Burnley

Burnley slideshow

Sergio Aguero equals Man City's all-time scoring record

The striker has equalled a record that took 11 years to set and has stood for 78 years by scoring against Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday

Sergio Aguero equals Man City's all-time scoring record

The striker has equalled a record that took 11 years to set and has stood for 78 years by scoring against Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday

Sergio Aguero equals Man City's all-time scoring record

The striker has equalled a record that took 11 years to set and has stood for 78 years by scoring against Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday

Sergio Aguero equals Man City's all-time scoring record

The striker has equalled a record that took 11 years to set and has stood for 78 years by scoring against Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday

Sergio Aguero equals Man City's all-time scoring record

The striker has equalled a record that took 11 years to set and has stood for 78 years by scoring against Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday

Manchester City vs Burnley live score and goal updates from all Premier League 3pm matches

3:30PM GOAL! Sergio Agüero scores for Man City to make it 1-0! Man City 1 - 0 Burnley (Sergio Agüero, 30 min) 3:25PM OWN GOAL! Calamity for Federico Fernández, who puts the ball past his own goalkeeper to make it 0-1. Swansea 0 - 1 Leicester (Federico Fernández, 25 min) 3:23PM Swansea hit back Swansea have their first shot at goal, while Leicester have registered four efforts so far. Swansea vs Leicester shots on goal 3:18PM Crystal Palace threaten for the first time Following the earlier Newcastle effort, Crystal Palace register their first attempt at goal. Newcastle vs Crystal Palace shots on goal 3:18PM GOAL! Bournemouth have doubled their lead, and it's Junior Stanislas with the goal to make it 0-2. Stoke 0 - 2 Bournemouth (Junior Stanislas, 18 min) 3:16PM Neither Newcastle or Crystal Palace are testing the goalkeepers so far Not much to do for either keeper at St. James' Park - Newcastle and Crystal Palace keeping each other at bay. Newcastle vs Crystal Palace shots on goal 3:16PM GOAL! Bournemouth take an early lead and they have Andrew Surman to thank for it: 0-1. Stoke 0 - 1 Bournemouth (Andrew Surman, 16 min) 3:16PM It's been a shot-shy start to Stoke v Bournemouth Tense opening quarter of an hour at bet365 Stadium, as Stoke and Bournemouth struggle to get shots on goal Stoke vs Bournemouth shots on goal 3:14PM Man City enjoying plenty of touches of the ball so far. Man City have had 138 touches of the ball compared to 48 by Burnley. Man City vs Burnley 3:07PM Man City have their first strike at goal Man City respond to the earlier Burnley effort with their first shot of the game. Man City vs Burnley shots on goal 3:00PM Kick off: Newcastle vs Crystal Palace They're off and running at St. James' Park. 3:00PM Kick off: Man City vs Burnley We're under way at Etihad Stadium. 3:00PM Kick off: Swansea vs Leicester They're off and running at Liberty Stadium. 3:00PM Kick off: Stoke vs Bournemouth They're off and running at bet365 Stadium. 2:11PM Match preview - Man City vs Burnley Pep Guardiola is anticipating a dip in Manchester City's form sooner or later. But the City boss is convinced his side are fully equipped to ensure any downturn can be overcome. City have made an exhilarating start to the season and top the Premier League with 22 points from a possible 24, scoring 29 goals in their eight games. Recent weeks have seen them rack up big wins against Liverpool (5-0), Watford (6-0), Crystal Palace (5-0) and Stoke (7-2). In addition they also beat champions Chelsea last month and have opened their Champions League campaign with three wins from three. The plaudits are pouring in but Guardiola accepts his team will come unstuck at some point. "That's going to happen," he said. "We are in October. We cannot expect to finish the season like we have done in the last month when we won all the games. It's impossible in football in the high level. "But I want to see how we are going to react in that moment when we drop points. "We will see how strong we are because teams always show in the bad moments. "I'm optimistic because the way we reacted at 3-2 against Stoke was so good."

LIVE: Manchester City vs Burnley

Pep Guardiola's league leaders welcome the Clarets to the Etihad Stadium, with the visitors still unbeaten away from home - follow the action LIVE!

Manchester City team news: Aguero returns from injury to start against Burnley

The Argentina international had been out of action due to an injury he suffered in a car crash but replaces Gabriel Jesus in the line up

Manchester City vs Burnley live score and goal updates from all Premier League 3pm matches

Manchester City team news: Aguero returns from injury to start against Burnley

The Argentina international had been out of action due to an injury he suffered in a car crash but replaces Gabriel Jesus in the line up

Manchester City vs Burnley LIVE score: Premier League 2017-18 goal updates and team news at Etihad Stadium

Manchester City vs Burnley LIVE score: Premier League 2017-18 goal updates and team news at Etihad Stadium

Manchester City vs Burnley LIVE score: Premier League 2017-18 goal updates and team news at Etihad Stadium

Pep Guardiola warns Manchester City that title is not won in October

Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players they will run into trouble but the manager is convinced his free-scoring side are better equipped to cope with a setback than last season. City claimed their 10th successive win with a 2-1 victory over Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday and face Burnley at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon, a week on from thrashing Stoke City 7-2 to take their goals tally to 29 in eight league outings. It was after a run of 10 consecutive victories last season that the wheels began to fall off, with City failing to win any of their next six matches and going on to finish the campaign empty-handed. But while the Catalan anticipates problems at some point, he also believes there is greater resilience and quality in his team this time around. “That [a blip] is going to happen,” Guardiola said. “We are in October and we cannot expect to finish the season like we have done in the last month, when we won all the games, it’s impossible in football at the high level. “But I want to see how we are ­going to react in that moment we drop points. We will see how strong we are because teams always show [their character] in the bad ­moments. When everything is going well, it’s important, but it doesn’t count for much. How you do in the bad moments is important. Guardiola was delighted by De Bruyne's selflessness as well as his excellence against Stoke Credit: OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images “That is why I’m optimistic ­because the way we reacted when Stoke came back to 3-2 [from 3-0 down] was so good. After 3-2, one minute later, Kevin [De Bruyne] had a chance to score the fourth and after he gave the assist to Gabriel [Jesus] for the fourth. “If you want to become a strong team you have to react in a bad ­moment immediately but we know about that. We spoke about that last season.” Guardiola believes it is futile to discuss the prospect of City dominating English football when they have yet to win the title under him. “To dominate before you had to win titles and when you win, you have to win the second one, the third one and the fourth one,” he said. “When that happens you can be considered dominant, but not one team has won a title in October,” he added. “There’s no sense to talk about that. “Of course we are in good shape, in good momentum, but to say dominate you need a lot of titles. Not one, not two, a lot and still we haven’t won one. “The best way to grow is to handle a game every three days, and win games, and be good, and be solid. We did it in August and September and we will see if we are able to do it in October.” Sergio Agüero could return to the starting XI against Burnley after being an unused substitute against Stoke and Napoli following his recovery from the fractured rib suffered in a car crash in Amsterdam last month. But Vincent Kompany remains sidelined as concerns grow over the extent of the calf injury that has now kept him out for more than six weeks, around twice the time that was initially expected. “He is not ready, not yet,” Guardiola said. When pressed on whether he had an idea of when the Belgium centre-half would be available again, the City manager replied: “No.”

