Burnley must find a way to score to keep Premier League survival hopes alive
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Having been promoted as Championship runners-up behind Leicester City, propelled by the 41 league goal partnership of Danny Ings and Sam Vokes - 47 in all competitions - Burnley started life back in the top flight without the latter, who had suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury.
Dyche had brought in Lukas Jutkiewicz and Marvin Sordell over the summer, and Burnley would open the scoring in their first game at home to Chelsea through midfielder Scott Arfield, only for the Blues to roar back to win 3-1.
That began a goal drought lasting 47 days and a club record 10 hours and 55 minutes of match time without finding the net, before Michael Kightly scored a first equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Leicester.
As Dyche said at the time: "They don't get any pressure from me by the way, none of them.
"Brian Clough said it's the hardest thing in the world.
“He actually said it to Teddy Sheringham, before reminding him that he'd managed it 251 times in 274 games, but that was a typical Brian Clough moment.
"I know that. I don't put any pressure on our strikers.
“They have the freedom to go and score goals and I believe they will come for our strikers.
"I realise people will think the challenge is huge for a club like Burnley, we haven't spent a lot of money, we haven't played regularly in the Premier League.
"But we have a group who are very honest, who want to learn, who want to improve - and they want the challenge.”
The season would end in relegation, despite Ings finishing with 11 league goals, earning a move to Liverpool, while George Boyd and Ashley Barnes added five each.
The problem was, the Clarets scored only seven more Premier League goals in total - 28.
That remains their lowest tally in seven full seasons at this level under Dyche, but things have come full circle, and that low is under threat.
Having won promotion back to the Premier League immediately as champions in 2016, Burnley hit 39 goals to stay up for the first time, and then scored 36 in finishing seventh in 2017/18.
Burnley netted a best of 45 the following season, and 43 in finishing 10th in 2020/21, but only 33 last season, and, this term, with 11 games to go, 22 and counting, with none in the last three.
Back in October, it was a case that the Clarets were creating chances, but struggling to put them away.
In terms of big chances created in the Premier League, Burnley were ranked sixth.
However, that appears to have slipped as well, with statistics now showing the Clarets are 17th in that regard, with 29 – the same as Arsenal, who, with 43 goals, have managed to score almost twice as many.
When you look at expected goals, Burnley are next bottom with 25.5, with only Norwich keeping them off the bottom.
The Clarets come in in 12th place when you look at big chances missed – a table topped by Liverpool, followed by Manchester City and then United.
Burnley have to find a way to up their output in the remaining 11 games, and try and get more goals out of a strikeforce which has so far garnered six from Maxwel Cornet, three from the departed Chris Wood, and one each from Jay Rodriguez, Wout Weghorst and Matej Vydra.
Who supplies the bullets though? Ashley Westwood is top assist maker with three, ahead of Matt Lowton, Rodriguez, James Tarkowski and Weghorst with two.
Does that tell the full story though? Westwood, despite recently coming in for criticism for the way he, as he is asked to do, “puts the ball at risk”, is joint 14th in terms of big chances created in the Premier League with seven.
For context, that is one fewer than Phil Foden, Sadio Mane, Mason Mount, Andrew Robertson and Lucas Moura, the same as James Ward-Prowse, Michael Olise and Son Heung-Min, and more than Reece James, Paul Pogba, Bukayo Saka, Diogo Jota, Bernardo Silva, James Maddison, Riyad Mahrez, Allan Saint-Maximin, Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish.
So Westwood is doing something right, but the chances are not being taken.
Further down that list, right back Lowton has created four big chances, but has been left out since the 3-1 defeat at Leeds at the turn of the year, with summer signing Connor Roberts prefered.
Should he be recalled for Roberts, who has the one assist for Weghorst at Brighton?
Also on four big chances created are Dwight McNeil and Rodriguez – as many as Wilfried Zaha.
McNeil, surprisingly, has only the one assist and no goals this season, despite only Ward-Prowse and Trent Alexander-Arnold putting over more crosses.
And with Rodriguez’s ability to make and take a chance, is he the most creative foil for Weghorst?
These are all questions which will need answering, if the Clarets are to make it seven-successive seasons at this level.
As Dyche said after Satutrday’s 2-0 defeat at Brentford: “The main thing is stay calm with what we're doing.
"We've still got games in hand.
"We've got to find goals.
"That's been our biggest challenge all season and that's the biggest challenge from now on.”