TALKING TACTICS: Burnley FC have to watch deadly duo

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IN the second of a three-part look at Burnley’s next opponents - Middlesbrough - Phil Smith reveals what qualities the men from Teeside will bring to the table at Turf Moor.

Part Two – Offensive organisation and transition

Middlesbrough are enjoying their best start to a campaign in 17 years.

Attack minded, and with a high tempo, we can expect to be presented with a formation resembling 3-5-1-1. Unusual? Maybe so. However, the league table does not lie. Middlesbrough currently occupy fourth place.

Justin Hoyte, Joe Bennett, Nicky Bailey, Rhys Williams and Julio Arca will continue in the middle.

Bennett and Hoyte predominately operate as full backs. However, a recent injury to Scott McDonald has forced the system to be reshuffled. The Australian international is currently nursing a hamstring injury.

Short build up results in first pass to Stephen McManus, Matthew Bates or Tony McMahon.

Carl Ikeme places the ball onto the head of Barry Robson in long build up. Desired outcome will be flick behind the defensive line to utilise the pace of Marvin Emnes (See Diagram A).

The movement of the former Sparta Rotterdam player is unpredictable. It can either be in front of, or behind the last defender.

Aggressive second ball with Williams reacting and organising the shape of the side.

Bailey will be involved in central penetrating runs.

Robson will play off Emnes. Burnley must be alert to the combination between the pair. We will see numerous decoy and across the face runs. My recommendation is for Trippier and Easton to close well inside.

Caution must be paid to the awareness of Arca. Inside diagonals to be expected when Robson tucks back into the midfield unit.

Middlesbrough will attack balls into our box diagonally. Robson will use his strength to generate space and attack the penalty spot. Emnes will fake back post but arrive at near (See diagram B).

The team has notched 10 league goals this season. Six of these have come from the “deadly duo”.

A quick and aggressive change in attitude is evident upon gaining possession.

The movement in depth from Emnes can be utilised from the defensive third. Middlesbrough will look to release him into the gap behind our defensive line.

If an aggressive transition is not possible, Robson and Williams will seek to organise the tempo and momentum of the game

Mistakes are apparent inside the defensive third, resulting in a reduction in the pressure they can exert. I would advise Burnley to exploit this area. It is an ideal position in which to eliminate their transition.

Goals win games. Middlesbrough have found the back of the net in each of their previous seventeen fixtures.

• Don’t miss Part Three in Friday’s Express!

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