Leicester City 2 Burnley 2: Dan Black's thoughts as Clarets are denied first win of the season

Why isn't 'x' or 'y' allowed to own a dog? Because they can't hold on to a lead.

Sunday, 26th September 2021, 12:48 pm
Updated Sunday, 26th September 2021, 3:24 pm
Chris Wood of Burnley celebrates scoring a goal which is later ruled out for offside during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Burnley at The King Power Stadium on September 25, 2021 in Leicester, England.

It's an age old quip used to poke fun at sides that have failed to preserve an advantage.

Burnley are the butt of that joke at present after dropping a 10th point from a winning position.

Jamie Vardy and Leicester City profited on this occasion as the Foxes came from behind twice to snatch a point.

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Johann Gudmundsson of Burnley is challenged by Ryan Bertrand of Leicester City during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Burnley at The King Power Stadium on September 25, 2021 in Leicester, England.

The visitors — whose strong jaw had been compromised by Brighton, Leeds United and Everton beforehand — went ahead for the third time on the bounce at the King Power Stadium.

Ex-England international Vardy has achieved almost everything there is to achieve against Burnley; good, bad and indifferent.

He's scored six times against the Clarets, punishing Matty Taylor's penalty miss back in 2015, before missing from the spot himself last year.

And this time around he scored a hat-trick, though the veteran striker wasn't gifted with the match ball on this occasion after the first own goal of his career broke the deadlock.

The 34-year-old's glancing header at the near post, from Ashley Westwood's corner, the 21st assist of the midfielder's Turf tenure, took Kasper Schmeichel by surprise in the 12th minute.

It's a lead that the Clarets have protected so many times under boss Sean Dyche in the past; 84 times to be exact, with 44 of those finishing 1-0. But its fragility has become Burnley's vulnerability, their kryptonite, if you will.

It lasted just 25 minutes this time. The Clarets, with their two banks of four, have often been susceptible to counters, with the club's central midfield pairing coming up against a three quite regularly.

City's double pivot in the central third of the park — with Boubakary Soumaré and Youri Tielemans playing ahead of Wilfred Ndidi — was likely to be a key strength for the hosts. And so it proved.

The duo evaded Josh Brownhill's press, once Matt Lowton had made Harvey Barnes aware of his presence, and isolated Westwood on the halfway line. The Belgian international broke the line with ease, slipping the ball goal side of Charlie Taylor for Vardy to finish, with Ben Mee closing in.

The away side, however, restored their lead three minutes later, with Matej Vydra and Maxwel Cornet combining on their first Premier League starts of the campaign.

The Czech striker did exactly what was asked of him; stretching the defence and pulling Çağlar Söyüncü and Jannik Vestergaard out of position, just as he had done with the Dane in last season's 3-2 loss at Southampton.

With the latter drawn to Vydra in the left full back position, and Söyüncü keeping tabs on Chris Wood, Cornet dropped a yard or two beyond Ricardo Pereira to convert the cross with a quite magnificent volley and get off the mark for the Clarets.

The finish had capped an encouraging 40 minutes for the Ivorian, who had showcased an extensive skillset during his time on the pitch.

A delicate first touch, composure in possession, a willingness to get up and down the pitch, positional awareness, a desire to take players on, while manufacturing space with incisive give and go's, which had engineered the corner for Burnley's opener.

Unfortunately, the attritional side of his game, alongside his physical fitness, wouldn't be tested beyond the first half after he pulled up innocuously before the break, awkwardly clutching at his hamstring. He was replaced by Johann Berg Gudmundsson.

"Maxwel grew into the game I thought," said Dyche. "In the first 15 minutes he was finding his way and he has another chance after that and gets into some really good positions.

"He sees the game quickly and I think he will grow into what we do."

Burnley's 'low block', and its effectiveness, has been a trending topic during Dyche's reign. It has been the fulcrum of their resistance and resilience in the Premier League in seasons gone by.

The visitors were deep-lying, almost inviting the pressure as Leicester dictated, but had appeared to be getting the details rights, limiting Brendan Rodgers' FA Cup winners to very little in front of goal.

Vardy fired wide at the near post, his next attempt was blocked by James Tarkowski, with the defender then taking the sting out of substitute Kelechi Iheanacho's attempt, with the hosts changing tact in their pursuit of an equaliser.

Dwight McNeil could consider himself lucky not to have conceded a penalty when clipping Timothy Castagne's standing leg in the 69th minute while Wood diverted a Tielemans volley over the crossbar with time running out.

However, their resolve was broken with five minutes remaining. "It's tough. He [Jamie Vardy] can go for long spells without touching the ball and then suddenly he comes alive with his pace.

"You've got to be switched on for every second of the game because he's so sharp. It's up to us to ensure that we're switched on to that to counteract it."

Matt Lowton, who had made exceptional blocks to deny the former Fleetwood Town forward, as well as Barnes, in the first half, had been speaking to the press prior to the fixture.

The full back was fully aware of the threat he possessed. But the defender was busting a gut to get back in to position when Vardy, who was the quickest to react to Iheanacho's pass, rounded Nick Pope and slotted the ball home.

Dyche said: "We didn’t quite see the game through and my only frustration with the goal is that Vardy, he is a fine player, but our defensive unit are well aware of his strengths.

"It is life in the Premier League and we have to tidy up the details, I have been saying that all season.

"We are performing pretty well at a pretty good consistency but we are getting hurt. We might need just a little twist of fate on the defending side because, generally, I think defensively there have been some strong performances."

The Burnley boss had been in the ear of Graham Scott in the lead up to the Foxes' second equaliser. Dyche had been demanding a free kick in the build up after Gudmundsson had been pinned by Ryan Bertrand on the touchline.

The full back appeared to have obstructed the Icelandic winger by locking his standing leg. "I was more concerned about their second goal because it was a clear foul on [Johann] Berg Gudmundsson," he said.

"The linesman is seven yards away so I don't know how that's not given. We can defend better after that but, the fact is, that's a foul and if we get that decision then the whole feel of that moment changes."

Burnley thought they'd won it deep into time added on when Tarkowski and Ashley Barnes helped on Brownhill's cross before Wood headed in off the upright.

Officials at Stockley Park came calling, however, as the Clarets wheeled away in celebration, leading referee Chris Kavanagh to overturn the goal, with replays indicating that the New Zealander was marginally offside owing to Castagne stepping up at the pivotal moment.

"I'm trying to get a balanced view and not cry it in either way," Dyche said. "You want a scratch of luck here and there but we're doing a lot of things very well.

"We can't quite find those moments but there's a lot going right for the defensive unit with Matt Lowton making blocks and the rest of the defence making blocks when needed against a good Leicester side.

"They've got a lot of talent in there. they've invested a lot of money but, equally, we created chances. That's why I'm not being too critical because we're doing a lot of the right things.

"The margins have always been tight in the Premier League so now we've got to get on the right side of the margins and I believe we can do that if we keep performing at this level."