Dave Thornley, the Clarets Mad resident match summariser reflects on Monday night’s game at Turf Moor.
Just how did West Ham get so good? It wasn’t so long ago that the perceived incompetence of their ownership would invite sneers and derision from fans of other clubs, and howls of protest from their own. It was only last season in fact that Burnley won both matches against a West Ham team who were battling relegation.
On Monday night at Turf Moor however, West Ham returned the compliment, by completing a league double over the Clarets with a performance that was far more emphatic than the 2-1 score-line would indicate.
From a club who gave every impression of being consigned to forever shuffle around the bottom reaches of the table under a succession of workmanlike but uninspiring managers; West Ham are now serious top-four contenders, possessing players with skill, verve, and imagination; whose talents have been harnessed and honed by David Moyes, a manager whose flush looked to have been busted after a string of disappointing appointments.
In short, West Ham have achieved what Burnley aspire to achieve, and what in past seasons they have achieved.
The West Ham ownership deserve credit for an impressive recruitment policy, which has yielded the likes of Said Benrahma, Jarrod Bowen, Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal for an outlay which, if not modest, was certainly within the bounds of affordability by the standards of the Premier League.
In addition, their imaginative use of the loan market allowed West Ham to secure the services of Jesse Lingard whose career has been invigorated by his temporary move from Manchester United.
The question therefore needs to be asked; what can Burnley learn from West Ham’s success? Surely it should not be beyond the wit of the Clarets’ ownership to replicate, or at least imitate, what last night’s opponents have been able to achieve.
Burnley’s performance certainly fell below the standards they had set in their previous outing at Wolves, but it wasn’t dreadful, it is just that West Ham were that much better.
In fact, Burnley took the lead, when a goal mouth scramble concluded with a foul on Chris Wood, who picked himself up and slotted home the penalty.
The Clarets’ lead was short-lived, within two minutes the robustly dangerous Michail Antonio headed in an equaliser from a curling, right wing cross.
It wasn’t long before Antonio doubled his, and West Ham’s, tally when his outstretched foot turned in Benrahma’s wickedly teasing cross.
For most of the remainder of the game West Ham surged forward and it only seemed a matter of time before the chances they carved out would produce more goals. But to their credit, Burnley’s defence held firm.
Burnley’s problems were further forward; too many stray passes allowing too many opportunities for the Hammers to break on them and apply yet more pressure.
Of course, regular Burnley watchers will have seen them absorb similar quantities of pressure before and emerge with at least a point; and Jay Rodriguez almost notched an unlikely – and frankly undeserved – equaliser, when he prodded the ball wide from close range.
Burnley now move on to an away fixture at Craven Cottage against Fulham. Make no mistake, Fulham will be up for the clash, it is their last throw of the dice, they will give it their all, but Burnley have enough about them to resist all that Fulham may throw their way. If they do so, then their task of maintaining Premier League status will be complete and we can all breathe easily and look forward to the summer. We live in hope.
Ken Hanson posts across social media from articles written by Dave, which are edited and posted from Clarets Mad, by The Editors Chair (TEC).