Pep Guardiola warns Manchester City that title is not won in October

Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players they will run into trouble but the manager is convinced his free-scoring side are better equipped to cope with a setback than last season. City claimed their 10th successive win with a 2-1 victory over Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday and face Burnley at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon, a week on from thrashing Stoke City 7-2 to take their goals tally to 29 in eight league outings. It was after a run of 10 consecutive victories last season that the wheels began to fall off, with City failing to win any of their next six matches and going on to finish the campaign empty-handed. But while the Catalan anticipates problems at some point, he also believes there is greater resilience and quality in his team this time around. “That [a blip] is going to happen,” Guardiola said. “We are in October and we cannot expect to finish the season like we have done in the last month, when we won all the games, it’s impossible in football at the high level. “But I want to see how we are ­going to react in that moment we drop points. We will see how strong we are because teams always show [their character] in the bad ­moments. When everything is going well, it’s important, but it doesn’t count for much. How you do in the bad moments is important. Guardiola was delighted by De Bruyne's selflessness as well as his excellence against Stoke Credit: OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images “That is why I’m optimistic ­because the way we reacted when Stoke came back to 3-2 [from 3-0 down] was so good. After 3-2, one minute later, Kevin [De Bruyne] had a chance to score the fourth and after he gave the assist to Gabriel [Jesus] for the fourth. “If you want to become a strong team you have to react in a bad ­moment immediately but we know about that. We spoke about that last season.” Guardiola believes it is futile to discuss the prospect of City dominating English football when they have yet to win the title under him. “To dominate before you had to win titles and when you win, you have to win the second one, the third one and the fourth one,” he said. “When that happens you can be considered dominant, but not one team has won a title in October,” he added. “There’s no sense to talk about that. “Of course we are in good shape, in good momentum, but to say dominate you need a lot of titles. Not one, not two, a lot and still we haven’t won one. “The best way to grow is to handle a game every three days, and win games, and be good, and be solid. We did it in August and September and we will see if we are able to do it in October.” Sergio Agüero could return to the starting XI against Burnley after being an unused substitute against Stoke and Napoli following his recovery from the fractured rib suffered in a car crash in Amsterdam last month. But Vincent Kompany remains sidelined as concerns grow over the extent of the calf injury that has now kept him out for more than six weeks, around twice the time that was initially expected. “He is not ready, not yet,” Guardiola said. When pressed on whether he had an idea of when the Belgium centre-half would be available again, the City manager replied: “No.”

Exclusive - Sean Dyche: 'We don't do blind faith, we do authentic optimism' 

Sean Dyche is explaining the nature of “positive realities”, the phrase he uses for being honest with his players about the challenge they face at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday against a Manchester City team that are not just top of the Premier League but playing like they very much intend to stay there. The Burnley manager has not built the career he has now from being unrealistic about his teams’ capabilities and in his third season as a Premier League manager, it is impossible to ignore how far he has come. After Craig Shakespeare’s sacking at Leicester City this week we are down to four permanent English top-flight managers, and top of them all is Dyche with a side that has lost just once in the league this season and begin the day in seventh place. Pep Guardiola’s team currently look like they could dismantle most sides in Europe and yet, as the City manager will know from the narrow margins of victory over Burnley last season, Dyche is quite capable of finding ways to compete. The 46-year-old shakes his head at the suggestion that this game represents a free hit for his club. “Don’t think we just do five-a-sides all week and say ‘Oh well, roll out and hope for the best’. We want to do our job, and deliver a performance. That’s important.” As that rare thing, an English manager in the Premier League, Dyche’s career has been one in which he has had to survive first and learn fast, through two promotions and one relegation with Burnley.  Ten years ago last summer a casual chat with Aidy Boothroyd on a bench at the Watford training ground persuaded the latter to appoint Dyche as the Under-18s coach. Ironic, really, Dyche reflects - Boothroyd had not wanted him as a player but was big enough to see his qualities as a coach. So began the journey that led to Burnley, where he will pass his fifth anniversary as manager next week, after the meeting with Guardiola. Last year they bumped into each other after the game at Turf Moor, a 2-1 win for the away side, and Guardiola told Dyche how his team had been unable to “dominate” Burnley. The City manager acknowledged he had faced a team who were well-drilled and knew their jobs to the last detail. Dyche is not a man who requires a pat on the head but this compliment, from one coach to the next, resonated with him. Dyche still talks to his old Chesterfield manager John Duncan, a man it took him a year to grasp Credit: PAUL COOPER for the Telegraph “We don’t do blind faith, we do authentic optimism,” he says. “There’s no point saying, ‘City are not all that’, because they are. We don’t do nonsense. We tell the players the truth. ‘This is a very good side with good individuals, a good structure, they are tighter than they were out of possession and more open in possession. Now what are we going to do?’ “Positive realities. What are the things we can do to take on the challenge? There’s no ‘Come on lads! Let’s do it! And if we think positively we will win!’ It just doesn’t work like that. There has to be more to it. The teams that you come across, they are not physically super-human, they are just very good. So it is asking what do we about that. How do we take on the challenge?” The solutions that Dyche has found to the issue of keeping Burnley competitive in the top-flight have looked increasingly attractive to others. He has been installed as the bookies’ favourite for the King Power job and the prejudices some might have held about a former lower league defender with a cement-mixer voice are gradually evaporating with Burnley’s relative success on a shoestring budget. Dyche, who first took Burnley up in 2014, has spent five productive years at Turf Moor Credit: Action Images / Paul Currie Dyche is aware of what he calls the “myths” around him, and he mentions them often. That he keeps the same players – “only six of the 22 from when I started are still here, so something’s changed!” That he does not like signing foreign players – “A good player is a good player, it’s just that we cannot afford signings that do not work”. That he is a 4-4-2 man – “we adjust and flex it”. And you can see quickly why players do stay: Dyche considers their development the most rewarding part of his job. He comes from Kettering, where his father Alan was a consultant in the steel industry and his mother Patsy stitched the bench-made shoes for which Northamptonshire is famous. Guardiola may have the hoodies, and the skinny jeans, but no manager knows real shoes like Dyche. He reels off the names, Cheaney, Church’s, John Lobb, Jeffery West. His mother stitched the early Dunlop boots worn by Trevor Brooking and Dyche is also a 1980s football boot connoisseur, a man who knows his Adidas Profi from his Stratos SL but is adamant that nothing beats a pair of World Cups. He recalls calling home from a tour in France with Nottingham Forest’s youth team when he complained to his father that a favourite of the coach was being picked ahead of him. “My dad was like ‘Stop that. You work hard, son, that’s how you move forward. Don’t make excuses. Get your head down and work hard’. Brilliant advice. Not getting in the way, not going to see the coach. But times have changed and you have to change with them.” Dyche, a Northants native, is a connoisseur of classic boots Credit:  PAUL COOPER FOR THE TELEGRAPH Dyche will admit that his roots are in a lost world of English football, around the fringes of Brian Clough’s last Forest team but never part of it, and then a hard-won career in the lower-leagues with the likes of Chesterfield, Millwall and Northampton. But you do not get to seventh in the Premier League in this brutal era of hire-and-fire without his keen intelligence and a natural curiosity about the game. Dyche has a thousand ideas and as many stories, and he recalls a tough time at Bristol City when he played under the Swedish coach Benny Lennartsson. “All the players were like, ‘He’s rubbish’. I thought: ‘You lot have lost your mind. He’s ahead of the curve.’ It was everywhere: tactically, his understanding of details, changing training, the professionalism - a massive shift. You could just smell it on him. He was a talker not a shouter and it was when football was just turning.” No manager who keeps a club with finances as modest as they are at Burnley buoyant in the Premier League will be expected to stay forever, so the question is how Dyche sees his career. Without Boothroyd’s faith, and then Malky Mackay’s insistence that Dyche be appointed his assistant at Watford in 2009, when the club wanted an older man, he admits he could have stayed much longer in youth development. The next fork in the road could be even more significant. “You need doors to open, you need a chance – and you have got to have something, to take your chance when the door opens at the right time. My first port of call was to be a manager, then it was a successful manager, then it was a Premier League manager. Then, can I stay in the Premier League? What opens next? I am at A and going all the way to Z is high unlikely in any career, let alone football. You have to weave your way like the river, pick up your skills and keep going. “Some jobs you look at and think: ‘That’s nearly impossible to turn round.’ But what are your circumstances? If you are in a job and another becomes available and you can’t see a way of that moving forward, then you have a choice. If you are out of work and a job becomes available you might think: ‘I have to take it because jobs are so scarce.'” He still speaks to his old Chesterfield manager John Duncan who plotted that miracle run to the 1997 FA Cup semi-final in which Dyche scored a penalty against Middlesbrough. He says that for the first year the pair did not get on - Dyche simply could not see what his manager was trying to do. When at last it became clear he “marvelled” – his word – at how Duncan had spotted the team’s hitherto hidden potential. Another useful lesson picked up along the way and one more reason to approach Saturday without fear.

