Burnley’s appalling run of form continued this weekend, with a dreadful display at Crystal Palace.
The Clarets were easily beaten by a rampant Palace side and the 2-0 scoreline absolutely flattered Burnley.
After the game, Clarets boss Sean Dyche said that his team have lost their “eye of the tiger” following the defeat. To most Clarets supporters however, they’ve lost the eye of the tiger, its teeth, its tail and all its stripes. Frankly, this was the worst performance yet during this poor run – and that’s saying something, given the abject lack of quality on offer, during a run that extends back into last season. Yesterday Burnley deserved nothing and got nothing.
By the time Palace took an early lead after James McArthur’s cross eluded everyone to tamely drift in at the back post, Burnley ought to have been already trailing.
Palace created chance after chance after chance, before Andros Townsend added a second with an excellent left footed finish with 12 minutes remaining. Both he and Wilfrid Zaha ran riot – they had an absolute field day. You have to say, that had Palace not been so wasteful, six or seven goals would not have been undeserved.
Aside from Palace’s woeful finishing, Burnley have three players to thank for the game not becoming an absolute rout – Joe Hart, who made several excellent saves; and both Kevin Long and Charlie Taylor, who both put in valiant, though futile, shifts.
None of the remainder of the team would score more than five out of ten for yesterday’s performances. The immobile Chris Wood was absolutely ineffectual again and inexplicably kept his place ahead of Sam Vokes, who had played very well and scored against Newcastle. Jack Cork remains desperately short of form and I lost count of the number of times Robbie Brady gave the ball away.
In the last section of the game, Burnley got forward a little which enabled them to register four shots – all of which were tame and none of which were on target. This compares with Palace’s 29 shots.
Rumours have been circulating for weeks of dressing room unrest and players having fallen out. Whether or not this is true remains to be seen, but it’s clear that this is not the team of last season that had Sean Dyche’s character oozing out of its every pour. The work rate, the aggression, the willingness to put bodies on the line and the determination to make Burnley difficult to beat – all seem to have disappeared.
Inevitably in some quarters there are calls for the manager to go. It seems a certainty that this won’t happen – the Burnley board tend not to make knee jerk reactions and always give managers time. In addition, Dyche has given Burnley six years of progress that few Clarets could have imagined. He absolutely deserves his chance to turn this round.
For their part, Burnley’s notoriously miserly board need to recognise that change is required and that the manager needs their full support in the January transfer window, without which Burnley’s Premier League adventure is drifting towards a dismal and untimely conclusion.