The ACN Match Review – Burnley (A)

02/10/21

Burnley hadn't won in 13 home games before the visit of Norwich to Turf Moor today. So was the writing always on the wall? Matthew McGregor went to find out...

Biggest positive

I can’t put into words just how good it feels to walk away from a ground without feeling let down and a bit shit about life. The team fought all the way. The support was rock solid throughout. 

It is, obviously, hardly a triumph for the yellows. We played so much better than last week, Burnley were there for the taking and we didn’t take them. 

But while some have already surrendered on this season, the team – and the manager – certainly haven’t, and they had the support of the fans in the ground throughout and at the full time whistle. 

Biggest problem

We need to do some goals, obviously. And while we made a good many opportunities today, there weren’t that many heart-in-mouth moments. Pukki and Sargent were both making good runs. Normann poses a real threat. And Kabak was 3 or 4 strides and shot on target from a goal of the season contender. But ultimately, we weren’t that threatening. And until that changes, it’ll be morale-boosting performances like today more than points-boosting results.

Funniest moment of the game

The Burnley fans were driven to absolute mania by the referee. They had about 14 penalty shouts waved away, including when Krul seemed to punch a Burnley player in the head.

The Burnley players were typically ranty from the off. At one point a full on melee seemed to develop after Hanley went to defend the ref from a crowd of players in claret and blue. It is always hugely entertaining to see (well, until the ref caves and gives a soft penalty). This all accumulated into the delightful sight of Sean Dyche having a wobbly at the final whistle. 

Did an Along Come Norwich happen?

It was inevitable that an along come Norwich would happen given the incredible xACN laid out before the game. Maybe that’s why it feels like such a result. 0-0 is a decent result for Burnley, but really could have, and probably should have, been three points for city. 

Norwich’s best player

Mathias Normann is very good himself and he makes the team better. He does make some bad decisions and isn’t perfect in his distribution, but when he gets it right he’s the best player on the field. He’s hungry for the ball, and is snappy in trying to get it back from the opposition. 

Normann will get most of the plaudits but Grant Hanley deserves a mention too. He was immense today and made some of the tight challenges that had home fans going bananas. Brave, strong and quick. 

What was the atmosphere like?

Comfortably the best since the FA Cup game against Spurs with decent noise throughout and very, very loud noise from 50 minutes on. It was especially good to have total positivity from whistle to whistle and beyond, with a notably positive reception for the players and for Daniel Farke at full time. I personally really enjoyed the chants for Josh Sargent – that’s the loudest I’ve U-S-A U-S-A chanted since the night I was outside the White House after they announced the death of bin Laden. 

Burnley fans were better than Everton last week, but that’s the lowest of bars to get over. To be fair there wasn’t loads to get spark off home fan noise other then the ref. 

It’s a good day out though, Burnley. Good pubs, friendly fans, decent ground, good company, scenic journey, good pies and pints. What’s not to like?

Summary

The outcome of this game has divided opinion a bit. A point is a point, and the fight is still very clearly there for this team. Being there gives you some real fan goggles and I walked away from the game absolutely buzzing. 

But it’s clear we don’t have the quality on the pitch to stay in this division, not even close. The attack is a particular concern. Pukki doesn’t have the service, Sargent doesn’t have the quality, and Idah doesn’t have the confidence. Until that’s sorted, nothing else matters. 

For now, what matters most is that we’re off the mark, and for me personally, heading home feeling great about my team is enough for now. 

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