Exclusive - Sean Dyche: 'We don't do blind faith, we do authentic optimism' 

Sean Dyche is explaining the nature of “positive realities”, the phrase he uses for being honest with his players about the challenge they face at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday against a Manchester City team that are not just top of the Premier League but playing like they very much intend to stay there. The Burnley manager has not built the career he has now from being unrealistic about his teams’ capabilities and in his third season as a Premier League manager, it is impossible to ignore how far he has come. After Craig Shakespeare’s sacking at Leicester City this week we are down to four permanent English top-flight managers, and top of them all is Dyche with a side that has lost just once in the league this season and begin the day in seventh place. Pep Guardiola’s team currently look like they could dismantle most sides in Europe and yet, as the City manager will know from the narrow margins of victory over Burnley last season, Dyche is quite capable of finding ways to compete. The 46-year-old shakes his head at the suggestion that this game represents a free hit for his club. “Don’t think we just do five-a-sides all week and say ‘Oh well, roll out and hope for the best’. We want to do our job, and deliver a performance. That’s important.” As that rare thing, an English manager in the Premier League, Dyche’s career has been one in which he has had to survive first and learn fast, through two promotions and one relegation with Burnley.  Ten years ago last summer a casual chat with Aidy Boothroyd on a bench at the Watford training ground persuaded the latter to appoint Dyche as the Under-18s coach. Ironic, really, Dyche reflects - Boothroyd had not wanted him as a player but was big enough to see his qualities as a coach. So began the journey that led to Burnley, where he will pass his fifth anniversary as manager next week, after the meeting with Guardiola. Last year they bumped into each other after the game at Turf Moor, a 2-1 win for the away side, and Guardiola told Dyche how his team had been unable to “dominate” Burnley. The City manager acknowledged he had faced a team who were well-drilled and knew their jobs to the last detail. Dyche is not a man who requires a pat on the head but this compliment, from one coach to the next, resonated with him. Dyche still talks to his old Chesterfield manager John Duncan, a man it took him a year to grasp Credit: PAUL COOPER for the Telegraph “We don’t do blind faith, we do authentic optimism,” he says. “There’s no point saying, ‘City are not all that’, because they are. We don’t do nonsense. We tell the players the truth. ‘This is a very good side with good individuals, a good structure, they are tighter than they were out of possession and more open in possession. Now what are we going to do?’ “Positive realities. What are the things we can do to take on the challenge? There’s no ‘Come on lads! Let’s do it! And if we think positively we will win!’ It just doesn’t work like that. There has to be more to it. The teams that you come across, they are not physically super-human, they are just very good. So it is asking what do we about that. How do we take on the challenge?” The solutions that Dyche has found to the issue of keeping Burnley competitive in the top-flight have looked increasingly attractive to others. He has been installed as the bookies’ favourite for the King Power job and the prejudices some might have held about a former lower league defender with a cement-mixer voice are gradually evaporating with Burnley’s relative success on a shoestring budget. Dyche, who first took Burnley up in 2014, has spent five productive years at Turf Moor Credit: Action Images / Paul Currie Dyche is aware of what he calls the “myths” around him, and he mentions them often. That he keeps the same players – “only six of the 22 from when I started are still here, so something’s changed!” That he does not like signing foreign players – “A good player is a good player, it’s just that we cannot afford signings that do not work”. That he is a 4-4-2 man – “we adjust and flex it”. And you can see quickly why players do stay: Dyche considers their development the most rewarding part of his job. He comes from Kettering, where his father Alan was a consultant in the steel industry and his mother Patsy stitched the bench-made shoes for which Northamptonshire is famous. Guardiola may have the hoodies, and the skinny jeans, but no manager knows real shoes like Dyche. He reels off the names, Cheaney, Church’s, John Lobb, Jeffery West. His mother stitched the early Dunlop boots worn by Trevor Brooking and Dyche is also a 1980s football boot connoisseur, a man who knows his Adidas Profi from his Stratos SL but is adamant that nothing beats a pair of World Cups. He recalls calling home from a tour in France with Nottingham Forest’s youth team when he complained to his father that a favourite of the coach was being picked ahead of him. “My dad was like ‘Stop that. You work hard, son, that’s how you move forward. Don’t make excuses. Get your head down and work hard’. Brilliant advice. Not getting in the way, not going to see the coach. But times have changed and you have to change with them.” Dyche, a Northants native, is a connoisseur of classic boots Credit:  PAUL COOPER FOR THE TELEGRAPH Dyche will admit that his roots are in a lost world of English football, around the fringes of Brian Clough’s last Forest team but never part of it, and then a hard-won career in the lower-leagues with the likes of Chesterfield, Millwall and Northampton. But you do not get to seventh in the Premier League in this brutal era of hire-and-fire without his keen intelligence and a natural curiosity about the game. Dyche has a thousand ideas and as many stories, and he recalls a tough time at Bristol City when he played under the Swedish coach Benny Lennartsson. “All the players were like, ‘He’s rubbish’. I thought: ‘You lot have lost your mind. He’s ahead of the curve.’ It was everywhere: tactically, his understanding of details, changing training, the professionalism - a massive shift. You could just smell it on him. He was a talker not a shouter and it was when football was just turning.” No manager who keeps a club with finances as modest as they are at Burnley buoyant in the Premier League will be expected to stay forever, so the question is how Dyche sees his career. Without Boothroyd’s faith, and then Malky Mackay’s insistence that Dyche be appointed his assistant at Watford in 2009, when the club wanted an older man, he admits he could have stayed much longer in youth development. The next fork in the road could be even more significant. “You need doors to open, you need a chance – and you have got to have something, to take your chance when the door opens at the right time. My first port of call was to be a manager, then it was a successful manager, then it was a Premier League manager. Then, can I stay in the Premier League? What opens next? I am at A and going all the way to Z is high unlikely in any career, let alone football. You have to weave your way like the river, pick up your skills and keep going. “Some jobs you look at and think: ‘That’s nearly impossible to turn round.’ But what are your circumstances? If you are in a job and another becomes available and you can’t see a way of that moving forward, then you have a choice. If you are out of work and a job becomes available you might think: ‘I have to take it because jobs are so scarce.'” He still speaks to his old Chesterfield manager John Duncan who plotted that miracle run to the 1997 FA Cup semi-final in which Dyche scored a penalty against Middlesbrough. He says that for the first year the pair did not get on - Dyche simply could not see what his manager was trying to do. When at last it became clear he “marvelled” – his word – at how Duncan had spotted the team’s hitherto hidden potential. Another useful lesson picked up along the way and one more reason to approach Saturday without fear.

