A tale of Beauty and the Beast for Arfield
Saturday's match-winner Scott Arfield believes that the beauty in Burnley's bright start to the season at Turf Moor is in their ability to show an 'uglier' side to their personality.
Two years ago the Clarets were arguably guilty of a naivety which ultimately cost them their top flight status, but with lessons learned, Sean Dyche’s side are more savvy, they’re knuckling down and adding a new facet to the technical aspect of their game.
While the Premier League newcomers are enduring longer spells without the ball, they’re getting in the faces of their opponents, haranguing them in possession, and staying compact to make life difficult.
Liverpool were the first victims of that style this term, Watford also suffered with those tactics, while Arsenal and Everton followed.
The result has seen three wins secured from six fixtures on home soil. It took the Clarets 11 attempts to accrue that many victories at home last time out.
“Last season in the Championship our home form was the main reason that we got promoted so it is vitally important that we take that into this year,” said Arfield.
“It is a terrible place for teams to come - nobody wants to come here.
“Just because we came up a league we want to try and make it uglier at times and make it all about us.
“Particularly in the first half against Everton we did. At half-time we were going to try and get on the ball a wee bit more.”
He added: “Particularly last season in the Championship I think we were technically on the eye better last season, but this season we have so much more to show at times - we have been compact - but it is so much harder to play against.
“Top teams coming here, they want to get time on the ball. If you don’t give them time on the ball it is harder for them. It is vitally important for us to get in that mindset.
“It’s a hard place to come, especially with the fans. I don’t care how good they are technically, if you get in the faces of people you make it hard for them.”
The Canada international declared that one game in-particular stands out from the 2014/15 season, when the Clarets lost out to Arsenal by a single goal as Aaron Ramsey’s strike settled the battle.
“I remember playing Arsenal here when we got beat 1-0 and they probably did to us what we were trying to do to them and it was so ugly at times,” he said. “They got on the second balls and the first balls and it was so difficult.
“We watched that back and it is a game that sticks in my mind that even the top players at the top clubs do the dirty side better, so i think it is fair to say that there are going to be teams who come here and outpass us but we have to make it as ugly as possible.
“We have shown at times we are a good technical team. But the Liverpool game they had 80 per cent of the possession yet at the end of the day we won the game and took three points. No matter how it comes we just have to keep getting the points on the board.”
Meanwhile, the midfielder was delighted to get on the scoresheet against the Toffees after being recalled to the starting XI.
The 27-year-old netted his third goal in the top flight when sweeping the ball spectacularly past Maarten Stekelenburg after Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s effort had come back off the bar.
“It’s a massive result. The home form is so important for us. Huge for us. I was so happy with the finish. I just tried to find the bottom corner and I did but it came quite fast. Just shows the power Johann (Gudmundsson) has with that left foot. It’s an absolute wand. He’s been brilliant.”