In Martin’s Monday piece, he spoke of his relief at not being on the rota to pen the Burnley preview. That particular honour is mine. Whoopee!
I pondered whether it was time to dip back into the cesspit of celebrity fan previews but the best I could come up with in terms of A, B or C list celebs who support the Clarets were Alastair Campbell and Jordan North. Well, no one needs to hear the thoughts of Mr Campbell and Master North will only be familiar to readers of a younger persuasion.
And besides, both would no doubt have told me where to go.
So you’re stuck with me I’m afraid: Mr Grumpy of Carlton Colville.
I received a few comments in the week around the rather sombre tone of my Sunday morning piece and also around the generally downbeat intonation of this site as a whole at the moment, for which I apologised.
In an attempt to redress the balance, Messrs Lewis and Dennis were challenged with delivering you something more upbeat and positive. Being the gentlemen they are, it was a challenge they both accepted. Stew’s valiant attempt is here; Mick’s followed a day later and is here.
Both were beautifully written and, typically, received a mixed response but there were enough positive messages between them to raise my mood from completely resigned to mildly optimistic ahead of tomorrow’s trek north.
There is, of course, a stat being discussed at length that pertains to when Burnley last won at Turf Moor. I’m not going there but we all know the three-word phrase (begins with Alo… and ends in …wich) that encapsulates nicely the potential peril in our trip to deepest, darkest Lancashire.
The stat in question is this one…
And yes, it doesn’t half smack of one of *those* moments. There’s not a City supporter alive who’s not thinking it.
But – and here’s some rare positivity – is it too much of an obvious ‘along come Norwich’ moment to actually be one? Will the law of reverse psychology trump the rule of the bloody obvious?
Sean Dyche, of course, will be licking his lips at the prospect of finally ending that barren run by putting one over those fancy Dans from the east who dare to think they can turn up at Turf Moor and stroke the ball around on the green stuff.
A win here for Big Sean will be a double-whammy – an unwanted run ended while putting it up those delicate little flowers who refuse to hoof it.
Alas, the gruff one has enjoyed great success against City of late. Dyche’s distaste for teams who keep the ball on the grass knows no bounds and ahead of our trip to Turf Moor in 2019-20, he had stoked up the locals; interpreting City’s renowned desire to pass the ball as a direct affront to his less-refined but more effective GET-IN-THERE! mantra.
He trumped us on every count.
The locals were raucous; Burnley scored twice in the first 14 minutes through the epitome of Dyche-ball that is Chris Wood; their high-energy, high press pressed us back in our own defensive third, we gave the ball away, and we struggled to match them for oomph.
Four months later we did taste success at Turf Moor in the FA Cup, when Adam Idah announced himself on the scene (so it can be done) but the visit of the Clarets to Carrow Road during Project Restart was yet another of those calamitous days in which Norwich City specializes when in the Premier League.
Red cards for Emi Buendia and Josip Drmic – the former thanks to Ashley Westwood, the latter thanks to sheer stupidity – rendered it game over before half-time in a match that was jointly refereed by Kevin Friend and Sean Dyche. The pièce de résistance was a late own goal by Ben Godfrey that added to Chris Wood’s goal on the stroke of half-time.
In a season crammed full of low points, this felt like the nadir.
Which is one of many reasons why it would be rather nice if tomorrow, for once, we do not kowtow to the aggression and hostility that Dyche demands of those around him. Let’s instead draw on that win in the FA Cup and tell ourselves that this can be done; that this can be the scene of our first points of the season.
This is Burnley. Win-less Burnley. The type of team we have to be able to go beat with if we are serious about staying up.
And there’ll be no surprises from Dyche. He’ll set them up Mike Bassett style with the aim to press, to harry, to disrupt, and to get balls into the box for Wood and Matěj Vydra to battle for. And battle they will.
At the back, James Tarkowski and Ben Mee will head it, kick it and launch it into row Z; the basics but the basics done well, while doing their utmost to scare the life out of Teemu Pukki and (maybe) Josh Sargent.
We all know what’s coming. But, as has been proven by their five-season run in the Premier League, Burnley are very hard to play against even if you do know precisely how they will go about it.