Exclusive - Sean Dyche: 'We don't do blind faith, we do authentic optimism' 

Sean Dyche is explaining the nature of “positive realities”, the phrase he uses for being honest with his players about the challenge they face at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday against a Manchester City team that are not just top of the Premier League but playing like they very much intend to stay there. The Burnley manager has not built the career he has now from being unrealistic about his teams’ capabilities and in his third season as a Premier League manager, it is impossible to ignore how far he has come. After Craig Shakespeare’s sacking at Leicester City this week we are down to four permanent English top-flight managers, and top of them all is Dyche with a side that has lost just once in the league this season and begin the day in seventh place. Pep Guardiola’s team currently look like they could dismantle most sides in Europe and yet, as the City manager will know from the narrow margins of victory over Burnley last season, Dyche is quite capable of finding ways to compete. The 46-year-old shakes his head at the suggestion that this game represents a free hit for his club. “Don’t think we just do five-a-sides all week and say ‘Oh well, roll out and hope for the best’. We want to do our job, and deliver a performance. That’s important.” As that rare thing, an English manager in the Premier League, Dyche’s career has been one in which he has had to survive first and learn fast, through two promotions and one relegation with Burnley.  Ten years ago last summer a casual chat with Aidy Boothroyd on a bench at the Watford training ground persuaded the latter to appoint Dyche as the Under-18s coach. Ironic, really, Dyche reflects - Boothroyd had not wanted him as a player but was big enough to see his qualities as a coach. So began the journey that led to Burnley, where he will pass his fifth anniversary as manager next week, after the meeting with Guardiola. Last year they bumped into each other after the game at Turf Moor, a 2-1 win for the away side, and Guardiola told Dyche how his team had been unable to “dominate” Burnley. The City manager acknowledged he had faced a team who were well-drilled and knew their jobs to the last detail. Dyche is not a man who requires a pat on the head but this compliment, from one coach to the next, resonated with him. Dyche still talks to his old Chesterfield manager John Duncan, a man it took him a year to grasp Credit: PAUL COOPER for the Telegraph “We don’t do blind faith, we do authentic optimism,” he says. “There’s no point saying, ‘City are not all that’, because they are. We don’t do nonsense. We tell the players the truth. ‘This is a very good side with good individuals, a good structure, they are tighter than they were out of possession and more open in possession. Now what are we going to do?’ “Positive realities. What are the things we can do to take on the challenge? There’s no ‘Come on lads! Let’s do it! And if we think positively we will win!’ It just doesn’t work like that. There has to be more to it. The teams that you come across, they are not physically super-human, they are just very good. So it is asking what do we about that. How do we take on the challenge?” The solutions that Dyche has found to the issue of keeping Burnley competitive in the top-flight have looked increasingly attractive to others. He has been installed as the bookies’ favourite for the King Power job and the prejudices some might have held about a former lower league defender with a cement-mixer voice are gradually evaporating with Burnley’s relative success on a shoestring budget. Dyche, who first took Burnley up in 2014, has spent five productive years at Turf Moor Credit: Action Images / Paul Currie Dyche is aware of what he calls the “myths” around him, and he mentions them often. That he keeps the same players – “only six of the 22 from when I started are still here, so something’s changed!” That he does not like signing foreign players – “A good player is a good player, it’s just that we cannot afford signings that do not work”. That he is a 4-4-2 man – “we adjust and flex it”. And you can see quickly why players do stay: Dyche considers their development the most rewarding part of his job. He comes from Kettering, where his father Alan was a consultant in the steel industry and his mother Patsy stitched the bench-made shoes for which Northamptonshire is famous. Guardiola may have the hoodies, and the skinny jeans, but no manager knows real shoes like Dyche. He reels off the names, Cheaney, Church’s, John Lobb, Jeffery West. His mother stitched the early Dunlop boots worn by Trevor Brooking and Dyche is also a 1980s football boot connoisseur, a man who knows his Adidas Profi from his Stratos SL but is adamant that nothing beats a pair of World Cups. He recalls calling home from a tour in France with Nottingham Forest’s youth team when he complained to his father that a favourite of the coach was being picked ahead of him. “My dad was like ‘Stop that. You work hard, son, that’s how you move forward. Don’t make excuses. Get your head down and work hard’. Brilliant advice. Not getting in the way, not going to see the coach. But times have changed and you have to change with them.” Dyche, a Northants native, is a connoisseur of classic boots Credit:  PAUL COOPER FOR THE TELEGRAPH Dyche will admit that his roots are in a lost world of English football, around the fringes of Brian Clough’s last Forest team but never part of it, and then a hard-won career in the lower-leagues with the likes of Chesterfield, Millwall and Northampton. But you do not get to seventh in the Premier League in this brutal era of hire-and-fire without his keen intelligence and a natural curiosity about the game. Dyche has a thousand ideas and as many stories, and he recalls a tough time at Bristol City when he played under the Swedish coach Benny Lennartsson. “All the players were like, ‘He’s rubbish’. I thought: ‘You lot have lost your mind. He’s ahead of the curve.’ It was everywhere: tactically, his understanding of details, changing training, the professionalism - a massive shift. You could just smell it on him. He was a talker not a shouter and it was when football was just turning.” No manager who keeps a club with finances as modest as they are at Burnley buoyant in the Premier League will be expected to stay forever, so the question is how Dyche sees his career. Without Boothroyd’s faith, and then Malky Mackay’s insistence that Dyche be appointed his assistant at Watford in 2009, when the club wanted an older man, he admits he could have stayed much longer in youth development. The next fork in the road could be even more significant. “You need doors to open, you need a chance – and you have got to have something, to take your chance when the door opens at the right time. My first port of call was to be a manager, then it was a successful manager, then it was a Premier League manager. Then, can I stay in the Premier League? What opens next? I am at A and going all the way to Z is high unlikely in any career, let alone football. You have to weave your way like the river, pick up your skills and keep going. “Some jobs you look at and think: ‘That’s nearly impossible to turn round.’ But what are your circumstances? If you are in a job and another becomes available and you can’t see a way of that moving forward, then you have a choice. If you are out of work and a job becomes available you might think: ‘I have to take it because jobs are so scarce.'” He still speaks to his old Chesterfield manager John Duncan who plotted that miracle run to the 1997 FA Cup semi-final in which Dyche scored a penalty against Middlesbrough. He says that for the first year the pair did not get on - Dyche simply could not see what his manager was trying to do. When at last it became clear he “marvelled” – his word – at how Duncan had spotted the team’s hitherto hidden potential. Another useful lesson picked up along the way and one more reason to approach Saturday without fear.

