In speaking with the media following a 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace a little over two weeks ago, Burnley manager Sean Dyche chose to praise his side’s ability to keep clean sheets over their nagging lack of goals.
That Palace stalemate was the second of three consecutive scoreless games the Clarets had taken part in and, following their 4-0 humbling to West Brom at the weekend, they are now six games into a scoreless streak in all competitions.
Dyche’s strategy for survival this term is clear, preferring to keep things tight defensively and eking out results, rather than playing a braver brand of football.
No team, no matter how defensively drilled they are, can go through a season keeping endless clean sheets. Eventually goals are needed.
If anything, a side that contains essentially the same playing squad from their season in the Championship is more likely to make an error at the back when playing at a higher level.
When that happened against the Baggies, there was no change of emphasis and no attempt to chase a goal and get back into the match.
If the current 4/11 relegation certs are to battle to safety, Eagles-style, then they’ll need to release more midfielders from their defensive shackles to stream forward in support of the lone striker.
Games against Palace, West Brom and Sunderland – three sides Dyche would expect to battle for survival – have now all passed with Burnley collecting just two points.
It’s essential that, if against no other clubs, the Turf Moor side attack those teams around them to pick up vital points.
Another opportunity to do that presents itself instantaneously in the form of Leicester, who Burnley are 7/2 to beat.
As fellow Championship alumni, Leicester have taken a similar approach to Burnley at the back.
However, they’ve supplemented the uniformity in their back-four from last term by spending big on goalscorer Leonardo Ulloa. Burnley may have no choice but to follow suit come January.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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