Zaha Terrifies Clarets

It is said that in politics a week is a long time; well it seems that the same premise also applies to football.

Just seven days ago, Burnley supporters myself included, were celebrating victory over Tottenham after a thrilling performance and were indulging in some vainglorious boasting that the Clarets battle against relegation had been all but won.

But two sloppy performances and two defeats later, Burnley are once again conscious of being hauled back into the relegation mire they had worked so hard to extricate themselves from since the New Year.

More troubling was the fact that those two defeats – at Newcastle in mid-week and at home to Crystal Palace yesterday – came in matches that Burnley could have reasonably expected to emerge from with a share of the points.

With their next fixture being a Anfield against Jurgen Klopp’s title-chasing Liverpool, Burnley are now left staring down the barrel of three consecutive defeats.

In these circumstances, saving graces come few and far between and the only one that can be mustered would be that in yesterday’s match, some facets of Burnley’s game functioned reasonably well.

There were good levels of energy and at no juncture did the team run out of endeavour, but the precision and crispness of the Spurs performance was missing, particularly evident from the persistent over, or under, hitting of the final ball.

In fairness to Palace, they defended well and took their breakaway chances with a sureness of touch; although they could scarcely claim too much credit for the early first goal, which bounced in off the unfortunate Phil Bardsley.

Zaha had turned Taylor inside out and whipped a ball across the penalty box.This was a portent of things to come, by the time Zaha was withdrawn Taylor must have felt exactly what twisted blood feels like.

The second, which arrived soon after the interval, was the result of a smooth move and smart finish from Michy Batshuayi and by the time Wilfred Zaha jinked his way through the Burnley defence for the third, all was lost.

Ashley Barnes’ almost apologetic header as stoppage time beckoned would have been described as a consolation goal, except that it did not offer any.

Results elsewhere have ensured that Burnley have still managed to keep a cushion between themselves and the drop zone, but relying upon the largesse of relegation rivals is not a sustainable strategy.

Burnley must re-group and go again if they are to keep themselves buoyant in the Premier League.

Written by Dave Thornley who contributes regularly for Clarets Mad. (TEC.)