Hi! Following a wild win over Everton with defeat at Norwich leaves us in a deep hole.
Burnley are in a similar spot to last week: four points adrift, with eight games to go.
But perspective is everything and Burnley’s hopes of survival, given such a massive shot in the arm at Turf Moor on Wednesday, were dealt a severe blow on Sunday.
Since the twin wins over Brighton and Spurs in February, Burnley have taken just four points from seven games. That is a long way from the form we need to climb the table.
Under Sean Dyche, Burnley traditionally beat the teams at the bottom of the league.
But that has not been the case this season. After three games against Norwich and Watford, our neighbours in the bottom three, we have two points to show for them.
No goals scored in any of those three key games highlights our primary issue and with blanks in five of our past six league games that trend is only pointing in one direction.
Burnley have also failed to score against Brentford and Newcastle, two teams that at times have looked to be relegation rivals, but are now sitting in positions of safety.
We have failed to score in half of our league games. It is no wonder we are struggling.
The turnaround from the crazy scenes at the Turf last week is really hard to fathom. Maxwel Cornet’s late winner left Everton’s players flat on the ground. Any neutral fan watching the end of that match would have put the momentum firmly on our side.
But, before we played again, that four-point gap was restored. Everton needed a bit of luck to beat an awful Manchester United side, while Leeds easily disposed of Watford.
While it is fair to say Burnley’s fate was - and still is - in our hands, it felt like a body blow to be a point of safety on Saturday morning and four adrift again hours later.
The games Burnley have to come are not daunting on paper, but needing three or four wins to give us a chance is a big ask when we have only won four from 30 games so far.
There will never be a better time to go to West Ham than directly after they have played in Europe, while all four of our home games are against sides with little left to play for, though Wolves still have a chance of earning Europa League qualification.
You can’t count results before they have hatched (or something) but if Burnley were going to design a run in to produce a Great Escape, it would look a lot like the games we have on the schedule. Clutching at straws? Perhaps! But I am getting desperate.
Out-fought and out-thought
At Carrow Road, it was the same story as all season, with slackness at both ends.
The opening goal was a little lucky, with a deflection taking the ball away from Nick Pope, but Burnley failed to clear their lines or make a good enough effort to block. As against Everton, Burnley panicked after conceding and fell to bits, losing composure.
Cornet’s miss after superb work from substitute Dwight McNeil will be remembered as a defining moment of the season, if we are indeed to be relegated. If that sitter goes in, as it should have, you would probably back Burnley to go on and win the game.
But that was one of the few openings Burnley created against the worst defence in the league. Norwich concede on average over two goals a game, but Tim Krul had next to nothing to do behind their Championship defence of Ben Gibson and Grant Hanley.
Like most Burnley fans, I am absolutely sick of that awful midfield partnership of Ashley Westwood and Josh Brownhill. Dyche refuses to play Jack Cork, who helped us to take seven points from three games when Westwood had Covid, which is just mad.
I also didn’t particularly understand the change at right-back, which felt like a change for the sake of being seen to be making a change, rather than being logical. Connor Roberts did struggle against Everton and it was the right call to take him off. But Norwich do not have a Richarlison and we needed much more attacking thrust. Matt Lowton did nothing to justify his selection, with none of his seven (!) crosses accurate.
Having McNeil on the bench is just cutting off our nose to spite our face. I really feel like McNeil is being made a scapegoat. We show no creativity, so don’t start the main creative player in the squad? It doesn’t make an iota of sense to me. McNeil looked sharp and hungry when brought on at Norwich after Aaron Lennon had been lifeless.
I don’t know what to make of Wout Weghorst, a giant striker who wins nothing in the air. He certainly doesn’t look like that ‘upgrade on Chris Wood’, but the service to him has been appalling, to be fair, and we never play to his strengths (whatever they are).
Meanwhile, Teemu Pukki is decent, but we managed to make him look world-class.
The jig seemed up before his late second clinched the points for Norwich, but it was yet another goal conceded thanks to an error from Charlie Taylor, who spends more time in the wrong position than in the right place, that guaranteed our latest defeat. Taylor was also a little fortunate his clumsy foul on Pukki was just outside the box.
Taylor will have to play at West Ham due to a lack of alternatives with Erik Pieters out, but hopefully Ben Mee will be back to stiffen up the defence. Roberts should also be recalled. I could make a case for dropping Westwood, Lennon and Weghorst too.
If it’s basically the same team again at West Ham, you wonder what Dyche is watching.
A lack of quality in the squad is nothing new - take your pick for who to blame! - but at Norwich we were out-fought and out-thought. That simply is not good enough.
Tweet of the week
I would hazard a wild guess at eight more times before the end of the season…
Podcasts and quiz question
An analysis show will be out in due course. Listen to the preview show ahead of the West Ham game - probably out on Thursday - for the answer to this week’s quiz:
Prior to Chris Wood's goal in Burnley's away win at Norwich in July 2020, who was the only other Burnley player to have scored a top-flight goal for the Clarets at Norwich City, and what was the year?
I am also on this week’s EPL Round Table podcast, talking all things Premier League.
Birthdays and anniversaries
Former Clarets Steven Defour and Tom Heaton both have their birthdays on Good Friday - they will be 34 and 36 respectively. Aaron Lennon is 35 on Saturday too.
A couple of recent defeats #OnThisDay so let’s look back to 1998 and this 1-0 home win over Bristol City. One of the great BFC kits, that Endsleigh number…
Mark wrote in after Sunday’s shambolic display at Carrow Road:
I can't believe that after we beat Everton Wednesday night, we get beat by, let's face it the worst team in the league, the table doesn't lie where their position is, was a right shame. I'm so pissed off right now - no fight, no cohesion until McNeil came on we just didn't have a clue, I wanna swear right now. I've had to finally admit after that shambles that we're going down. I've not been one saying Dyche out. But why does he he always play that piece of crap Westwood over Cork who in my opinion is a all round better player. I'm lost for words right now I did post something on twitter about the situation, right now I'm one sad claret.
I’m a sad claret today too and you know my thoughts on the Cork/Westwood debate! I had to laugh when the pundit on Sky said Westwood was having a good game. Natalie reckoned he got mixed up with Lowton, but he was pretty rubbish too so god knows.
That’s it for this week. Hopefully next week’s edition will be slightly less depressing.
Thought of the day
Why on earth is Josh Brownhill taking our free kicks? Answers on a postcard, please.