Exclusive - Sean Dyche: 'We don't do blind faith, we do authentic optimism' 

Sean Dyche is explaining the nature of “positive realities”, the phrase he uses for being honest with his players about the challenge they face at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday against a Manchester City team that are not just top of the Premier League but playing like they very much intend to stay there. The Burnley manager has not built the career he has now from being unrealistic about his teams’ capabilities and in his third season as a Premier League manager, it is impossible to ignore how far he has come. After Craig Shakespeare’s sacking at Leicester City this week we are down to four permanent English top-flight managers, and top of them all is Dyche with a side that has lost just once in the league this season and begin the day in seventh place. Pep Guardiola’s team currently look like they could dismantle most sides in Europe and yet, as the City manager will know from the narrow margins of victory over Burnley last season, Dyche is quite capable of finding ways to compete. The 46-year-old shakes his head at the suggestion that this game represents a free hit for his club. “Don’t think we just do five-a-sides all week and say ‘Oh well, roll out and hope for the best’. We want to do our job, and deliver a performance. That’s important.” As that rare thing, an English manager in the Premier League, Dyche’s career has been one in which he has had to survive first and learn fast, through two promotions and one relegation with Burnley.  Ten years ago last summer a casual chat with Aidy Boothroyd on a bench at the Watford training ground persuaded the latter to appoint Dyche as the Under-18s coach. Ironic, really, Dyche reflects - Boothroyd had not wanted him as a player but was big enough to see his qualities as a coach. So began the journey that led to Burnley, where he will pass his fifth anniversary as manager next week, after the meeting with Guardiola. Last year they bumped into each other after the game at Turf Moor, a 2-1 win for the away side, and Guardiola told Dyche how his team had been unable to “dominate” Burnley. The City manager acknowledged he had faced a team who were well-drilled and knew their jobs to the last detail. Dyche is not a man who requires a pat on the head but this compliment, from one coach to the next, resonated with him. Dyche still talks to his old Chesterfield manager John Duncan, a man it took him a year to grasp Credit: PAUL COOPER for the Telegraph “We don’t do blind faith, we do authentic optimism,” he says. “There’s no point saying, ‘City are not all that’, because they are. We don’t do nonsense. We tell the players the truth. ‘This is a very good side with good individuals, a good structure, they are tighter than they were out of possession and more open in possession. Now what are we going to do?’ “Positive realities. What are the things we can do to take on the challenge? There’s no ‘Come on lads! Let’s do it! And if we think positively we will win!’ It just doesn’t work like that. There has to be more to it. The teams that you come across, they are not physically super-human, they are just very good. So it is asking what do we about that. How do we take on the challenge?” The solutions that Dyche has found to the issue of keeping Burnley competitive in the top-flight have looked increasingly attractive to others. He has been installed as the bookies’ favourite for the King Power job and the prejudices some might have held about a former lower league defender with a cement-mixer voice are gradually evaporating with Burnley’s relative success on a shoestring budget. Dyche, who first took Burnley up in 2014, has spent five productive years at Turf Moor Credit: Action Images / Paul Currie Dyche is aware of what he calls the “myths” around him, and he mentions them often. That he keeps the same players – “only six of the 22 from when I started are still here, so something’s changed!” That he does not like signing foreign players – “A good player is a good player, it’s just that we cannot afford signings that do not work”. That he is a 4-4-2 man – “we adjust and flex it”. And you can see quickly why players do stay: Dyche considers their development the most rewarding part of his job. He comes from Kettering, where his father Alan was a consultant in the steel industry and his mother Patsy stitched the bench-made shoes for which Northamptonshire is famous. Guardiola may have the hoodies, and the skinny jeans, but no manager knows real shoes like Dyche. He reels off the names, Cheaney, Church’s, John Lobb, Jeffery West. His mother stitched the early Dunlop boots worn by Trevor Brooking and Dyche is also a 1980s football boot connoisseur, a man who knows his Adidas Profi from his Stratos SL but is adamant that nothing beats a pair of World Cups. He recalls calling home from a tour in France with Nottingham Forest’s youth team when he complained to his father that a favourite of the coach was being picked ahead of him. “My dad was like ‘Stop that. You work hard, son, that’s how you move forward. Don’t make excuses. Get your head down and work hard’. Brilliant advice. Not getting in the way, not going to see the coach. But times have changed and you have to change with them.” Dyche, a Northants native, is a connoisseur of classic boots Credit:  PAUL COOPER FOR THE TELEGRAPH Dyche will admit that his roots are in a lost world of English football, around the fringes of Brian Clough’s last Forest team but never part of it, and then a hard-won career in the lower-leagues with the likes of Chesterfield, Millwall and Northampton. But you do not get to seventh in the Premier League in this brutal era of hire-and-fire without his keen intelligence and a natural curiosity about the game. Dyche has a thousand ideas and as many stories, and he recalls a tough time at Bristol City when he played under the Swedish coach Benny Lennartsson. “All the players were like, ‘He’s rubbish’. I thought: ‘You lot have lost your mind. He’s ahead of the curve.’ It was everywhere: tactically, his understanding of details, changing training, the professionalism - a massive shift. You could just smell it on him. He was a talker not a shouter and it was when football was just turning.” No manager who keeps a club with finances as modest as they are at Burnley buoyant in the Premier League will be expected to stay forever, so the question is how Dyche sees his career. Without Boothroyd’s faith, and then Malky Mackay’s insistence that Dyche be appointed his assistant at Watford in 2009, when the club wanted an older man, he admits he could have stayed much longer in youth development. The next fork in the road could be even more significant. “You need doors to open, you need a chance – and you have got to have something, to take your chance when the door opens at the right time. My first port of call was to be a manager, then it was a successful manager, then it was a Premier League manager. Then, can I stay in the Premier League? What opens next? I am at A and going all the way to Z is high unlikely in any career, let alone football. You have to weave your way like the river, pick up your skills and keep going. “Some jobs you look at and think: ‘That’s nearly impossible to turn round.’ But what are your circumstances? If you are in a job and another becomes available and you can’t see a way of that moving forward, then you have a choice. If you are out of work and a job becomes available you might think: ‘I have to take it because jobs are so scarce.'” He still speaks to his old Chesterfield manager John Duncan who plotted that miracle run to the 1997 FA Cup semi-final in which Dyche scored a penalty against Middlesbrough. He says that for the first year the pair did not get on - Dyche simply could not see what his manager was trying to do. When at last it became clear he “marvelled” – his word – at how Duncan had spotted the team’s hitherto hidden potential. Another useful lesson picked up along the way and one more reason to approach Saturday without fear.

