Burnley v Leicester City: Premier League - Talking Points!
Honours were even at Turf Moor as the Clarets collected a fourth successive draw at home in the Premier League.
Matej Vydra gave the Clarets the ideal start when scoring his first league goal of the campaign.
The striker capitalised on Hamza Choudhury’s error, took the ball past Wilfred Ndidi and beat Kasper Schmeichel with an emphatic finish.
The Foxes equalised in the 34th minute when Kelechi Iheanacho watched Ndidi’s pass float over his shoulder before volleying past Nick Pope.
Here are the talking points.
Sean Dyche has often referred to the ‘highs and lows’ of football or, more specifically, functioning in a manner that limits the risk of getting carried away with either.
The Burnley boss is a realist and, having taken charge of 217 games at this level, he’s well-versed in the ups and downs of the Premier League.
A 4-0 loss might have been of significant detriment to some, but for Dyche it was a subtle reminder of the world we’re now operating in.
Nothing more, nothing less. That’s the reason why the Clarets - certainly since the start of last season - have genrally responded in the aftermath of such events.
They won twice on the back of the 5-0 defeat to Spurs last term and would later embark on a seven-game unbeaten run after a similar setback against Manchester City at the back end of the campaign.
And they repeated that feat earlier this season when clocking up 11 points from six games following a trouncing against Pep Guardiola’s side at the Etihad Stadium.
“There’s a balanced view of a season’s work,” Dyche said. “It’s tough coming out of the result on Sunday. There was a lot of noise about that one, but it happens.
“If they turn up and you don’t, against a side like that, you can often get hurt. We forget about that game in the perfect manner.”
Burnley were vastly improved against the Foxes, putting performances against West Brom and Spurs well and truly behind them.
There was a greater energy to the side, they moved the ball with purpose and intent, mixing up their play and posed an attacking threat.
The home side did more with less of the ball, having been guilty of doing the exact opposite in the frustrating stalemate against the 10-man Baggies.
Without Schmeichel’s intervention, Burnley’s efforts may have been rewarded with a couple of extra points.
Dyche added: “We parked that [the Spurs game] very quickly and I’m pleased that we did. I thought tonight was a very good response performance-wise to take on a side in Leicester who are equalling Man City away from home.
“They are certainly no mugs, we knew that. We got a point, which is pleasing, we may have taken more, but the performance and reaction was superb, particularly in the second half. I thought we were very solid.
“I don’t really overthink positives and negatives, what I do is realities. We’ve been stretched in terms of numbers as a side and I think we’ve shown a good mentality to come through that period.
“I look at that performance tonight and I’m really pleased with it. I was pleased with the energy, physicality and the belief in what we do. I’m forever proud of all these players and what they give us.”
Dyche claimed his 250th Premier League point with yet another positive outcome against a side outside the established “big six”.
Burnley’s record at Turf Moor in games not including City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea or Spurs is quite impeccable.
Since promotion in 2016 the Clarets have been involved in 61 games at home of which they’ve won 33.
They’ve lost just 13 of those, drawn 15, scored 83 goals, conceded 52 and taken 114 points out of a possible 183, with 26 clean sheets. They’ve only failed to score in seven of those fixtures as well.
“I think over the season, after our initial spell, we have made it tougher for teams here,” said Dyche.
“We have always had a strong record here, relative to the Premier League, playing some really good sides in this period as well.
“The performance level was pleasing.”
The Clarets, who have now drawn four games on the bounce at home in the league for the first time since August 2011, haven’t lost at Turf Moor having taken the lead in more than two years.
The last time they didn’t take any points from a game after getting their noses in front was the 3-1 loss against Liverpool in December 2018.
A total of 45 games - of which 19 they have netted first - have been played since James Milner, Roberto Firmino and Xherdan Shaqiri canclled out Jack Cork’s opener.
LITTLE AND LARGE
There has been nothing comedic about Burnley’s fortunes in front of goal this season, but Dyche may have stumbled on a double act that could just get them in (show) business.
With Ashley Barnes still sidelined, and Jay Rodriguez rested, ‘Opportunity Knocks’ for one of the club’s lesser-seen partnerships.
The ‘big man, little man’ combination in a 4-4-2 is a rarity in football nowadays, particularly in the top-flight of English football.
Long-gone are the days of John Toshack and Kevin Keegan, Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips, Tore Andre Flo and Gianfranco Zola, or Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe, with coaches trialling uber-cool formations which employ trios, false nines and trequartistas.
Dyche, however, may have refashioned a dying breed that had served the Clarets well in recent years.
We’ve rarely seen the pairing of Wood and Vydra in the Premier League, unless the latter was introduced as a late substitute to play alongside the New Zealander.
It worked to good effect in the final 15 minutes against Aston Villa when Vydra’s arrival inspired a dramatic turnaround at Turf Moor.
And we were given a glimpse of what could be on offer - with a little more familiarity - when they were paired together for the 1-1 draw at home to Leicester City in midweek.
The Czech Republic international ended a run of 1,212 minutes without a Premier League goal, netting his first since February 2020 against Bournemouth, with a stunning finish within five minutes.
Wood almost capped a fine return to action with a goal when denied by Schmeichel on two occasions in the second half, both with the fingertips.
Dyche, who has had success with similar blends in the past, including Charlie Austin with both Martin Paterson and Danny Ings, the latter with Sam Vokes and Ashley Barnes, as well as Andre Gray and Vokes, said: “We were looking at the options we have up front generally and the options of freshness.
“Woody with his strength and when he needs to he competes, and Vyds with his work on the shoulder.
“I thought it was a good combination and some of the work Vyds did across the lines, holding the ball up for us and building for us, particularly in the second half, was pleasing.
“I thought there was a good bit of clarity from both of them.”