Up for the cup
Plus: Putting the PL on notice
Hi! Today we have Jaron Vail - a USA-based Claret - writing for us again on his experiences following the team from afar. First up, me on tonight’s cup game.
Up for the cup
I’m really looking forward to tonight’s game - a change of pace from the league.
With promotion virtually assured already, this is a great chance for a proper cup run.
And not to count chickens - he says, having already pointed out we are up with 17 games to go - but the draw has really opened up for the Clarets. Two wins at home to League One teams would put Burnley into the quarter-finals.
I’m sure most of us remember the string of limp exits during the Sean Dyche era, though, so it is important that nobody gets carried away just yet.
But the weekend win at Norwich just showed how relentless we are right now.
Rumours of a depleted squad came to little as, even with a few key players missing, Burnley eased to a 3-0 victory against a side supposedly also challenging to go up.
With such a comfortable cushion to third place, Vincent Kompany might even be tempted to shift priority to the cup, though there is a big derby game on Saturday.
It’s more likely that tonight’s game will be used as a chance to blood some new faces such as Lyle Foster and Ameen Al-Dakhil, while Vitinho and Darko Churlinov are among those who could probably do with a start to improve their fitness levels.
I’d like to see Scott Twine get a run. There’s a lot of mumbling about Twine lacking physicality, but he was the best player in League One last season. If we don’t trust him to play against League One opposition, then I’m wondering when we ever will.
Putting the Premier League on notice
When you talk about football in the States, people usually bring up the ‘Big Six’ Premier League clubs. When I mention that I follow Burnley, I usually get a blank stare or a sarcastic ‘Oh, that’s cool.’
But, as I armchair follow from the States, I see several important characteristics that many of the ‘Big Six’ lack: grit, perseverance, a firm belief in themselves and their coach, just to name a few.
The January transfer business and the recent run of form is a great example of what is to come when, knock on the metaphorical piece of wood, Burnley are back in the Premier League next season.
The owners are committed to plugging holes, the coach is committed to getting the best out of the diverse talent in the dressing room, and the players are committed to winning. Winning each ball, each corner, and each one-on-one battle.
This team is forming an identity that can and will be very competitive at the next level and, let’s be honest, the talent from top to bottom in the Premier League can be very underwhelming most of the time.
Sounds strange and somewhat nonsensical, but I think going down to the Championship the way the Clarets did last season created a much needed learning experience. It has given the club a chance to refocus and Kompany a chance to make his mark on the team without worrying about relegation battles.
I may be getting ahead of myself, but it will feel so good to be at the bar, beer in hand, proudly bringing up Burnley in another mundane Premier League conversation.
For goodness sake, I could use a moment like that.
Adam’s new newsletter covering football from a LGBTQ+ perspective continues. His latest post is about confronting homophobia at a Burnley game. Give it a read.
That’s it for this week. As always, feel free to get in touch with any feedback.