Premier League clubs 'let down' the disabled

A group of Premier League clubs have been accused of letting down their disabled fans and are in talks with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to avoid legal action after an official report on Friday confirmed that they had failed to meet minimum guidelines. Despite collectively adding 1,000 new wheelchair bays over the past two years, the 2015 pledge to all meet the standards and numbers set out in the Accessible Stadia Guide by August 2017 has not been kept. This was first revealed in an extensive Telegraph Sport investigation last month, which has been followed by a Premier League report into the issue. Telegraph Sport reported how only 11 clubs currently comply fully with the Accessible Stadia Guide, although the Premier League has given Newcastle United, Burnley and Huddersfield additional time out of recognition for the fact that they have not been in the division for the past two years. This caveat only came to light after the initial pledge was made. Manchester United have completed the construction works to meet the recommended numbers but have not actually yet made all the spaces available to disabled fans at Premier League games. They have cited safety considerations and a desire not to displace existing season-ticket holders too quickly. Bournemouth do exceed the recommended numbers but acknowledge they do not meet the guidelines in respect of the position of these spaces, but intend to address this with their new stadium. Chelsea, Watford, Crystal Palace and Everton do not meet the recommended numbers. The Premier League has been pushing their clubs to address this issue and on Friday underlined the scope of the changes that have been made over the past two years. “This report provides detail of the progress made at a point in time – it is not the end of the process,” said Bill Bush, the Premier League’s executive director. The charity Level Playing Field now wants to know how the Premier League will deal with those clubs who have not met the commitment. “We are disappointed that a number of clubs have failed to meet the requirements of that self- imposed pledge and have let their disabled fans down,” said the charity’s chair, Tony Taylor.  “We are seeking urgent assurance regarding what happens next and how much longer the existing Premier League clubs will be given to meet their obligations.”  Tracey Crouch, the sports minister, has said that the government would support the EHRC in enforcing the Equality Act of 2010, which requires clubs to make “reasonable adjustments” for disabled people. The interpretation of that wording is clearly open to legal opinion in each individual case.  “Today’s report from the Premier League is a step in the right direction, but it is clear that some clubs still have a way to go to meet the needs of disabled supporters,” said Rebecca Hilsenrath, the EHRC chief executive. “We have met with every single Premier League club and are now in the final stages of discussions to agree on specific action they will need to take to avoid facing legal action.”

Dyche not 'running away' from Burnley as Leicester links intensify

Burnley have made a brilliant start to 2017-18 and Sean Dyche has no intention of leaving despite reported interest from Leicester City.

Arsene Wenger can signal end of Arsenal's culture of impunity by dropping Granit Xhaka

When Arsène Wenger picks his team to face Everton he will choose between forgiveness and punishment for Granit Xhaka, whose statuesque indifference to Tom Cleverley smashing in the winner for Watford last weekend symbolised Arsenal’s accountability deficit. In a previous age, Xhaka would have been dropped for standing and watching (and playing with his nose) while Cleverley stood in the Arsenal penalty box a few yards away, waiting for a rebound he zealously dispatched. Replays of Xhaka’s obliviousness to this danger were the latest social media rash to cause itching among Arsenal fans, along with an inconclusive clip of Alexis Sánchez possibly avoiding a handshake with Wenger on the training ground. Sunday’s collision of Arsenal and Everton comes with the Gunners in the news again for displaying insufficient passion, and Watford’s Troy Deeney playing the role of tormentor in chief. Arsenal, said Deeney, lack cojones - an allegation rejected by Jack Wilshere, who lacks playing time, more than a combative edge. Arsenal will consider it irritating that a Watford player has again set the tone of the discussion around their appetite for battle. Balls to that, they will be thinking. Yet nobody outside the club was accusing Deeney of inaccuracy. In old money, Xhaka has forfeited his right to start at Everton. If a player can be so dopey, or negligent, at a point where Arsenal might have taken home a point, he has no case for retaining his place in the next game. Tom Cleverley was left unchallenged to smash home Watford's winner Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs This might sound simplistic. In this age of player power, managers are forever skirting the volcano of dressing room reaction. Singling players out goes down badly. And sometimes there is more for a manager to gain from standing by someone who has made an ‘honest’ error. Wenger, however, does not have this luxury, because the last 10 years of his Arsenal reign have been characterised by excessive loyalty to players who have mostly abused that privilege. For every Olivier Giroud, who seems to accept his supporting role with good grace, and always applies himself when coming on, there are half a dozen who live without fear of punishment. Wenger will drop you for playing badly, eventually, but rarely does he penalise players who fail to take personal responsibility for events. Over the years this has bred a culture of impunity, to which Wenger will only add if he invites Xhaka to start against Everton. Total Football Special: Graeme Souness 37:26 About the only defence of Xhaka’s dereliction of duty against Watford has been that ‘holding midfielder’ is not really his bag. The same is true of Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey - yet Wenger has continued to press-gang passers into screening roles. He seems to have no time for the theory that a top team cannot thrive without an N’Golo Kanté, Fernandinho or Victor Wanyama. But this is no excuse for Xhaka, whose danger radar shut down at a vital moment. All he had to do was hurry back into Arsenal’s penalty box to fill the space in front of Cleverley and make sure he was not granted all the time he had to look up and blast Watford’s winner. This is Wenger’s chance to reverse his no-blame culture and hold someone accountable. The tougher players in his squad would probably welcome a policy change. Winks looks the Real deal Harry Winks should cherish the memory of the role he played in Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at Real Madrid and never deviate from the guiding spirit of his performance. Elevated, at 21, to a starting position against Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, Winks elected to treat Madrid same way he would Mansfield, and play his natural game: probing, passing and looking forward wherever possible. Conservative passing is one of the downsides of the ball-retention religion. Across the game you see young players thinking their first duty is not to lose the ball, rather than do something constructive. This is not the Winks way. His instinct is to run or pass forward, into space, and he motors around the pitch with impressive energy. Winks played his normal game in the Bernabeu Credit: Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images Naturally a night like that would make him want to start every game now for Spurs, but there are still obstacles, such as Eric Dier and Wanyama, when fit. But Mauricio Pochettino’s tactical flexibility and expert coaching are just what Winks needs at this stage. It was Pochettino who gave him licence and belief in Madrid against Europe’s best midfield. His natural ability did the rest. No shock, just awe Manchester City’s 29 goals from eight games place them on course to score 138 times this season, and smash Chelsea’s Premier League record of 103 from 2009-10.  The onus falls this weekend on Sean Dyche and Burnley to stop another avalanche. City’s current average of 3.63 per game, with 10 individual scorers, might start to feel a bit Xbox, except that many of their goals are beautiful, particularly when Kevin De Bruyne is involved, which is often. It would be hard to tire of the sweeping passes and nippy interplay, however great the overload of attacking midfielders. So awed are the rest of the league that Stoke’s 7-2 defeat by City caused no great anguish in the Potteries. It came with the territory. Townsend can share Zaha's burden Wilfried Zaha is not Roy Hodgson’s only potential saviour. Andros Townsend has always shown flashes of high quality without settling into a long rhythm. The kind of ability he showed for England under Hodgson should be a weapon for Crystal Palace at Newcastle as they look to build on their win against Chelsea. Bite to hide his plight Ashley Williams was always combative, but his raised aggression of late suggests a panicked response to his game going downhill at Everton. His brawl-starting push on Lyon’s goalkeeper told a story. Increasingly error-prone, Williams appears to believe he can compensate by playing the brute.

