it was Pukki, who scored his fifth goal of the season. Despite Norwich’s second leveller, Chelsea continued to pressure their opponents’ shaky defence; Mount and Christian Pulisic both saw efforts go wide within moments of the second half getting under way.

Abraham’s second goal saw him become the youngest Chelsea player to score twice in a Premier League fixture since 1998, twisting and turning and tying Grant Hanley and Jamal Lewis in knots before firing an unstoppable drive past Tim Krul.

The Blues thought they had scored again when Kurt Zouma poked a loose ball home, but it was ruled out by the video assistant referee after substitute Olivier Giroud was judged to have fouled the Norwich keeper, Tim Krul.

Lampard now has his all-important first win as Chelsea boss and will be looking to build on this victory.

Watford against West Ham is a match between two sides hoping to challenge in the top half of the league table.

However, only one of the two sides looked like they had that in them in this match at Vicarage Road and that was West Ham.

They have some terrific creative midfielders and their record signing striker, Sebastien Haller scored his first two goals for the Hammers as they ran out 3-1 winners.

Mark Noble’s third-minute penalty set West Ham on their way to their first win of the season after Manuel Lanzini had been fouled by Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Watford responded with a well-worked Andre Gray goal, with the forward drilling home a right-foot shot from Will Hughes’ pass.

It was then Haller who took centre stage as he led the line in exemplary fashion and contributed to all three West Ham goals. He displayed his predatory instincts that allowed him to comfortably claim his first goal for Manuel Pellegrini’s side before acrobatically doubling his tally.

Watford did create plenty of chances mainly through Gerard Deulofeu who had seven shots on goal, with only a close-range strike that hit the West Ham crossbar finding the target, alongside Hughes’ extraordinary miss from a yard out after Gray had squared the ball with the score at 1-1, that summed up the hosts’ lack of potency in attack.

At the other end the presence of Haller, Anderson and Lanzini provided too much power, pace and guile for the Watford defence to cope with. Gracia’s side now face a challenging sequence of fixtures – with a home game against Arsenal sandwiched between trips to Newcastle and reigning champions Manchester City – having shipped 41 goals in their last 18 matches.

At the same stage last term Watford had collected nine points after an impressive start, but a pointless return this time around represents a complete reversal of fortune.

Sheffield United were looking to back up their first win back in the top flight but came up against a Leicester City side that were just too good for them on the day.

Ayoze Perez robbed defender Chris Basham before James Maddison played a deft pass with the outside of his foot into space, allowing Jamie Vardy to race in and power home left footed. Vardy – a boyhood Sheffield Wednesday fan – had been booed throughout and duly cupped his ears in celebration. Billy Sharp and McBurnie’s second half introduction seemed to raise home spirits and suddenly Leicester’s midfield seemed unable to close spaces as quickly. It was Oliver McBurnie, who scored the equaliser from Sam Baldock’s pin-point delivery – proving why the Blades paid Swansea £20m for the striker.

They were level for just eight minutes, however, as substitute, Harvey Barnes, scored a marvellous winner six minutes after coming on, Barnes fired a half-volley from the edge of the box which flew past home keeper Dean Henderson.

Saturday’s final match saw a south coast derby as Brighton met Southampton, Brighton have started the season impressively, whilst Southampton headed into the encounter pointless and this showed in the early stages as Neil Maupay and Martin Montoya both had chances.

However, the game swung the visitors’ way when Florin Andone was dismissed following a rash challenge that left Yan Valery withering in agony near the halfway line. A challenge that Brighton manager Graham Potter said he “can’t defend”.

The Seagulls responded well, initially, with Lewis Dunk’s header chalked off by VAR, but the Saints capitalised on their numerical advantage in the second half. They took the lead through Moussa Djenepo, who came on as a substitute eight minutes into the second half and his impact was almost instant, cutting in from the left and curling into the top corner just two minutes after entering the fray.

A late Nathan Redmond goal secured the points for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.

Onto Sunday’s matches and a Tottenham Hotspur side buoyed by gaining a point at Manchester City took on a Newcastle United side with no points and were embarrassed by Norwich last weekend, surely this could only end one way. In fact, Newcastle looked like a completely different team from last weekend, credit to Steve Bruce for that, they were superb in defence and caused Spurs problems on the counter attack.

It was from one of these counters that they took a surprise lead through record signing Joelinton, this his first goal since joining. Spurs were caught with too many players forward and Joelinton controlled Christian Atsu’s through pass beautifully before drilling past Hugo Lloris.

Spurs enjoyed the majority of possession and territory but couldn’t find the creativity to unlock an excellent back five of Newcastle.

Cristian Eriksen and Giovani lo Celso, both started on the bench and came on together after an hours to try and add this creativity.

Lo Celso, nearly made the difference with a pass to Harry Kane in the penalty area and Kane went down under a challenge by Jamal Lascelles.

