Share this page :
FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

It’s difficult to believe that as we go into our home game tomorrow against West Ham United, we are still searching for our first home point of the season on what is the final weekend of November.

Manchester City, Aston Villa, Spurs, Manchester United, Chelsea and Crystal Palace have all been to the Turf this season and beaten us while those who come up with daft records will report that it is now eight on the spin in the Premier League given that the final two home games of the 2021/22 season against Aston Villa and Newcastle were also lost.

It’s a frightening statistic no matter how you look at it and it means we are currently bottom of the table with four points, those won away from home with a draw at Nottingham Forest and a win at Luton.

Since we last played, Everton have had ten points deducted and even at this stage of the season they still sit above us on goal difference with their four remaining points but unless the points deduction adversely affects their form, you wouldn’t have thought they would be down there for long which leaves the others in that group, notably Bournemouth, Luton, Sheffield United and ourselves very vulnerable.

We’ve had bad starts in this league before and survived but the lowest of them was nine points in the 2018/19 season and we know that it took a remarkable 28 points haul in the second half of the season to keep us clear although we were, by then, six points ahead of 18th place Cardiff and a million miles ahead of Fulham and Huddersfield.

The situation as it stands means we really do have to start picking up points very quickly and it might be worth noting that the turnaround in that season five years ago came when West Ham visited the Turf for the final game of 2018, the game when Sean Dyche recalled Tom Heaton and brought in Dwight McNeil. Goals from Chris Wood and McNeil gave us a 2-0 win on a day when we were just far better than West Ham.

It would be good if we could start to turn the corner again with a game against West Ham. Just two players from that game approaching five years ago are still with the club, Charlie Taylor and Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson and for the second game in succession it was Guðmundsson who spoke to the media this week following his return from international duty with Iceland.

Embed from Getty Images
JBG said: “I feel good, I’m looking forward to being back and playing in the Premier League. Two home games coming up, two extremely important games, starting off with West Ham.

“Every game is extremely difficult in the Premier League but we know we could have done a bit better in a few of our home games, but after every game we try to learn, we try to get better and that’s what we’ve been trying to do. Hopefully we can put out a great performance, a performance of a good defensive set up, attacking and scoring goals as well. It’s about getting the balance right and we’ve been working extremely hard on that and hopefully we get the three points.”

Guðmundsson has been back in the side for the last three Burnley games and added two more games to that for Iceland against Slovakia and Portugal, playing the full ninety minutes in both of those games which have taken his international appearances to 88 while he’s now made 180 league appearances for the Clarets.

Having started the last three games, I’d expect him to be in the team tomorrow but there are often surprises when the team is announced an hour before kick off. Last time out at Arsenal, the surprise came when we had the same starting eleven as in the previous game against Crystal Palace.

Jack Cork, we have now learned, is injured but there is no news of any other players now ruled out,  with those who have been injured on the way back and with Aaron Ramsey and Michael Obafemi, they were both used as substitutes at Arsenal. Added to that, Hjalmar Ekdal and Darko Churlinov have been away on international duty and, as far as we know, Manuel Benson came through his under-21 run out. There has been a suggestion that Arijanet Muric, who was missing at Arsenal because of an early international call, has been ill so he could be missing.

As a reminder, our team at Arsenal was: James Trafford, Vitinho, Dara O’Shea, Jordan Beyer, Charlie Taylor, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, Sander Berge, Josh Brownhill, Luca Koleosho, Zeki Amdouni, Jay Rodriguez. Subs: Lawrence Vigouroux, Connor Roberts, Hannes Delcroix, Josh Cullen, Aaron Ramsey, Nathan Redmond, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Wilson Odobert, Michael Obafemi.

West Ham kicked off the season well in the league, drawing their opening game at Bournemouth and following that up with three successive wins against Chelsea, Luton and Brighton. They actually sat on top of the league after the Brighton win, for a day at least, until both Manchester City and Spurs moved ahead of them.

It’s not quite been as good as that since with only two more wins in eight games. They beat Sheffield United at the London Stadium on the last day in September and last time out they won 3-2 at Nottingham Forest.

Away from home, it all started well for them with the draw at Bournemouth and two of those early wins coming on the road at Luton and Brighton. Since, they’ve not been able to maintain that having lost away games at Liverpool, Aston Villa and Brentford.

