Things we learned from Leicester City 3, Burnley 0

Clarets writer Chris Boden looks at three things we learned from Leicester City 3, Burnley 0
Ben Mee deflects the ball past Tom HeatonBen Mee deflects the ball past Tom Heaton
Ben Mee deflects the ball past Tom Heaton

Lessons not learned

Deep into injury time against Hull City, as Burnley desperately looked to hold onto their 1-0 lead, Ben Mee brought down Tom Huddlestone as he shaped to shoot, 22 yards or so out.

Robert Snodgrass curled in an equaliser, and the Tigers rescued a point.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Fast forward a week, and in first half injury time, Matt Lowton needlessly jumps into Marc Albrighton, handing Leicester City a golden crossing opportunity.

Christian Fuchs whips over a glorious ball, and Islam Slimani claims a first Premier League goal.

Sometimes giving a free kick away is the lesser of two evils, you take one for the team.

But on both occasions, the foul was avoidable, and the danger was fairly minimal.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And if you hand players at this level the opportunity to craft something from a dead ball, invariably they will.

The Clarets have to learn, and fast.

New system, same outcome

Burnley lined up with three central midfielders in what was essentially a 4-2-3-1 system, but again didn't really offer any service for lone forward Andre Gray, while lacking that solidity at the other end.

Dean Marney and Jeff Hendrick played in front of the centre backs, with Steven Defour off Gray, and George Boyd and Scott Arfield either side.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Defour limited Danny Drinkwater's influence in the first half, and got forward to support Gray - indeed, he had Burnley's best chance, heading straight at Ron-Robert Zieler as Arfield headed back a Boyd cross.

The system worked in the first half, Burnley enjoying more possession and taking the sting out of the Foxes.

But the Clarets lacked pace and penetration, particularly in the wide areas.

You wonder whether Michael Kightly might be worth another look. He has fallen down the pecking order somewhat over the last two years, but one of the Clarets' more memorable Premier League away days came at Kightly's former club Stoke City in November 2014, when he helped inspire a 2-1 win.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Direct and postive, Kightly offers an alternative, and although frustratingly inconsistent - like a typical winger - maybe he could provide more threat and crosses into the box.

Either that, of take a dip into the list of free agents...

Burnley must believe

The Clarets are in the Premier League on merit.

It is the third time in seven years they have played at this level, and they got here this time by virtue of winning the Championship title, unbeaten in the second half of the season.

They also gave Arsenal a run for their money in the FA Cup in January.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But boss Sean Dyche admitted on Saturday his side need more belief in themselves: “Some of these players at Leicester two years ago were on their knees, and then they found a way out of it, and their belief grew enormously, and that’s what we have to bring.

“We’ve still got to grow as a group.

“That belief you can walk in a stadium and play with a bit of authority, I don’t want any fear in the team, I want them to play with a freedom.”

That freedom is lacking at present, shipping goals, while struggling to create chances, never mind score, at the other, with only four shots on target in their last three games.

It was always going to be a big step up, despite the experiences of two years ago, and defeats at Chelsea and against Leicester are no barometer for the Clarets.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, it is how you lose, and on both occasions, Burnley have gone down in a manner we are not accustomed to.

At Stamford Bridge, Dyche said: “First half was probably as poor as we’ve been in a year.”

And at Leicester, Burnley meekly surrendered in the second half, after a first half where they gave as good as they got.