From City’s perspective, it’s almost pointless at the moment to try and second-guess Daniel Farke’s starting XI, or indeed the shape of the team, but they will need to be organised and not bullied. To attempt to go toe-to-toe with Burnley in the physical sense is also pointless – it’s their raison d’etre – but there needs to be enough of a platform to permit our passing game (remember that?) to be given a chance to work.
Equally important – it should go without saying – will be City’s defending from set-pieces and the eradication of those individual errors that have blighted the campaign so far.
But there’s a subtle difference between this Burnley and the one we faced in 2019-20: this one isn’t bristling with machismo and belief. They too have had not a single win to their name. And while there’s no way Dyche’s bravado would allow him to admit it, their confidence too must be a little fragile, even if they did pick up a decent 1-1 draw at the King Power last Saturday.
And so while they no doubt believe Norwich are the perfect opponents against whom to register that first win, we too must believe that a trip to win-less Burnley is the ideal chance to get our first points on the board.
This is not the time to be timid and submissive. Not the time to feel sorry for ourselves if we go a goal behind. And this defeatist mindset that it’s game over if we concede first has to end.
I’m thoroughly fed up at having to write about defeats and am equally peed off at having to read and hear the derisory comments and mockery that come flooding in from outside at almost every turn.
And I’d love to be able to watch Match of the Day for once.
C’mon lads. The fightback has to start now.
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Alex B says
A good ralling cry and like you I would love to see us put one over the bully boys.
The big problem as we all know is city being world class at giving the ball away and playing out from the back it usually starts with poor distribution from our No1 and the ball comes flying back to an underpressure defence.
Watching the Arse-nal V Spurs game last week I was sadly impressed by an old time display of goalkeeping from Ramsdale, he commands his are like a prize fighter something he must have picked up from Wilder.
Unlike cities keepers Ramsdale charged out for crosses, punched the ball and made sure the rest of the defence let the Spurs players know they were in a game and didn’t it work.
Krul for all his bravado rarely punches or catch a ball and even less charges into players in the penalty area.
Gibson looks lost and also try to blame others for his shirt comings or lack of concentration at times if we are using wingbacks he has to cover for them and react quicker when they are out of place..
Last season we were winning for the fun of it and the defence was more solid not so this season with no wins in 5 and its not all down to Emi leaving the stats show he helped out the defence harried the opposition players and city had poor results without him playing but it was similar when Maddison was at the club other players left it to him and like Emi left a big hole to fill but others took responsibility and we survived but this time no one has filled the void.
Buendia and Maddison were different players but both had a want to win and that rubbed off on to others, going one down just made them more determined to win and sadly SW couldn’t find a bargain with that natural grit.
The melting pot has been stirred plenty so far and the right mix hasn’t risen to the top stick or twist maybe try something new all will be revealed at 3pm tomorrow afternoon will Todd and his Alice band turn up after personnel problems to which I hope he has fully recovered from.
Will we see a front 2 if so which 2 position Sargent and Idah with Pukki coming for a 15/20min cameo with a Burnley tired defence, or could we see a midfield with Sorensen playing but then again that would be to much to ask for my selection would be
We will need fighters for the first 60mins that can dig in and those that are willing to take shots on sight not trying to dance around a well Marshalled defence and players that will not be bullied off the ball.
Can we do it?? yes we can and now is the time to turn up and prove it
This is how I am thinking. If Norwich are as bad as they have been, they will be turned over 4-0. If Norwich are as good as they keep saying they are about to be, they will earn a grinding 1-0. So probably it is somewhere in the middle, and we will lose 1-0, with patches of good play. Hope is something different though, an act of blind faith. Our team will turn up, pass round them, and win 2-0 in style. Plenty of options there…at the moment my head is ruling my heart.
Gary Gowers says
I deliberately steered clear of offering a prediction, but if pushed I’d go for something middling between your first and second suggestions: a decent performance punctuated with a couple of old-school cock-ups concluding in a 2-0 defeat. God I hope I’m wrong.
martin penney says
S’funny, I was thinking just the same so logically I have to say I think you’re right while obviously hoping you’re wrong 🙂
Yes, it all feels rather bleak at the moment. If the opposition score first, as you say, we are done. Having said that, even now, I feel that the fans have more belief than the team. The support from the travelling YA will be trying to lift them.
