Burnley turned in a disappointing performance on Saturday as we were felled 1-0 by Crystal Palace. We were lucky to escape the first half 1-0 down but had some chances to equalise in the second – but overall we were poor.
I said earlier in the season that our performances and results were exactly matching our lofty league position, but of late we have failed to brush aside sides we should really be capitalising upon. Palace were on a good run of form, but they had so many absent first-team players it was a real opportunity to give it a good go. We failed to do that.
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Injuries have plagued us in the last few months, with Stephen Ward and Chris Wood still out injured from what seemed like fairly innocuous injuries at the time.
Georges-Kevin Nkoudou made his first appearance and looked tricky and useful in his cameo role, I think he has a role to play once he gets up to speed and fit enough – Dyche obviously rates him to give him a go so early on in his Burnley career – most players take time to bed in.
I think we are really missing width and creativity, something solved in part by the Nkoudou signing, however we could do with another injection of speed on the opposite flank for sure. I am not averse to the Aaron Lennon rumour – I think he still has something to offer at this level.
AS IT HAPPENED: Crystal Palace v Burnley
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If we are serious about finishing 7th and claiming a Europa League spot, we need to get players in to match that ambition. We are not going to go down, even with our latest form (no wins in six now) so we should be using that to our advantage. Only Leicester and Everton could be as confident as us in that assumption, so we should be able to offer players that security that other teams cannot – this might be our best chance to do that.
Another centre-half is important as cover. However, a position that would really improve the team is an attacking central midfielder. Jeff Hendrick is a very good player but his skill-set just isn’t suited to the number 10 role he is currently playing. We need a Jack Wilshere-type player to thread the intricate balls and dictate our attacking plays. I’m not suggesting we bring in Wilshere of course, but a player of that ilk with real quality could be the missing link that keeps us soaring in the league.
It’s definitely not a time to panic but we are in our rights to question the team when we haven’t played well. Let’s make the most of the position we have fought so hard to get into and bring in some reinforcements to finish the job.