BURNLEY (A); THE PREVIEW

20/09/19

After the joy of last weekend, City have a differently difficult assignment this week as they head north for a trip to Turf Moor. Andy Lawn chats to Burnley fan and columnist Andrew Greaves

Andy - How do you feel this season has started for your boys?

Andrew Greaves - I think it’s been a relatively decent start - it’s certainly better than last year. We had a good result on the opening day against Southampton and have picked up a couple of away points since so we’re currently on a point a game which usually keeps you up.

We were unlucky not to get all three points at Wolves but then probably a bit fortunate to rescue one last weekend at Brighton, so it’s all swings and roundabouts.

The opening day was a very impressive scoreline, but, admittedly only from the highlights, it seemed like a very even game, in which you took your chances and Southampton missed theirs. Is that fair or did the highlights make it appear more even than it was?

No, I think it was two teams who were feeling their way into the season. Southampton had a couple of chances first half but just collapsed in the second half if I’m honest. The scoreline probably flattered us a bit but it was good to get off to such a flyer.

Yeah absolutely, a stark contrast to last season. How much did Europe take out of you do you think? And it's still worth it, isn't it?

I think the Europe thing last year was an issue - the extra games in pre-season, the travelling, the Thursday-Sunday schedule all disrupted our usual pattern. I also think the lack of depth in the squad meant we weren't able to give it as good a go as fans wanted. I think it was clear that it was becoming a bit of a hindrance and that I think told in some of the performances.

That said, it was definitely worth it because I can now say I've seen us in European competition (albeit only at Turf Moor sadly).

Given the success of two years ago in reaching Europe and then last season's, lets call it 'more sedate' season. What are expectations at Turf Moor for this campaign? Still just a case of survival?

I think every year we look at survival as being the key goal but I do think we have to be a bit more ambitious than that, given we're now more established. I know Sean Dyche refuses to think of anything other than survival until that is achieved, but he's also very realistic and he'll know what this squad is capable of.

We didn't have the biggest or best transfer window but I still think this squad - when fully fit - is probably the strongest he's had at his disposal since he's been here.

Personally, I'd love a top-half finish and I don't think it's out of reach but there's probably a lot of other teams share that view.

How about ourselves? What have you made of Norwich's start to the season? What did you expect of us before it began and have those perceptions changed for the better (or worse) since?

I thought last week against Manchester City you were absolutely fantastic.

I honestly thought you would struggle this season but I'm happy to admit that I've changed that opinion now.

It's difficult to even play anywhere near the level of City but to outplay them, as a newly-promoted club, I think is proof that you'll be OK.

There's a number of standout players - Pukki obviously with the goals and Cantwell looks a real player. I've had a couple of visits to Carrow Road in the past and it's a proper ground with a decent atmosphere.

I think it would be fair to say the Manchester City performance took all of us by surprise. Not in the way that we played as we have played that style of football for a while now, but more because of the context of having almost an entire team out injured.

At home, newly promoted, you still expect to beat us Saturday I presume? (The Man City result makes me less optimistic than before perversely, after the Lord Mayor's Show and all that...)

I think there may be an element of 'after the Lord Mayor's Show' and it is difficult to keep consistency in performances in the Premier League (as we know too well). Whether I 'expect' us to beat you though it probably a little too strong. I'd expect a result but whether that's one point or three points I think is down to the football gods.

On to Saturday then, where are you strongest and who should we be looking out for?

I think we've looked pretty strong defensively this season - the pairing of Mee and Tarkowski is very good.

Upfront Ashley Barnes is the obvious danger. He's a bit like Pukki in terms of him perhaps being a player which doesn't set many pulses racing on paper but he certainly knows where the net is and will cause defenders problems all day long.

How about the other side of that coin, where might we get at you?

I think the way you cut through City at times is a worry. Cork and Westwood are a good central midfield pairing but if you were to pack the midfield then that could be a problem area for us, especially given the fact that we don't tend to get too narrow (wingers coming into the centre etc)

That bodes well in that we do like to play through the lines, although our FBs get high up the pitch, so we're ripe for being counter-attacked.

Let's finish with a very specific prediction. I am going for an entertaining score draw. I think we might start fast, buoyed by last week and take the lead through Emi Buendia. You'll grow into the contest though and hit back with 2 goals, both Ashley Barnes headers, before a rare Jamal Lewis goal nicks a point with 10 to go.

I'm going for a 2-1 Burnley win. I think we'll take the lead through Chris Wood's first goal of the season and lead 1-0 at half-time before a Pukki equaliser around the hour mark. Ashley Barnes will notch a typical Barnes winner with 12 minutes to go.

Comments

There are no comments on this article yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Jon Punt reviews the most special of evenings at Carrow Road. Tell your kids, tell your grandchildren, tell anyone who will listen. You were there when our City beat that City.......

Duncan Edwards gives his take on another away defeat for the Nodge.