Arsene Wenger can signal end of Arsenal's culture of impunity by dropping Granit Xhaka

When Arsène Wenger picks his team to face Everton he will choose between forgiveness and punishment for Granit Xhaka, whose statuesque indifference to Tom Cleverley smashing in the winner for Watford last weekend symbolised Arsenal’s accountability deficit. In a previous age, Xhaka would have been dropped for standing and watching (and playing with his nose) while Cleverley stood in the Arsenal penalty box a few yards away, waiting for a rebound he zealously dispatched. Replays of Xhaka’s obliviousness to this danger were the latest social media rash to cause itching among Arsenal fans, along with an inconclusive clip of Alexis Sánchez possibly avoiding a handshake with Wenger on the training ground. Sunday’s collision of Arsenal and Everton comes with the Gunners in the news again for displaying insufficient passion, and Watford’s Troy Deeney playing the role of tormentor in chief. Arsenal, said Deeney, lack cojones - an allegation rejected by Jack Wilshere, who lacks playing time, more than a combative edge. Arsenal will consider it irritating that a Watford player has again set the tone of the discussion around their appetite for battle. Balls to that, they will be thinking. Yet nobody outside the club was accusing Deeney of inaccuracy. In old money, Xhaka has forfeited his right to start at Everton. If a player can be so dopey, or negligent, at a point where Arsenal might have taken home a point, he has no case for retaining his place in the next game. Tom Cleverley was left unchallenged to smash home Watford's winner Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs This might sound simplistic. In this age of player power, managers are forever skirting the volcano of dressing room reaction. Singling players out goes down badly. And sometimes there is more for a manager to gain from standing by someone who has made an ‘honest’ error. Wenger, however, does not have this luxury, because the last 10 years of his Arsenal reign have been characterised by excessive loyalty to players who have mostly abused that privilege. For every Olivier Giroud, who seems to accept his supporting role with good grace, and always applies himself when coming on, there are half a dozen who live without fear of punishment. Wenger will drop you for playing badly, eventually, but rarely does he penalise players who fail to take personal responsibility for events. Over the years this has bred a culture of impunity, to which Wenger will only add if he invites Xhaka to start against Everton. Total Football Special: Graeme Souness 37:26 About the only defence of Xhaka’s dereliction of duty against Watford has been that ‘holding midfielder’ is not really his bag. The same is true of Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey - yet Wenger has continued to press-gang passers into screening roles. He seems to have no time for the theory that a top team cannot thrive without an N’Golo Kanté, Fernandinho or Victor Wanyama. But this is no excuse for Xhaka, whose danger radar shut down at a vital moment. All he had to do was hurry back into Arsenal’s penalty box to fill the space in front of Cleverley and make sure he was not granted all the time he had to look up and blast Watford’s winner. This is Wenger’s chance to reverse his no-blame culture and hold someone accountable. The tougher players in his squad would probably welcome a policy change. Winks looks the Real deal Harry Winks should cherish the memory of the role he played in Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at Real Madrid and never deviate from the guiding spirit of his performance. Elevated, at 21, to a starting position against Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, Winks elected to treat Madrid same way he would Mansfield, and play his natural game: probing, passing and looking forward wherever possible. Conservative passing is one of the downsides of the ball-retention religion. Across the game you see young players thinking their first duty is not to lose the ball, rather than do something constructive. This is not the Winks way. His instinct is to run or pass forward, into space, and he motors around the pitch with impressive energy. Winks played his normal game in the Bernabeu Credit: Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images Naturally a night like that would make him want to start every game now for Spurs, but there are still obstacles, such as Eric Dier and Wanyama, when fit. But Mauricio Pochettino’s tactical flexibility and expert coaching are just what Winks needs at this stage. It was Pochettino who gave him licence and belief in Madrid against Europe’s best midfield. His natural ability did the rest. No shock, just awe Manchester City’s 29 goals from eight games place them on course to score 138 times this season, and smash Chelsea’s Premier League record of 103 from 2009-10.  The onus falls this weekend on Sean Dyche and Burnley to stop another avalanche. City’s current average of 3.63 per game, with 10 individual scorers, might start to feel a bit Xbox, except that many of their goals are beautiful, particularly when Kevin De Bruyne is involved, which is often. It would be hard to tire of the sweeping passes and nippy interplay, however great the overload of attacking midfielders. So awed are the rest of the league that Stoke’s 7-2 defeat by City caused no great anguish in the Potteries. It came with the territory. Townsend can share Zaha's burden Wilfried Zaha is not Roy Hodgson’s only potential saviour. Andros Townsend has always shown flashes of high quality without settling into a long rhythm. The kind of ability he showed for England under Hodgson should be a weapon for Crystal Palace at Newcastle as they look to build on their win against Chelsea. Bite to hide his plight Ashley Williams was always combative, but his raised aggression of late suggests a panicked response to his game going downhill at Everton. His brawl-starting push on Lyon’s goalkeeper told a story. Increasingly error-prone, Williams appears to believe he can compensate by playing the brute.

