Clarets to continue causing upsets

The Clarets play their first home game of the 2017/8 English Premier League season at Turf Moor against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday 19th  August, kick off 3pm .The Clarets' opponents are now in their  8th consecutive season in the English Premier League and despite a late stumble last season, still finished in a top half 10th position. Turf Moor welcomes The Throstles and no doubt popular old boy Jay Rodriguez will receive generous applause from his hometown fans.Fresh from their famous 3-2 victory at Stamford Bridge over reigning champions Chelsea, the Clarets will be hoping they are up for the challenge.Watching the Clarets in that first half at Stamford Bridge compared to last season's performances was like switching from Black and White to a coloured TV.Dave Thornley described Burnley's 3-0 half time lead as "logic defying" in his post match report. The Bedlington Terrier has been singing old Herman and the Hermits hits all week since the momentous victory and Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has worn the look of a man chucked overboard .When I asked posters on the Clarets mad forum after the game what the Chelsea win meant to them, the one clear message was that it was simply just 3 points gained.Burnley supporters feet were still planted firmly on the ground. However, the story this season will not be about the lack of a win away from Turf Moor!The shock of being first on Match Of The Day and listening to Alan Shearer's superlatives  has just about gone now and thoughts are beginning to focus on picking up three points on Saturday.The Chelsea match was one of those games where everything went the way we wanted it; it was refreshing to see a top side not get all of the major decisions going in their favour.However it may not quite work that way on Saturday. There are different kinds of barriers Burnley will have to overcome against Tony Pulis' notorious pugilistic West Brom.West Brom are unbeaten in their last 6 visits to Turf Moor and have scored 12 goals against the Clarets in 4 Premier League games. They may well be rightfully regarded as somewhat of a bogey team.There is no mystery to how the Baggies play; let the opposition have the ball, then hit them from set pieces. 49% of their goals last season were scored that way.In Chris Brunt they have a player who has assisted in 14 EPL goals in the last 3 seasons, direct from his deadly accurate dead ball delivery. That is by some margin, the most in the Premier League.The addition to the Baggies managerial ranks of  the nearly forgotten Gary Megson is hardly going to change that style. Megson was last involved in football at the top level when he was sacked by Sheffield Wednesday in 2012. Fans could be forgiven for thinking of him as a 'has been', similar to West Brom's new signing, the ageing 36 year old, Gareth Barry.Yet, still teams find it difficult to prevent West Brom scoring from dead ball kicks and  Bournemouth were the latest victims last Saturday, when Burnley's newest opponents got off to a narrow 1-0 winning start at The Hawthorns.One of the questions Burnley will need to answer is how to stop a  towering 6' 4" Egyptian international central defender? It was Ahmed Hegazi, recently signed on loan, who scored a back post headed winner for West Brom on his debut. However, not all things are totally honky dory within the West Brom camp and as Burnley discovered at Chelsea, the Clarets could find themselves playing their opponents at just the right time. Cracks are appearing in a usually tight knit squad. The normally  stoic Tony Pulis is complaining about the lack of signings and is said to be  desperate to reinforce his playing squad. He has predicted a long hard season for his team.They only had 17 players available in an ageing squad before the Bournemouth game and had to use a 17 year old from the bench. Star players like Rondon  and £75,000 a week Chadli are unhappy. Rondon was on the bench last Saturday and Chadli failed to go on their pre-season training camp following a well publicised spat with Baggies' gaffer Pulis.To add further to Pulis' woes, newly appointed team skipper Johnny Evans, who was absent at the weekend, is reported to be unhappy at the sale of his best mate Darren Fletcher to Stoke just before the start of the season. This is a big blow to the club and there is talk of West Brom considering offering Evans a revised contract of £100,000 per week, in the hope he also doesn't depart the Hawthorns.The Baggies free scoring centre half Gareth MacAuley, will also be a key player missing through injury.So in summing up. A buoyant, injury free Burnley side playing at last season's "Fortress Turf Moor", further boosted by a new elongated and improved contract for full back Stephen Ward, fresh from his Stamford Bridge wonder goal. Add into the mix, World Cup international call ups for five of Burnley's senior Republic of Ireland players to come up against a notorious Clarets' bogey team, ageing further each year, playing away from home  and racked with injury worries and major player discontentment .The Clarets are not surprisingly most bookies favourites on Saturday. In my eyes, to justify those bookmakers odds we need to outthink West Brom in the same way we did Chelsea. Past history suggests it's about time we did.My key player for this game is Sam Vokes. Big Sam scored a brace in the corresponding 2-2 draw at Turf Moor towards the end of last season. He has scored 6 goals in his last 4 Premier League games and is the first Burnley player  to score in 4 consecutive EPL games and is now also the top  Clarets' EPL scorer ever for the club.You can almost trust Sam to score at the moment.Burnley's goal this weekend is to not undo all the good work of last weekend by losing. A win would be perfect of course and revenge for the 4 goal humiliation at The Hawthornes early last season would also be pretty awesome!We mustn't let West Brom take our sunshine away.This Burnley centric pre-match review was written by an ebullient Michael Donnelly, alias "The Donz" who contributes regularly for Clarets Mad. (TEC).

Source: DSG