Talking Tactics

Burnley's new front two can inspire fast start at Palace

By Adrian Clarke 27 Jun 2020
Vydra and Rodriguez, Burnley

Adrian Clarke says, fitness permitting, Matej Vydra and Jay Rodriguez can end their team's hoodoo against the Eagles

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As Crystal Palace manager, Roy Hodgson boasts a 100 per cent record against fellow Englishman Sean Dyche.

During a run that stretches back to January 2018, Burnley have scored only one goal across four defeats to Hodgson’s Eagles.

If the Clarets are to end this hoodoo at Selhurst Park on Monday night, they must do so with their back-up forward line, fitness permitting.

A different line of attack

Matej Vydra and Jay Rodriguez offer Burnley an alternative route to goal in style compared with that of the injured Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes.

Rather than dominating their markers with aerial power and physicality, Vydra and Rodriguez rely on sharpness, skill and clever movement.

In five of Burnley's last six outings, Vydra and Rodriguez have been the principle front two, with the only loss in that period coming at Manchester City.

Each striker has scored twice so the Clarets seem to have modified their approach pretty successfully.

In fact, over the course of the campaign, Burnley have shown a greater goal threat when Vydra and Rodriguez are playing.

While the pair have been on the pitch, the team have scored a goal every 59 minutes, a huge improvement on the season average of 79.7 minutes.

Burnley goal threat 2019/20 
Burnley Vydra + Rodriguez Rest of season All season
Mins played 413 2,377 2,790
Goals 7 28 35
Mins/goal 59.0 84.9 79.7

Vydra and Rodriguez's movement caused Watford problems during the first half of their 1-0 victory on Thursday.

Making a series of runs into the channel in behind a relatively high line, they helped Burnley turn defence into attack very quickly.

Palace tend to defend fairly deep but if Vydra and Rodriguez's combined runs are dynamic and clever enough, this pair can cause Eagles centre-backs Gary Cahill and Mamadou Sakho just as many issues.  

Of course this two-pronged attack may be blunted before it can get going on Monday night if "J-Rod" fails to recovers in time from the foot injury he picked up at Vicarage Road.

First goal critical

Home and away Burnley set up to be hard to break down, and the stats from this season prove they are right to be cautious from the outset.

When they do concede the opening goal, Dyche’s men have a poor record chasing matches, collecting only five points from that position.

By contrast, their tremendous organisation helps make them absolutely outstanding front-runners.

They have been 1-0 up in 14 matches this season and converted these scores into 11 victories, losing only once.

Burnley's PL record
2019/20 BUR score first BUR concede first
Matches 14 16
Average points 2.5 0.3
Goal difference +20 (F25 A5) -30 (F10 A40)

To break their poor run against Palace, you feel it is imperative they score first.

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