Arsene Wenger can signal end of Arsenal's culture of impunity by dropping Granit Xhaka

When Arsène Wenger picks his team to face Everton he will choose between forgiveness and punishment for Granit Xhaka, whose statuesque indifference to Tom Cleverley smashing in the winner for Watford last weekend symbolised Arsenal’s accountability deficit. In a previous age, Xhaka would have been dropped for standing and watching (and playing with his nose) while Cleverley stood in the Arsenal penalty box a few yards away, waiting for a rebound he zealously dispatched. Replays of Xhaka’s obliviousness to this danger were the latest social media rash to cause itching among Arsenal fans, along with an inconclusive clip of Alexis Sánchez possibly avoiding a handshake with Wenger on the training ground. Sunday’s collision of Arsenal and Everton comes with the Gunners in the news again for displaying insufficient passion, and Watford’s Troy Deeney playing the role of tormentor in chief. Arsenal, said Deeney, lack cojones - an allegation rejected by Jack Wilshere, who lacks playing time, more than a combative edge. Arsenal will consider it irritating that a Watford player has again set the tone of the discussion around their appetite for battle. Balls to that, they will be thinking. Yet nobody outside the club was accusing Deeney of inaccuracy. In old money, Xhaka has forfeited his right to start at Everton. If a player can be so dopey, or negligent, at a point where Arsenal might have taken home a point, he has no case for retaining his place in the next game. Tom Cleverley was left unchallenged to smash home Watford's winner Credit: Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs This might sound simplistic. In this age of player power, managers are forever skirting the volcano of dressing room reaction. Singling players out goes down badly. And sometimes there is more for a manager to gain from standing by someone who has made an ‘honest’ error. Wenger, however, does not have this luxury, because the last 10 years of his Arsenal reign have been characterised by excessive loyalty to players who have mostly abused that privilege. For every Olivier Giroud, who seems to accept his supporting role with good grace, and always applies himself when coming on, there are half a dozen who live without fear of punishment. Wenger will drop you for playing badly, eventually, but rarely does he penalise players who fail to take personal responsibility for events. Over the years this has bred a culture of impunity, to which Wenger will only add if he invites Xhaka to start against Everton. Total Football Special: Graeme Souness 37:26 About the only defence of Xhaka’s dereliction of duty against Watford has been that ‘holding midfielder’ is not really his bag. The same is true of Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey - yet Wenger has continued to press-gang passers into screening roles. He seems to have no time for the theory that a top team cannot thrive without an N’Golo Kanté, Fernandinho or Victor Wanyama. But this is no excuse for Xhaka, whose danger radar shut down at a vital moment. All he had to do was hurry back into Arsenal’s penalty box to fill the space in front of Cleverley and make sure he was not granted all the time he had to look up and blast Watford’s winner. This is Wenger’s chance to reverse his no-blame culture and hold someone accountable. The tougher players in his squad would probably welcome a policy change. Winks looks the Real deal Harry Winks should cherish the memory of the role he played in Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at Real Madrid and never deviate from the guiding spirit of his performance. Elevated, at 21, to a starting position against Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, Winks elected to treat Madrid same way he would Mansfield, and play his natural game: probing, passing and looking forward wherever possible. Conservative passing is one of the downsides of the ball-retention religion. Across the game you see young players thinking their first duty is not to lose the ball, rather than do something constructive. This is not the Winks way. His instinct is to run or pass forward, into space, and he motors around the pitch with impressive energy. Winks played his normal game in the Bernabeu Credit: Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images Naturally a night like that would make him want to start every game now for Spurs, but there are still obstacles, such as Eric Dier and Wanyama, when fit. But Mauricio Pochettino’s tactical flexibility and expert coaching are just what Winks needs at this stage. It was Pochettino who gave him licence and belief in Madrid against Europe’s best midfield. His natural ability did the rest. No shock, just awe Manchester City’s 29 goals from eight games place them on course to score 138 times this season, and smash Chelsea’s Premier League record of 103 from 2009-10.  The onus falls this weekend on Sean Dyche and Burnley to stop another avalanche. City’s current average of 3.63 per game, with 10 individual scorers, might start to feel a bit Xbox, except that many of their goals are beautiful, particularly when Kevin De Bruyne is involved, which is often. It would be hard to tire of the sweeping passes and nippy interplay, however great the overload of attacking midfielders. So awed are the rest of the league that Stoke’s 7-2 defeat by City caused no great anguish in the Potteries. It came with the territory. Townsend can share Zaha's burden Wilfried Zaha is not Roy Hodgson’s only potential saviour. Andros Townsend has always shown flashes of high quality without settling into a long rhythm. The kind of ability he showed for England under Hodgson should be a weapon for Crystal Palace at Newcastle as they look to build on their win against Chelsea. Bite to hide his plight Ashley Williams was always combative, but his raised aggression of late suggests a panicked response to his game going downhill at Everton. His brawl-starting push on Lyon’s goalkeeper told a story. Increasingly error-prone, Williams appears to believe he can compensate by playing the brute.

Aguero ready for Man City comeback - Guardiola

Pep Guardiola says Sergio Aguero is ready to start in Man City's clash against Burnley on Saturday, claiming the striker was available for selection in their games with Stoke and Napoli.

Aguero ready for Man City comeback - Guardiola

Pep Guardiola says Sergio Aguero is ready to start in Man City's clash against Burnley on Saturday, claiming the striker was available for selection in their games with Stoke and Napoli.

Aguero ready for Man City comeback - Guardiola

Pep Guardiola says Sergio Aguero is ready to start in Man City's clash against Burnley on Saturday, claiming the striker was available for selection in their games with Stoke and Napoli.

Sergio Aguero in line to return for Manchester City against Burnley this weekend, confirms Pep Guardiola

Sergio Aguero in line to return for Manchester City against Burnley this weekend, confirms Pep Guardiola

Sergio Aguero in line to return for Manchester City against Burnley this weekend, confirms Pep Guardiola

Sergio Aguero in line to return for Manchester City against Burnley this weekend, confirms Pep Guardiola

Opta weekly Premier League preview - week 9

Take a look at the key Opta stats on a weekend where Spurs host Liverpool, while Man United travel to Huddersfield and leaders Man City face Burnley.

Opta weekly Premier League preview - week 9

Take a look at the key Opta stats on a weekend where Spurs host Liverpool, while Man United travel to Huddersfield and leaders Man City face Burnley.

Opta weekly Premier League preview - week 9

Take a look at the key Opta stats on a weekend where Spurs host Liverpool, while Man United travel to Huddersfield and leaders Man City face Burnley.

Guardiola impressed by dynamic Burnley

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola impressed by dynamic Burnley's away form this seaosn after wins at Chelsea and Everton plus draws at Liverpool and Spurs

Guardiola impressed by dynamic Burnley

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola impressed by dynamic Burnley's away form this seaosn after wins at Chelsea and Everton plus draws at Liverpool and Spurs

Guardiola impressed by dynamic Burnley

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola impressed by dynamic Burnley's away form this seaosn after wins at Chelsea and Everton plus draws at Liverpool and Spurs

Guardiola impressed by dynamic Burnley

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola impressed by dynamic Burnley's away form this seaosn after wins at Chelsea and Everton plus draws at Liverpool and Spurs

Pep Guardiola Preview Burnley

Kevin can inprove

Pep Guardiola Preview Burnley

Kevin can inprove

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