Burnley have forgotten how to attack

Some supporters have suggested that Burnley have been embarking on a secret mission to bring down the Premier League pay-per-view scheme. After all, the Clarets have been involved in the only two goalless draws that have taken place under the controversial £14.95 match-fee scheme! 

The latest of those draws was against Brighton & Hove Albion and Burnley fans were polarised. Many were happy with the clean sheet and the point but others were quick to point out the lack of attacking impetus from Sean Dyche's team.  

The fact that young Jimmy Dunne is Burnley's highest goalscorer in the Premier League, after seven matches, is quite astonishing. 

Burnley have won the ball in advanced positions but the players just aren't engineering chances out of those situations.

It's about being proactive and thinking quickly in those moments. The other team have been caught and the forward momentum should be Burnley's. The forward four players, strikers and wide players, do not go for the kill. They take two or three touches and play a safe pass to keep hold of the ball. Suddenly, that presentable situation disappears. 

In the Brighton match, the Seagulls were nervous in playing out from the back, giving the ball away on several occasions in the opening stages. But Burnley simply lacked a penetrative desire to make the most out of it. Two or three quick passes and you can engineer a chance. Instead, the passing is slow and overly-safe. There seems to be a fear in taking even the smallest risks. 

It was similar against Tottenham Hotspur. Matt Doherty and Ben Davies were particularly sloppy with their passing but the North Londoners continued to get away with it because Burnley simply didn't know how to properly react in those cruicial moments. Two or three slow passes end up morphing into territorial possession and the opposing team can recover into their defensive shape. 

Past penetration

Last season, Burnley overturned West Ham United 3-0. The Hammers were a shambles defensively and Dyche's men were ruthless.

The second goal, a clinical finish from Chris Wood, exemplified a killer streak, as shown on the Sky Sports highlights reel. Dwight McNeil robbed the ball from Fabian Balbuena before bursting into the space in-behind an advanced Ryan Fredericks. The winger then played a first-time cross into the box for Wood to rifle home.

This was a team that was confident in what they were doing. West Ham were making mistakes and Burnley were ready to take advantage.

Would McNeil have had the presence of mind to do this at the moment? More likely, the 20-year-old would have taken another touch or two and perhaps rolled the ball to somebody running onto the action.

The players are thinking too much about what they're doing. They are afraid about giving the ball away and wasting the chance. But they need to understand that by being careful they are wasting their chances anyway. 

There seems to be this shock that Burnley aren't creating many chances in their 4-4-2. They never did. Not really. A team that is much more reactive than it is proactive. 

An in-form Burnley would be more decisive, shifting the ball quickly while the other team is in recovery and make a chance out of the situation. It doesn't have to be a goal but at least show the intent to make the most out of opposition mistakes.

Perhaps it would make sense to tinker with the strikers. Jay Rodriguez and Matej Vydra would offer a different kind of threat to the more physical presences of Ashley Barnes and Wood. The fundemantal issue is about being quicker with the football and thinking more quickly and that requires intelligent movement off-the-ball. 

Rodriguez and Vydra are certainly more dynamic with the ball at their feet that the current starters. They are also more The only issue is that you lose a little bit of physicality but, in truth, that physicality hasn't served much purpose over the course of this season. 

Defensive resolve

On the bright side, it seems as though Burnley's defensive struggles are a thing of the past. Two clean sheets out of four and it was almost three in that tight match against Spurs.

There has been an obvious improvement in that respect, no doubt helped by the return of James Tarkowski and, more recently, Ben Mee. Before the first international break, the Clarets had conceded eight goals in three Premier League matches. 

Dyche will hope to use this upcoming international break to reinforce a killer instinct. The defence is now looking like its old self. Now, it's time to focus on the other end of the pitch. 

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