Burnley's 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United on Monday evening reflected how their season has gone thus far. Defensive frailties have left the Clarets far too exposed and it is not surprising that they have conceded almost as many this year as they did during the whole of the 2017-18 campaign.
Lack of organisation in defence
Some will argue that Burnley were unfortunate to go behind after Ben Mee diverted into his own net. However, Sean Dyche's side should have been able to clear the initial clearance and left far too much space for Federico Fernandez to get his shot away.
The second goal was another one that would not have been conceded last year. Matt Lowton completely misjudged the cross from Matt Ritchie as he got underneath it, allowing a free header behind him. Don't forget that Newcastle should have added a third when Ritchie missed a sitter at the back post.
There a variety of reasons for this slump in form. Nick Pope's injury, a lack of confidence throughout the squad, an unsettled back four and teams being able to work Burnley out after a sighter last season.
Too predictable going forward
And the one-dimensional nature of the side is having a negative impact going forward. There seems to be a huge hole in the Burnley eleven due to a lack of a number ten in the side. With Steven Defour and Jack Cork sitting at the base of midfield against Newcastle, as is their natural positions, Chris Wood often found himself dropping off the frontline to pick up the ball and spray it out wide.
That tactic became all too easy to predict. From minute one, it was obvious Burnley wanted to get the ball wide to their full-backs. When Wood dropped short, Sam Vokes was left trying to work the line against three Newcastle central defenders - a masterful tactic by Rafa Benitez.
Burnley got more success when they reverted to lumping the ball forward, an approach that created a goal for Vokes and several chances for Wood. Yet such a tactic gradually weighed on the shoulders of Robbie Brady to create the opportunities and you could clearly see the weight of expectation taking its toll as he looked shattered by the time he was taking off - after completing just 62% of his passes.
The problem for the Clarets is they have no Plan B - January could be a critical time to see if they can find a creative spark to give them another option.