They are currently in ninth place in the table. They can only potentially move up one place this weekend but could drop four places with a defeat and the four teams directly below them gaining positive results.

West Ham definitely score more goals than us. To date they have netted 21 in the Premier League this season. Seven of the eight teams above them have scored more but none of the eleven teams below them.

Embed from Getty Images
Seven different players have scored those goals with Jarrod Bowen on eight leading the way. Tomáš Soucek with three is the only other player with more than two goals.

Defensively, they are not up there with the best. Only Bournemouth, Sheffield United and ourselves have conceded more than the 22 Premier League goals they let in this season and their 2-0 win against Sheffield United is the only occasion they have kept a clean sheet.

West Ham’s Pablo Fornals (pictured above), speaking ahead of the fixture, warned of a potential difficult afternoon at Burnley. He said: “I know they’ve not had the best start to the season and have struggled a bit for points, but you can see what they are trying to do. They treat the ball well and want to play goo football. They have a consistent philosophy that has worked for them.

“We need to go there, implement our style and play our way. We want to come back from Turf Moor with the three points. It’s not an easy place to go. Yes, there have been some changes up there but it’s still a very difficult place to go.”

West Ham have been able to boast the best record in the Premier League this season as far as injuries are concerned with David Moyes often being able to select from a full strength squad.

That’s not the case tomorrow with players having returned from international duty. Michail Antonio, who has scored six goals against Burnley, four of them in the Premier League for West Ham, is definitely out but they are expecting both Jarrod Bowen and Nayef Aguerd to be able to play.

Moyes has two former Burnley players in his squad. Danny Ings has been used exclusively as a substitute this season, coming on eight times but Maxwel Cornet’s only Premier League appearance this season was as an 89th minute substitute for Lucas Paquetá on the opening day of the season. Both started their 1-0 win at Lincoln in the League Cup while Ings was also a starter against Olympacios last month. Ings has scored two Premier League goals for West Ham, both in a 4-0 home win against Nottingham Forest last February; Cornet is still to score a goal for West Ham.

West Ham’s last Premier League game, the 3-2 win against Forest, saw them line up: Alphonse Areola, Vladimir Coufal, Kurt Zouma, Nayef Aguerd, Emerson, Edson Álvarez, James Ward-Prowse, Mohammed Kudus, Tomáš Souček, Lucas Paquetá, Jarrod Bowen. Subs: Lukas Fabianski, Aaron Cresswell, Pablo Fornals, Michail Antonio, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Danny Ings, Angelo Ogbonna, Said Benrahma, Thilo Kehrer.

 

LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE

 

West Ham’s last visit to the Turf proved to be our final game before Christmas in 2021 due to the following two games both suffering late postponements.

We’d scored three goals in each of our two previous home games but at no point did that ever look likely in a game that ended 0-0 and looked as if it was going to be a 0-0 draw from very early in the game.

Embed from Getty Images
West Ham thought they should have had a first half penalty for a Dwight McNeil foul on Craig Dawson. I did too but referee Graham Scott didn’t and neither did Jon Moss from the VAR hub.

We were poor in the first half and thankful to be level but much improved after the break and by the end we did deserve the point that we won, but this was no classic with the clean sheet, only our third all season, the real positive.

The teams were;

Burnley: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, Ashley Westwood (Josh Brownhill 71), Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil (Aaron Lennon 88), Jay Rodriguez, Chris Wood (Matěj Vydra 60). Subs not used: Wayne Hennessey, Phil Bardsley, Nathan Collins, Kevin Long, Bobby Thomas, Erik Pieters.

West Ham: Lukas Fabianski, Vladimir Coufal, Craig Dawson, Issa Diop, Arthur Masuaka, Tómás Souček, Declan Rice, Jarrod Bowen, Manuel Lanzini (Pablo Fornals 80), Said Benrahma (Nikola Vlašić 70), Michail Antonio. Subs not used: Alphonse Areola, Mark Noble, Alex Král, Andriy Yarmolenko, Aji Alese, Harrison Ashby, Jamal Baptiste.

Follow UpTheClarets:
FacebooktwitterFacebooktwitter


Share this page :
FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail