SCOUT Phil Smith looks forward to today’s televised Lancashire derby with Blackpool.
That late, late goal by Charlie Austin at the Ricoh Arena provided Burnley with an absolutely crucial three points. More importantly, we now have a foundation from which our season can be built upon. This must not be wasted. A defeat today will see those foundations crumble once more.
What disappointed me the most about our draw against current league leaders Southampton in September, was the response to the result.
People appeared to be satisfied with a point. Why? Turf Moor will be the foundation to any success we wish to achieve as a football club. For me, anything other than a victory at home should be classed as a disappointing result.
Six points achieved at home thus far is simply unacceptable. On paper, fixtures against Blackpool and Leicester City seem a tough proposition.
However, football is not played on paper! We are more than capable of taking the points from both our upcoming fixtures. That has to be the mentality instilled into the players by Eddie Howe.
Should Burnley have aspirations to be in the promotion shake up, then it is quite frankly vital that they polish off the teams expected to be in the mix. With one clean sheet to our name, my priority is offering a suggestion as to how to improve this rather embarrassing statistic.
The solution is evidently a combination of the 5-3-2 and 3-5-2 formation. The former must be utilised during our defensive transition. It provides a solid block of eight from which Burnley can nullify the offensive transition of the opposition.
Offensive transition will see the system switch to 3-5-2. Wallace and Trippier are able to advance down the pitch without the fear of being exposed by a counter attack. The team are able to cover with ease in such a situation (see diagram). The defence has shuffled across to cover the gap. Numerical advantage results in Trippier free and able to instigate further Burnley attack.
Burnley will experience a numerical advantage. Three midfielders are likely to be greeted by two from the opposition. This allows us to either keep possession, or create a 2 v 1 mismatch in the defensive zone. How? McCann joins the attack whilst Bartley and Marney hold.
Rodriguez and Austin can dominate the two striker combination. One can stretch the back line whilst the other receives ball to feet.
Expect Blackpool to utilise a 4-3-3 formation tomorrow afternoon. Exposure will be apparent in central areas. The midfield will almost certainly require support from the full backs.
My tactical preference mentioned above would provide Burnley with the upper hand in this fixture.
No reminder needs to be given as to the talents of the evergreen Kevin Phillips. Provide him with half a chance and you can guarantee his effort will, at the very least, work Lee Grant.
Any side hunting for promotion needs a pure goal machine. In Phillips and Austin, both teams on display today have just that. For pure instinct, nobody else in this division comes remotely close.