The Newcastle defender appeared to slip and dive across Kane, as he knew he had no chance of getting to the ball, clever or reckless the referee and the VAR decided it wasn’t a penalty.

Spurs created more opportunities the best of which fell to Lucas Moira, who shot over from eight yards after being found by former Newcastle player Moussa Sissoko, who was unsurprisingly roundly booed throughout by the toon army crowd.

Spurs couldn’t find a way through and from evidence of this and other weekend results we could be heading towards another two horse race for the title.

There was a meeting between the last two sides to finish 7th in the league at Molineux, where Burnley were the visitors to Wolves.

It was the Clarets who were the more effective side and eventually took the lead through an excellent strike from Ashley Barnes, his fourth goal in three Premier League games this season.

Burnley were denied a second goal when Rui Patricio produced an excellent save to keep out Chris Wood, while Ben Mee headed against the bar with the rebound coming off Wolves defender Ryan Bennett and hitting the post.

However, Wolves were awarded a penalty in the dying moments when Erik Pieters fouled Raul Jimenez.

After a video assistant referee check, Jimenez stepped up to calmly roll the ball past Nick Pope and earn Wolves a third successive Premier League draw.

Despite this lacklustre performance from Wolves, I wouldn’t be worried that they are set to suffer like Burnley did last season in the league due to being in European Competition.

The Final Match of the weekend was a routine win for champions Man City away at Bournemouth. Another goal apiece for Aguero and Sterling meant they lead 2-0 at half time. Bournemouth rallied and substitute Harry Wilson’s superb 25-yard free-kick raised hopes of a fight-back, However Aguero pounced for City’s third after good work from Silva. Wilsons strike means he has scored two stunners in his two first premier league matches.

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Walters to check in at the Stadium of Light!

Jon Walters is set to become Chris Coleman’s second signing as manager of Sunderland AFC after bringing in Jake Clarke-Salter on loan from Chelsea.
Walters is expected to join the Black Cats on an 18-month contract from Burnley he will replace the outgoing James Vaughan who joined League One club Wigan Athletic early on Friday afternoon.

The Republic of Ireland striker would be an excellent addition to the side as Sunderland are left with only one fit striker in the form of 18-year-old Josh Maja after Lewis Grabban cut his loan spell short earlier this month as he returned to parent club AFC Bournemouth.

Walters would certainly link up well with Sunderland and Irish teammate Aiden McGeady, Coleman has said he is “Pretty Close “to bringing two new strikers into the club and fans at the Stadium of Light are excited by the prospect of Walters leading the line.
Currently bottom of the Sky Bet Championship this is a major coup for the club showing that they are still looked upon as one of the biggest clubs in English football.

This is an excellent move for not only the club but the player as he was frozen out at Turf Moor due to injury earlier this season this will give him a chance to get his confidence back and he is sure to score plenty of goals in the second tier of English football.
Walters does not only bring goals but his hold up play is what Sunderland have lacked this campaign to his strength will bring the wingers into play to float more crosses into opposition boxes all over the country.

The 34 is sure to be a fans favourite as he never gives up on the pitch he puts 100% effort into every match he plays pressing opposition defenders high up the pitch.

This is one that Sunderland fans should get excited about.

 

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.

 

 

Is This The Year Leeds Go Up?

It is fair to say that when Thomas Christiansen was appointed Leeds United manager there was a lot of people sceptical at the challenge that lies ahead this season. As things stand Leeds are second in the Championship scoring 24 goals and conceding just 4 in all competitions in the process. 

Of course it is still early days in what is a gruelling Championship campaign. There has however been some serious improvements at Elland Road but the new signings out the equation the most surprising developments have been skipper Liam Cooper and young prospect Kalvin Phillips. The prosperous Phillips was not much in the picture at Leeds last season under Garry Monk but has started most of this campaign scoring three goals in the process. As well as this Liam Cooper, formerly vice captain, turned captain has really earned the plaudits at Leeds this season with some inspiring performances. Cooper was described by Monk as one of the best defenders in the league that does not start matches and has really stepped up to the mark since the departure of Kyle Bartley.

If Leeds are to be successful this season they need to be able to bounce back from defeat which will of course come. It has been a stunning start to the season for the Yorkshire side but they are going to have to be consistent and grind out results when necessary. The phrase ‘dare to dream’ has been heard enough at Leeds which have often been turned to nightmares. Although, after the terrific display of attacking football that the Elland Road faithful were treated to on Saturday afternoon it may actually be a blessing in disguise selling Chris Wood to Burnley.

It is definitely too early to tell, but Director of football, Victor Orta has demonstrated a shrewd eye for a player with some remarkable dealings in this transfer window. The selling of Chris Wood was definitely a test but Leeds have done everything right so far. There are certainly, as always, uncertain times ahead for Leeds United fans and whatever the long and short term future may be, there is one thing for certain, it is going to be an incredible season ahead in the Championship.

Leeds fans is the year you get promoted back to the Premier League? Let us know in the comments section…