A mate supports Birmingham. He is used to being ribbed, and has enjoyed giving me some stick, but after the Everton result he just said “It is getting silly now”. He knew it had gone past banter. He felt my pain, had a touch of pity even. As an outsider, I asked him his real opinion on Norwich. He paused, thinking, “Irrelevant”, he said, “that is what you are. Of no consequence, not disliked, just invisible” Worse was to come, unbelievably, “I am no longer certain that you are a better team than us anymore…”
Wish I hadn’t asked. That is how we are seen by others. Devastating. It needs to change. It must change. COYY!!!
Sheesh. Nice try, Gary. But another 3-0 loss will have Delia & Stuart W shifting uncomfortably in their seats as the inevitable but unwanted decision looms ever nearer.
I didn’t realise that Burnley hadn’t won at home for 13 games. God forbid anybody mentions that wretched phrase ‘along come norwich’.
I recall with some discomfort the previous meeting at carrow road. Quite how the softest touch in the league found itself down to 9 men before halftime against the league’s worst bunch of bully boys and cloggers is a matter for the referee’s conscience. However, it is a measure of the cynicism and law-bending required at times needed to extract results from this billionaires’ playground.
If Farke isn’t aware already and he by chance happens to read this excellent piece and its contributions on the team coach, some advice for him. Dyche will see this as the biggest ‘ must-win game of his managerial career. Failure to beat us tomorrow would be disastrous for Burnley and cast them in the role of match of the day whipping boys this weekend, relieving us temporarily of the mantle.
To that end, I fully expect a torrid opening twenty minutes, all flying elbows, late challenges, with corners, free kicks and throw-ins all belted into our box with monotonous regularity. The half-arsed pansy approach to games seen thus far will render the game over by the thrifty minute mark. Be ready, and make sure the players are ready.
I’m praying that at some stage this week, Krul Hanley, Gibson et al, will have drawn a line in the sand and decided ‘no mas’ and present a far more stern and determined effort. One hopefully the rest of the side will adopt and grow into. Perhaps, mercifully for once that corrupt contraption known as VAR will keep its ugly snout out and we stop fannying around at the back long enough to frustrate the one-dimensional hosts. Then perhaps a long ball over the top sets Tzolis free and he redeems his penalty cock up by burying the only goal of the game to send me into orbits of extreme ecstasy and reaching for the remote planner to recompute match of the day into the menus.
Enough really is enough now,
Given everything said above, some people want Andrew O to play instead of Hanley……! Can you imagine the stick he would get from Chris Wood?
Burnley and their fans see this as a “just turn up to win” game. Which it probably is, unfortunately. I don’t see anything but another defeat.
Gary; I was sort of feeling just a little bit confident that we might just scrape a point tomorrow.
However, that light has just been extinguished as it appears we have the same team of officials tomorrow (Kevin Friend and Sean Dyche) as we did when we last met Burnley.
It’s all a bit worrying, particularly as the refs have been asked to be more lenient this season!
Obviously no one at the PL looks back at past performances of the officials/opposing managers.
O T B C
David Bowers says
We absolutely can not lose this. We gave Arsenal the boost they needed. Everton got off lightly during a crises. Leicester weren’t at the top of their game but got a win. Even Liverpool and Man City were uncharacteristically dropping points when we played them.
We need to take advantage of Burnley’s predicament and not be the catalyst for a revival.
Can we erect a statue of Farke outside the ground if we manage to muster a win at some point this season?
Midfield Mike says
Can our ailing Canaries stop Dyche’s Clarets putting it up ’em?
Can our ailing Canaries stop Dyche’s Clarets putting it up ’em?
Yep, they are more than capable!
I’ve said it before, but – go out on that pitch every matchday, and stick a spoke in the wheels of every other team in the Premiership – and at the final whistle, grin, hold your heads up, and love it all