After mustering just one shot against Manchester City and six against Chelsea, the Arsenal attack put up 30 shots on Saturday against Norwich. Seven on target and only one in the back of the net, but the only stat that matters is the three points Arsenal picked up to get their 2021-22 season started. Mikel Arteta’s simply had to find a way to get the result, and they did.
Up next, is a Burnley side who like Arsenal and Norwich, have gotten off to a slow start this season. Their four league matches have produced three goals but resulted in just one point after seeing a lead against Everton fall apart in the second half on Monday. We spoke with the TurfCast podcast to get a sense of how things are going with Burnley, their summer transfer activity, manager Sean Dyche, and how they see Saturday’s match going.
TSF: Despite finishing 17th last season, Burnley are now in their 6th consecutive year in the Premier League. Have you gotten more confident over that time that the club’s experience will help keep them up and what are your expectations for this season?
TCP: I think if anything the club feels to have stagnated a little bit over the last few years and we seem to be going backward. It’s worth remembering we finished 7th and 10th in 3 seasons not so long ago. However despite the start to the season, it does feel that with the summer signings we are starting to address the stagnation - but it will take a few windows of investment for me.
TSF: Nathan Collins and Maxwel Cornet were the two bigger money summer transfers, but how would you assess the transfer window as a whole?
TCP: I’m pleased with it. Cornet has [UEFA] Champions League experience and we’ve managed to convince him to come from a club like Lyon so I think it’s a bit of a coup for Burnley. Collins will be a backup defender this year before taking James Tarkowski’s place when he leaves in the summer, but again he is good business. Same for Roberts, he looks decent and will slot into the team probably next season in place of Lowton. Hennessey is decent business too as it gives us an experienced backup keeper while letting Bailey go out on loan — where he’s smashing it at Sheffield Wednesday. So all in all I feel like we have done decent business, and we kept all our main players.
TSF: Do you see their additions as the start of a shift in Burnley’s transfer strategy to aim for younger players, including from abroad?
TCP: Definitely - and it’s needed. The squad is aging and needs fresh blood. It’s also good to see us go a little further afield than Stoke to sign a player. It’s interesting because Dyche was seen as this manager who only wanted Brexit footballers from Stoke but since the transfer window he’s said some comments in regards to that saying it was the old chairman who wouldn’t take a risk. So it’s no surprise that now we have a new board we’re broadening our horizons a little.
TSF: Which new addition will have the biggest impact for Burnley this season?
TCP: Hopefully Cornet, he can take some of the creative pressure off McNeil. We just need Dyche to play him and let him loose a little bit. Hopefully, we see him sooner rather than later.
TSF: Looking at the outgoing transfers and the current squad, what is the biggest gap for the Clarets?
TCP: Central midfield for me. When we lose games it tends to be because we have been overrun in midfield either because the opposition is playing three CMs against our two or just that our midfield is quite lightweight. We only have three CMs at the club too so just one injury and we’re down to the bare bones
TSF: This is now manager Sean Dyche’s tenth season in charge at Burnley having helped the team be promoted twice. How long do you see him staying at Burnley and do fans believe that he is the right manager to keep moving the club forward?
TCP: I would have him in a job for life but some fans are starting to get a little unsettled. But there have been no real serious calls for him to leave - which would be suicide. Without him, we’re down, simple as that.
TSF: Who is a player to watch this season that most non-Burnley fans will not be familiar with yet?
TCP: To be fair I think we’re at a stage now where everybody is familiar with the Burnley squad. If I had to choose someone I’d say Maxwel Cornet just because he’s the only new player that could be in the starting 11 this season. But other than that there won’t be many surprises from Burnley.
TSF: It’s been a slow start to the season with just one point from their first three matches. How would you rate their early performances against how the team may play as we get farther into the season?
TCP: It’s been a weird start to the season. We’ve played well and been the better side in three of our games, and even taken the lead, but failed to win any of them. So there are encouraging signs but there are also worrying elements. When Burnley take the lead you could have put your house on them winning the game, but we’ve taken the lead in three games this season and taken one point from them. It happened towards the end of last season too. So these are not great signs.
TSF: What is your projected formation and lineup for Burnley this weekend?
TCP: Knowing Dyche it will be the same lineup as the weekend and a 442. Hopefully, he changes it up a little bit and starts Vydra instead of Barnes up top.
TSF: And, finally, give us your prediction for the result on Saturday.
TCP: I'm going for 1-1. A Burnley set-piece goal to take the lead but then Arsenal will change things up and get the equaliser. Story of our season!
Thanks to the TurfCast podcast for discussing Burnley with us ahead of the match this weekend. Arsenal travel to Turf Moor this Saturday at 10 am ET / 7 am PT.