Can Burnley's new forward line produce the 'extra layer' boss Sean Dyche is looking for?

Burnley boss Sean Dyche knows that his side will have to add an extra layer to their performances over the second half of the season if they are to beat the drop for a sixth time in the Premier League.

The Clarets have conceded the least amount of goals in the bottom half of the division, and have kept things tighter at the back than Manchester United and West Ham, who are sat in fourth and fifth place respectively.

But it's the opposite third that needs addressing if Burnley have any chance of climbing off the bottom of the table and, indeed, prize their way out of the relegation zone.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Only Norwich City have a worse goal return in the top flight, as well as a more inferior shots-per-game ratio, alongside Wolves, while the Canaries have averaged less shots on target per outing.

Sean Dyche, Manager of Burnley reacts during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Burnley at Emirates Stadium on January 23, 2022 in London, England.

"You have to add the quality and detail in the final third, because the defensive third has often not been far away this season, we've generally been strong, it's just the attacking moments we have to do better with," Dyche said.

"We have not been far off, we are a goal or two away from having four or six points from games that have been tight when we have had chances and not taken them."

He added: "The challenge all season has been finding the big moments and we had three or four [against Arsenal] when we were in very good positions and couldn’t find the right pass or run.

"Can we find a bit of calmness that comes with a bit of confidence when you are creating chances and scoring goals. That is the next layer but we can’t forget this, we have to do that again and layer on top of that."

Wout Weghorst of VfL Wolfsburg celebrates scoring his team's second goal from the penalty spot during the Bundesliga match between SpVgg Greuther Fürth and VfL Wolfsburg at Sportpark Ronhof Thomas Sommer on September 11, 2021 in Fuerth, Germany.

Burnley have also attempted the fewest shots (191) in the top flight this season, albeit in less games than their rivals, though the return of Ivory Coast international Maxwel Cornet from the Africa Cup of Nations in addition to Wout Weghorst's arrival from VfL Wolfsburg should go some way to remedying that.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Cornet, 25, is top of the pecking order with six goals in eight starts since his switch from Ligue 1 outfit Lyon in the summer while Weghorst, the club's newest recruit, comes with a fantastic goal-scoring pedigree.

The Dutchman, with 12 international caps, scored 59 times in 118 games in the Bundesliga, with only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski proving more prolific in Germany since the 2018-19 campaign.

He also found the net on 51 occasions in the Eredivisie during spells with Heracles and AZ Alkmaar. The £12m capture might just be the man to provide that extra 'layer' for Burnley in the 20 games that remain.

Maxwel Cornet of Burnley celebrates after scoring their sides first goal during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Burnley at Elland Road on January 02, 2022 in Leeds, England.
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Dyche said: “Wout is a player that our scouts have been strong on for some time and we feel that he can add to all that we do at Burnley Football Club.

“His signing is a continued show of the club’s and team’s development. We wish Wout well as he earns the right to push our group forwards.”

Dyche, meanwhile, believes his players took a step in the right direction when frustrating Arsenal by gaining a point at the Emirates.

The Gunners had only dropped points against leaders Manchester City in their previous six fixtures at home, winning four of those to nil.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mikel Arteta's side had also scored two or more goals in six of their 10 games when holding home advantage, prior to their meeting with the Clarets.

"I've never lacked belief in my players, myself or my staff for that matter, the challenge of the Premier League is an obvious one, we've had experience of it before - I certainly have - and I'd like to think we work very diligently, and the players and staff, their mental approach and attitude to the challenge, and that was on show at Arsenal," said Dyche.

"You have to have many moments like that, but going down to Arsenal with the diligence we did, the performance and mentality, it's very important.

"That's been intact for a long time here, and certainly is a strong building block or platform to continue working from."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Dyche concluded: "It is a building block and we want to move in the right direction. We felt it was appropriate to get back to the basics, especially against teams like this when you are going to have to defend well and do it from a good shape.

"We worked hard and I was pleased with that.

"But you need a building block and that is another one. It gives us a nice platform to build on, the mentality was spot on. We are doing the best we can."