Opinion: A glimpse of Burnley deja vu as Vincent Kompany's men dispatch Salford City with ease

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Come out firing on all cylinders, race into an early lead and then sit back and coast for the remainder of the game – now where have we seen that before?
Read More
'Solid and disciplined': Vincent Kompany's takeaway from Burnley's comfortable c...

We saw a brief glimpse of the Burnley of last season as Vincent Kompany’s men cruised into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup last night.

Of course, the level of opposition should be taken into consideration, but the Clarets proved the huge gulf in class with a comprehensive display at the Peninsula Stadium.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The biggest compliment that can be paid is that they took their foot off the gas after the half-hour mark yet could have easily still won by five or six, such was their level of domination.

Seamless transition

This is the second time Kompany has made wholesale changes in this competition, all 11 on this occasion having made 10 against Nottingham Forest in the last round.

On both occasions we’ve seen no change whatsoever in the way Burnley set up and how they go about things with their patterns of play. The transition is seamless.

SALFORD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Wilson Odobert of Burnley (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring the team's fourth goal during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Salford City and Burnley at Peninsula Stadium on September 26, 2023 in Salford, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)SALFORD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Wilson Odobert of Burnley (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring the team's fourth goal during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Salford City and Burnley at Peninsula Stadium on September 26, 2023 in Salford, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
SALFORD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Wilson Odobert of Burnley (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring the team's fourth goal during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Salford City and Burnley at Peninsula Stadium on September 26, 2023 in Salford, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

That shouldn’t be taken for granted. How often do we side a team make six, seven, eight changes or more and the whole thing falls to pot? But that doesn’t seem to be the case with Burnley.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

That bodes well, because Kompany will know more than anyone how important the entire squad will be this season. As he said himself, there are players that might appear to be on the fringes right now that will go on to play a crucial role in the league later on in the campaign. Who that person (or people) is exactly remains to be seen.

In this cup tie, Anass Zaroury – who has only seen 56 minutes of league action so far this term – was the clear star of the show, having a hand in all four goals.

He wasn’t the only one to impress, however, with Wilson Odobert and Jacob Bruun Larsen also shining in the final third.

SALFORD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Sander Berge of Burnley celebrates with teammates after scoring the team's first goal during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Salford City and Burnley at Peninsula Stadium on September 26, 2023 in Salford, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)SALFORD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Sander Berge of Burnley celebrates with teammates after scoring the team's first goal during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Salford City and Burnley at Peninsula Stadium on September 26, 2023 in Salford, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
SALFORD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Sander Berge of Burnley celebrates with teammates after scoring the team's first goal during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Salford City and Burnley at Peninsula Stadium on September 26, 2023 in Salford, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Thirty-minute blitz

The game went about as expected, a struggling and depleted Salford side – who sit fourth from bottom in League Two – opting to sit back and conceding possession to their top flight opponents.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

For the opening exchanges you got the sense this could well be an awkward and tricky night if Burnley didn’t get their noses in front early on in this first ever meeting between the two sides.

But score early is exactly what the Clarets did and boy, how basic it was. Zaroury crossed from a corner and Sander Berge rose high above his marker to nod beyond Alex Cairns.

SALFORD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Vincent Kompany, Manager of Burnley, looks on prior to the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Salford City and Burnley at Peninsula Stadium on September 26, 2023 in Salford, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)SALFORD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Vincent Kompany, Manager of Burnley, looks on prior to the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Salford City and Burnley at Peninsula Stadium on September 26, 2023 in Salford, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
SALFORD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Vincent Kompany, Manager of Burnley, looks on prior to the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Salford City and Burnley at Peninsula Stadium on September 26, 2023 in Salford, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Fifteen minutes later, Burnley were 3-0 ahead thanks to further goals from Bruun Larsen and Dara O’Shea as part of a 27-minute blitz that all-but ended the game as a contest.

It felt that way, too. It sucked any hope the home supporters might have held onto prior to kick-off and the atmosphere suffered as a result. As an away side facing lower league opposition, that’s exactly what you want.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The remainder of the tie felt like a glorified training game, or a pre-season friendly when both sides had made hordes of changes.

The job was done, Burnley didn’t need to exert any more pressure or energy. That’s not to say they gave up, because opportunities still came and went, Odobert in particular missing some gilt-edged chances on his first start.

But he made up for that late on when he deservedly added a fourth, beating Cairns with a rising and powerful shot high into the roof of the net in front of the packed-out away end. At least they got to see one goal down their end.

Slight concern

SALFORD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Jack Cork of Burnley gestures a thumbs-up to the fans at full-time following the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Salford City and Burnley at Peninsula Stadium on September 26, 2023 in Salford, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)SALFORD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Jack Cork of Burnley gestures a thumbs-up to the fans at full-time following the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Salford City and Burnley at Peninsula Stadium on September 26, 2023 in Salford, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
SALFORD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Jack Cork of Burnley gestures a thumbs-up to the fans at full-time following the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Salford City and Burnley at Peninsula Stadium on September 26, 2023 in Salford, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The only negative from this night was the injury picked up by Manuel Benson, who was forced off midway through the first-half.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The 26-year-old fell awkwardly on his ankle and initially looked to be in considerable pain, slamming the floor.

The winger initially attempted to carry on and run it off, but he soon signalled to the bench he could no longer continue before being replaced by Mike Tresor.

Benson will now be assessed, so fingers crossed for good news on that front ahead of Burnley’s return to league action at Newcastle on Saturday.

But what this cup win showed is that the Clarets boast an impressive squad depth, especially in the forward positions.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Benson, Zaroury, Odobert, Bruun Larsen and Tresor have one league start between them and there’s also Nathan Redmond to come back at some point as well, having not made Kompany’s match-day squad against Salford.

They can’t quite boast the same gluttony of options at centre-back, where they’re a man down due to Hjalmar Ekdal’s continued absence.

With Jordan Beyer rested and Ameen Al-Dakhil only on the bench, Kompany turned to experienced midfielder Jack Cork as an emergency centre-back in partnership with the returning O’Shea.

In truth, the 34-year-old didn’t have a great deal of defending to do given Salford’s travails, but he looked comfortable on the ball and helped build up attacks from the back.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Will this win have any effect on Saturday’s trip to the North East? Probably not. But it’s a win and they can never be sniffed at, regardless of form.

Kompany got an invaluable glimpse of some of his players that are waiting in the wings and who knows, perhaps we’ll begin to see more of them as the season wears on.

A cup run is always welcome, priority or not, but let’s hope it feeds into the league sooner or later and the Clarets can start enjoying matters across all fronts.

Related topics: