Sean Dyche must ring the changes against Crystal Palace

One win in 13 league games has meant the Clarets have plummeted dangerously down the table, leaving them uncomfortably close to the relegation zone.

Despite this awful run of form, Sean Dyche has kept his side largely the same, sticking with his 4-4-2 and most of the team being settled.

However, if this form isn’t addressed quickly, it could well be too late, with Swansea hunting Burnley down.

The question lies, ‘is 4-4-2 the way forward’ and for me, it isn’t and it has to be changed, starting Saturday at Crystal Palace.

Most teams now are playing with a midfield three, and the Clarets’ midfield two often find themselves over-run, meaning it is very easy to carve through the heart of the Burnley midfield.

When Burnley play 4-4-2, it’s too much long ball forward to Barnes/Vokes, and if they don’t win the ball, the midfield and Gray don’t pick up the second balls frequently enough, therefore we’re constantly turning over possession.

But what can be done to address that? Play three in midfield, it should be that simple.

In Defour, Hendrick and Westwood, we have three top footballers, who are comfortable to bring the ball out from the back, and with the extra option on the ball for the defenders, they shouldn’t be resorting to long ball as often.

Playing with a midfield three also enables the wingers to push on. With Johann Berg Gudmundsson back from injury and Robbie Brady finally settled in, we finally have two wingers who are capable of unlocking a defence. They can focus more on their attacking duties than defensive, with an extra man behind them there to cover.

That said, I can’t see Dyche making a formation change, as that isn’t what he generally does. He is someone who trusts in what he believes and he is likely to stick with his 4-4-2 until it comes good. A very risky strategy.

If he is to stick by his rigid 4-4-2, he needs to make some personnel changes.

Joey Barton, who has been so solid for as long as he’s been with us, has been uncharacteristically sloppy lately, but instead of bringing in fans favourite, Steven Defour, I would give Ashley Westwood the chance to step in.

I would also give Dan Agyei a chance from the off on Saturday, instead of Andre Gray. He looked lively on Sunday, although a little bit overawed by the occasion and the opposition, but with more first team football, that will soon go.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson must also be good value for a start, with George Boyd turning in a string of average performances of late.

My 4-3-3 team for Palace – Heaton, Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward, Defour, Hendrick, Westwood, Gudmundsson, Agyei, Brady

My 4-4-2 team for Palace – Heaton, Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward, Gudmundsson, Westwood, Hendrick, Brady, Barnes, Agyei

What I think Dyche will play – Heaton, Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward, Boyd, Hendrick, Barton, Brady, Barnes, Gray

 

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One comment

  1. Surely part of the problem has been that we have not had a settled midfield. Too many changes have been made or been forced on us. Players need to build a relationship and patterns of play which hasn’t happened since January.

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